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Fishermen await long-range Antarctic rescue

The Associated Press reports from WELLINGTON, New Zealand:

A Russian fishing vessel with 32 crew members was taking on water near Antarctica on Friday. Heavy sea ice was hampering rescue efforts, and officials said it could be four or five days before anybody reaches the ship to try to rescue the crew.

The Sparta was listing at 13 degrees next to the Antarctic ice shelf in the Ross Sea, according to Maritime New Zealand. The agency said that the crew was safe and was throwing cargo overboard to lighten the ship, and that some of the crew had boarded lifeboats as a precaution.

The ship has a 1-foot hole in the hull about 5 feet below the water line, the agency said.

"It's a very remote, unforgiving environment," said Andrew Wright, executive secretary of the Australian-based Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, which has licensed the Sparta to catch toothfish in the Southern Ocean.

Wright said he didn't know what caused the hole, although he added that an iceberg "would be a good candidate." Read the full story.