Photograph by J. Hosel/AFP/Getty Images.
UPDATE: And the Sparta is free.
CNN reports that the Russian vessel was freed Wednesday from the ice shelf that it was stuck on and is now heading toward open water. The South Korean vessel, the Araon, that assisted with the repairs is escorting the Sparta—along with its 32 crew members—as it looks to meet back up with its sister ship on Thursday.
Monday, Dec. 26: A South Korean icebreaker is attempting to rescue a Russian ship stranded for 10 days in thick Antarctic ice.
The Russian vessel, called the Sparta, hit underwater ice on Dec. 16, springing a hole in its hull, and has been desperately pumping out frigid water ever since. Several ships had tried to reach the vessel and its 32-member crew but had been thwarted by the heavy sea ice that has surrounded it. A New Zealand air force plane had dropped supplies by parachute to keep it afloat.
The South Korean polar research vessel Araon finally broke through and reached it on Monday, the Associated Press reports. It is now transferring fuel off of the ship in order to help its bow rise above the water line. Fortunately the weather has remained calm, increasing the chances of a successful operation, the New Zealand Herald adds.
Reuters has video of the early stages of the rescue operation: