VLADIVOSTOK, January 16, 5:13 /ITAR-TASS/. A Mi-8 helicopter of Khabarovsk’s Vostok aviation company has left Nikolayevsk-on-Amur to assist a big Diomid motor ship, stuck in the ice near Sakhalin, so that the crew could get ready for remaining onboard for the winter. The distance between Nikolayevsk-on-Amur and the ship is about 300 kilometres, the Diomid’s owner told Itar-Tass.The Diomid was seized by the ice in Sakhalin Bay, some four miles off Sakhalin Island. The Mil-8 helicopter will drop to the vessel (homeport is Vladivostok) warm clothes, heating appliances, mobile electricity generator and food for the crew of four people, who will stay onboard over the winter, the Vostok aviation company told Itar-Tass. there are fifteen members of the crew on board the Diomid; where eleven of them would go ashore by air. Most likely, the helicopter will have to land on the ice near the vessel. The Diomid’s captain reports the ice in the area is about 70-80 centimetres thick.
In late December, the Diomid went from Magadan to the Maritime Territory, but on December 28 a severe storm made it shelter in the waters of Sakhalin Bay. Two days later, heavy ice blocked the bay and the vessel, despite its big size (113 metres long; deadweight 9,575 tonnes) could not access the open water by itself. It may remain in the ice till May until ice in the Sea of Okhotsk gives way.