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Russia sends icebreakers to free ships

Jan. 1, 2011 at 11:41 AM

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, Russia, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Russia is sending three icebreakers to its Pacific coast to free three trapped ships, a captain said Saturday.

The ships stranded in the Gulf of Sakhalin, north of Japan, have a total of 400 people aboard but they are not in danger, RIA Novosti reported.

The Sodruzhestvo, the refrigerator freighter Bereg Nadezhdy and the scientific research vessel Professor Kizevetter requested help Friday morning, the captain of a marine search and rescue ship said.

"On Friday evening, the Irbis arrived in the area and is now nearing the stranded vessels. The ice is very thick," the captain said.

Two more icebreakers also have been sent to the scene. The Magadan will arrive from the north Sunday and the Admiral Makarov will arrive from the south Tuesday, he said.

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