About 400 seamen were on the ships of the coast of Russia's Khabarovsk Territory, RIA Novosti reported.
The vessels include a fishing ship, a refrigerated freighter, the Bereg Nadzhdy, and a scientific research ship, the Professor Kizevetter.
The Admiral Makarov icebreaker reached the ships Thursday afternoon and started pulling one of them to open water. The icebreaker Magadan was escorting the research ship to a safe area.
The Far East Shipping Co. said the recovery efforts were hampered, in addition to the thick ice, by poor weather conditions.