Moscow (AFP) Jan 5, 2011
Russian icebreakers on Wednesday managed to free two of five ships trapped in ice floes in the Sea of Okhotsk in the country's far east with more than 500 people on board.
The Admiral Makarov icebreaker, one of Russia's largest, rescued one fishing ship while a second ship managed to free itself from the ice, Russian television reported.
But a smaller icebreaker sent to carry out the rescue operation itself became trapped in the ice for several hours on Wednesday, Russian television reported, citing the transport ministry.
The federal fishing agency said later Wednesday that the Admiral Makarov had managed to lead the smaller icebreaker into a clear area.
The remaining ships -- a fish canning factory ship, a refrigerator ship and a fisheries research vessel with more than 400 passengers on board -- have been trapped since December 30.
"Their position is stable. There is no danger," the Admiral Makarov's captain Gennady Antokhin told Russian television.
The icebreaker was due to reach the remaining three ships by midnight local time (1400 GMT), Russian television reported.
"The ice is very serious, frozen in layers, covered in snow and hard to pass through. It sticks onto the ship," the captain of the Admiral Makarov, Antokhin, told Channel One television.
"I think this will not be a very quick operation," he added, speaking via telephone.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday talked to the captain of one of the ships by telephone, telling him to "hold on."
He also met the transport minister Igor Levitin to discuss the situation. Levitin said the situation was exacerbated by difficult weather conditions, with winds blowing up to 30 metres per second.
In late December 10 ships were initially trapped by ice in the Sakhalin Gulf in the south-west of the Sea of Okhotsk, but seven managed to escape.
A further two ships later became trapped this week, despite weather warnings. It was these ships, with more than 100 people aboard, that were freed Wednesday.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Beyond the Ice Age
Polar Bears No Longer On Thin Ice
Portland OR (SPX) Dec 29, 2010
In the snowy spring of 2009, Portland-based wildlife biologist Bruce Marcot traveled with several colleagues onto the frozen Arctic Ocean north of Alaska to study and survey polar bear populations. From their base of operations at the settlements of Deadhorse, next to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, they ventured by small plane and helicopter over a wide area of the Beaufort Sea in a study to determi ... read more
No date yet for Haiti vote run-off: official|
In squalid Haiti camps, rape stalks women: Amnesty
Crippling 'indecision' blamed for slow Haiti recovery
Floods take economic toll on Queensland
Team Develops Functionally Graded Shape Memory Polymers
Graphene Grains Make Atom-Thick Patchwork Quilts
New Intel chip a coup for Hollywood
Recycled Haitian Concrete Can Be Safe, Strong And Less Expensive
Study backs community management to save world's fisheries
Cold suspected in Chesapeake fish kill
U.K. rivers cleanest in a century
Looking At Beavers' Role In River Restoration
Russia frees two of five ships trapped in ice floes
Polar Bears No Longer On Thin Ice
H.K. duck's epic Arctic trip sheds light on migration
Obama gives 'lump of coal' to polar bears: activists
Another death in land protest in China: state media
'Contaminated' German eggs exported to Netherlands
University Of Illinois Research Makes Plant Breeding Easier
Taiwan wants pigs potty-trained to curb pollution
Australia's Great Barrier reef under threat from floods
Australian mayor says flood recovery may take a year
Death toll from Philippine rains rises to 25: government
Australian floods spread to 40 towns, threaten Barrier Reef
Sudan braces for secession poll trouble
China to send observers to Sudan for referendum
African migrants feared drowned off Yemen
West Africa faces dilemma over I.Coast military plan
Modern dialect linked to ancient Greek
Fueling The Body On Fat
Greece to build fence to stop migrants
Spanish judge to probe Iraq refugee camp killings - lawyer