Russian fishing boat stuck near the Antarctic

Holed by an iceberg, Sparta's crew struggles to keep situation under control as they wait for rescue ships.

    A Russian fishing vessel has been stranded in icy Antarctic waters for the past two days after being holed by an iceberg, and is in a "precarious position", New Zealand rescuers said.

    The crew of the Sparta had a scare overnight on Saturday when temporary patches placed over the damaged section of hull failed and the boat began taking on water again.

    But several hours later they reported they again had the situation under control.

    The Russian-flagged Sparta, with a crew of 32, sent out a distress call early Friday from near the Antarctic ice shelf when it was holed 1.5m below the water line.

    It will be several days before rescue ships can make their way through heavy sea ice to reach the vessel about 3,704km southeast of New Zealand.

    However, a New Zealand Air Force Hercules was able to fly over the Sparta late Saturday and drop off extra pumping equipment and fuel.

    Al Jazeera's Roza Kazan prepared this report.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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