Russian icebreakers to free trapped ships

Jan. 10, 2011 at 7:22 PM

SEA OF OKHOTSK, Russia, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Russian icebreakers began rescue operations Monday to free a commercial vessel trapped in ice in the Sea of Okhotsk off eastern Russia, officials said.

An unnamed Russian Transport Ministry spokesman said the Krasin and Admiral Makarov icebreakers embarked on a risky rescue operation to free the refrigerator freighter Shore of Hope, trapped in an ice floe in the Sea of Okhotsk, RIA Novosti reported.

The refrigerator ship is expected to be freed by Tuesday, ITAR-Tass said.

Weather conditions were hampering the ice-cutting ships with wind blowing at 55 mph and temperatures at minus 9 F.

Both the Krasin and Makarov are expected to widen the ice around the trapped Sodruzhestvo, freeing the floating base ship, said Andrei Krainiy, the head of the Russian federal fisheries agency.

Four other Russian vessels, icebound since Dec. 31, already have been freed.

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