Russian Icebreakers Signal Mayday

<Sea Of Okhotska MapVLADIVOSTOK, December 31 (Itar-Tass) — More than 600 crewmembers are aboard the ten vessels trapped in the ice in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Distress signals have been received from the Sodruzhestvo fishing mother ship and the Professor Kizevetter scientific research vessel. All their attempts to get to the clear water have failed, the state sea rescue coordination centre reported.

The temperature in the area is 22 degrees below zero, and according to the forecast, it will fall lower. It may complicate the situation more and hold the vessel in the ice trap for a long time.

The grey-white ice is up to 30 centimetres thick. A distress stage and the rescue operation beginning have been declared in the region. The sea rescue tugboats Irbis, Predanny and Rubin have left for the area to evacuate people. One of them is expected to approach the edge of the ice on Friday evening. The rest are expected to come there on January 2.

According to the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk sea rescue coordination centre (the coordinator of the rescue operation), the Sodruzhestvo, the Bereg Nadezhdy transport refrigerator and the Professor Kizevetter scientific research vessel (all are from the port of Vladivostok) are in the worst situation. They are blocked in the ice 11-12 miles away from the mainland coast. In the sea ice trap are also the fishing and transport ships Tumnin, Ostrov Karaginsky, Amursky Liman, Komsomolets Kaliningrada, Pamyat Kirova, Gennady Volodarsky and Alexander Belyakov. They are from the ports of Nakhodka, Vladivostok, Sovgavan, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, St. Petersburg and Murmansk.

Source: TACC