The rescue operation to free two Russian fishing ships from an ice trap in the Sea of Okhotsk could continue for another week due to strong winds and heavy ice floe in the area, the Far Eastern Shipping Company said Tuesday.
The Krasin and Admiral Makarov icebreakers have been trying to lead the Sodruzhestvo mother fishery ship and the Bereg Nadezhdy refrigerator vessel to clear waters for almost a week.
"The convoy of two icebreakers, a mother fishery ship and a refrigerator vessel covered only three nautical miles overnight. The rescuers will use a helicopter on Tuesday to map the best route for the convoy," company spokeswoman Tatyana Kulikova said.
Kulikova described weather conditions in the area as normal, but said strong winds were causing quick shifting and thickening of ice floe, which seriously hampered the rescue efforts.
The Bereg Nadezhdy ship, the Professor Kizevetter research vessel, and the Sodruzhestvo mother fishery ship, carrying altogether over 400 people, got stuck in two-meter-thick ice in the Sea of Okhotsk on December 31. Two other ships, the Mys Yelizavety and the Anton Gurin, became trapped a few days later.
The Admiral Makarov has released the Professor Kizevetter and the Mys Yelizavety vessels from the ice trap, while the Anton Gurin managed to cope on its own.
VLADIVOSTOK, January 18 (RIA Novosti)