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NZ aircraft helps Russian vessel in distress

December 17, 2011, 14:41 UTC+3
The vessel Sparta hit underwater ice, got a 30-centimeter hole in the hull, and listed 13 degrees early on Friday
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LONDON, December 17 (Itar-Tass) —— A New Zealand Defense Force C-130 plane on Saturday dropped fuel and equipment to help a Russian fishing vessel near Antarctica seal a hole in the hull and pump out water.

Maritime New Zealand, which coordinates rescue attempts, said the supplies include additional pump and sealing materials for the hole.

The vessel Sparta hit underwater ice, got a 30-centimeter hole in the hull, and listed 13 degrees early on Friday. Maritime New Zealand said the crew had pumped water from the vessel overnight and moved cargo, making the boat safer.

Non-essential crewmembers who boarded life rafts returned back onboard the Sparta. The crew comprises 32 members.

Rescue ships, hampered by heavy sea ice, are still far away from the vessel. South Korea is sending its only Araon icebreaker to help the Sparta but it will take it eight days to reach the vessel in distress.

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