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22:53 GMT +3 hours22 December 2014
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Russian icebreaker nears 2nd trapped ship in Sea of Okhotsk

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The Admiral Makarov icebreaker is less than 15 miles from the refrigerator ship Bereg Nadezhdy, which has been trapped in ice off Russia's Pacific Coast for a week, the Russian Transport Ministry said.

The Admiral Makarov icebreaker is less than 15 miles from the refrigerator ship Bereg Nadezhdy, which has been trapped in ice off Russia's Pacific Coast for a week, the Russian Transport Ministry said on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, the icebreaker rescued a scientific research ship, the Professor Kizevetter, and escorted to a rendezvous with another icebreaker, the Magadan.

The Bereg Nadezhdy, the Professor Kizevetter and the Sodruzhestvo fishery mother ship became trapped in two-meter-thick ice in the Sea Of Okhotsk on New Year's Eve. A total of more than 400 people were on the vessels.

Two more ships, the Mys Yelizavety and the Anton Grunin, became stuck on Monday but were freed on Wednesday.

The ice where the two remaining ships are stuck is too thick for the Magadan icebreaker, forcing it to play a support role in the rescue.

The Far East Shipping Company said on Friday that the rescue operation was being hampered by poor weather conditions.

Earlier on Friday, the deputy head of Federal Fisheries Agency, Alexander Saveliyev, said all the ships would be freed by the end of the New Year holidays, which run through Monday.

"It will only be possible to pull the Bereg Nadezhdy out by dinnertime on Saturday, and the Sodruzhestvo fishery mother ship by the end of the New Year holidays," he was quoted as saying by the Russian News Service.

Saveliyev added that both ships had adequate supplies of food and water on board.

MOSCOW, January 7 (RIA Novosti)