On Friday we posted about the Russian fishing vessel, Sparta, which was in danger of sinking off the Ross Ice shelf in Antarctica. The ship with a crew of 32 had been holed five feet below the water line and was listing to 13 degrees. Since then the news has been mixed. A New Zealand Air Force Hercules flew over the Sparta late Saturday and dropped an emergency pump and fuel to help stabilize the ship. The second pump was able to slow the flooding but patches which the crew had placed on the hull failed. They are now attempting to re-secure the patches to the hull.
The Sparta’s owners have chartered the RV Aron, a South Korean icebreaker, to aid the stricken ship, but it could take eight days for the Aron to reach the Sparta. The New Zealand fishing vessel, San Aspiring, gave up an attempt to reach the Sparta due to the ice. The Norwegian vessel Sel Jevaer is only 19 nautical miles away but is currently blocked in by ice. Sparta‘s sister ship, Chiyo Maru No. 3 is slowly making its way towards the stricken vessel but is still days away.