Korean icebreaker reaches stranded Russian fishing vessel

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    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1ORAveWytQ]Ship starts Antarctic ship rescue - YouTube[/ame]

    Repairs are set to start Tuesday on a stricken Russian fishing boat, Sparta, stranded for 11 days in the Antarctic after striking an iceberg, the Rescue Coordination Center New Zealand said.

    A Korean icebreaker, Araon, reached the Sparta, about 3,700 kilometres southeast of New Zealand. Two other ships sent to the Sparta's aid had to turn back because of thick pack ice in the Ross Sea.

    The Sparta, which has 32 crew members, sent out a distress call Dec. 16, saying it was sinking near the Ant-arctic ice shelf.

    Geoff Lunt, a spokesman for the res-cue centre, said the icebreaker was pumping fuel off the Sparta to raise its bow above the water line, exposing the foot-wide hole in the hull so it could be repaired.

    He said once the damage was clear of the water, crew from both vessels would attempt to weld double plates to the inside and outside of the hull.

    If repairs are successful, the Araon will cut a path through the ice to lead the Sparta to open water. Lunt said it would sail to the nearest New Zealand port of Lyttelton if further repairs were required.

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