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Crew of Russian trawler in distress asks New Zealand for additional equipment

December 18, 2011, 18:34 UTC+3

The New Zealand rescue center pledged further delivery of the cargo needed by the sailors

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LONDON, December 18 (Itar-Tass) —— The crew of the Russian Sparta trawler in distress off shore Antarctica has asked New Zealand rescuers for additional equipment to repair the ship’s hull pierced 1.5 meters below the waterline in a collision with a drifting ice block on Friday.

The New Zealand rescue center pledged further delivery of the cargo needed by the sailors. An Air Force jet, which airdropped a pump, pipes and fuel to the trawler on Saturday, is back to base.

The additional pump enables the crew to control the incoming water. The main problem is that a pump has to be halted for repairs, and the compartment is flooded again. The trawler has docked by an ice block and rescue rafts have been put on the water. Several days are left before a ship may reach the trawler. So the crew has to stay aboard and fight for keeping the Sparta afloat, the center said.

A South Korean icebreaker has departed from the New Zealand shore to rescue the trawler by agreement with the Sparta owner. Yet it will cover the distance in eight days only. The trawler is more than 2,000 nautical miles away from the southern coast of New Zealand.

Another two ships are moving towards the trawler. One of them, a Russian trawler, is more than 300 kilometers away but has to move through the ice. A Norwegian ship is only 30 kilometers away but the two vessels are separated by a thick ice field. The progress is very slow because both vessels are incapable of crushing ice.

The trawler in distress has a crew of 32 – 15 Russians, 16 Indonesians and one citizen of Ukraine.


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