Sparta’s crew advised Dec 17 that temporary patches they had attached to the damaged section of hull had failed and the boat was again taking on water – however, in the morning Dec 18, they have confirmed water ingress has again been stopped. Sparta crew made a good progress slowing water ingress after on Dec 17 a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C130 Hercules dropped off extra pumping equipment and fuel to the vessel, after a seven-hour flight from Christchurch, reports RCCNZ. RCCNZ search and rescue mission coordinator Dave Wilson said the two vessels Sel Jevaer and Chiyo Maru no. 3 were continuing to proceed towards Sparta. Their progress is being hampered by heavy sea ice and the vessels are expected to take several days to reach Sparta’s position. On Dec 17 RCCNZ released the New Zealand vessel San Aspiring from the rescue operation, after its crew confirmed the conditions were too difficult for it to proceed. Sparta’s owner has commissioned the South Korean icebreaker Araon to go to Sparta to offer assistance. Araon left New Zealand just after midnight Dec 18 and is expected to take about eight days to reach Sparta.
South Korean research icebreaker Araon IMO 9490935, GRT 7487, built 2009, flag South Korea, owner Korea Polar Research Institute.

Jack-up rig Kolskaya was under tow by icebreaker Magadan and AHST Neftegaz-55 from Kamchatka western coast area to Zyryanskaya Bay, Sakhalin island, Okhotsk sea. At 0224 Moscow time Dec 18 Kolskaya issued distress signal, received by MRCC Sakhalin, vessels were in position 49 31N 148 14E (153 nm NE of Cape Terpeniya extreme east point of Sakhalin island). Air taps of tanks No. 35 and 37 were destroyed in a process of towing, massive water ingress, pumps were working at max capacity. Then the tow line from icebreaker Magadan was damaged, Kolskaya asked for immediate assistance. At about 0600 Moscow time rig capsized, with 67 staff on board. At 0640 helicopter left airport Nogliki, Sakhalin. By 1100 Moscow time 14 people were rescued, 2 dead found and lifted. Search and Rescue is under way. Jack-up rig Kolskaya was built in 1985 in Finland, length 70 meters, width 80 meters, class DNV, owner Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka.

Russian media report reefer Irina issued distress signal at 2120 Moscow time Jan 03 2012, vessel disabled in stormy Okhotsk sea 13 miles off Kunashir Island coastline (southernmost Kuril Archipelago Island, next to Hokkaido). Character of distress unclear, presumably engine is down, there is water ingress in engine room, crew controlling water ingress with pumps. Nearby reefer Tatarstan was directed to distressed Irina and is standing by. Salvage tug Atlas left Korsakov port, Sakhalin, at 2230 Moscow time same day, with less than 24 hours to reach Irina. Crew is 19, all Russians, cargo 500 tons of frozen fish. Wind is up to 30 meters/sec, sea up to 6 meters, though media don’t report the direction, if cyclone is from south direction, it’s not so dangerous.


Reefer Irina (ex Vega) IMO  8204078, dwt 3847, built 1982, flag Russia, manager BRIG-STAR SHIPPING CO LTD, Vladivostok.

As of 0300 Moscow time Jan 6 runaway unmanned reefer Irina was in position 43-16N 146-36E, Pacific ocean, 25 nm South of Shikotan island. Abandoned by the crew vessel valiantly fights bad weather and human errors, with a stern tilt some 5 degrees. Salvage tugs Atlas and Suvorovets are pursuing a runaway vessel, and there is a good chance Irina will be salvaged, subject to weather and salvors skills.

Unmanned reefer Irina, abandoned by crew in the morning hours Jan 4, was taken on tow by salvage tugs Atlas and Suvorovets sometime during Jan 8 in Pacific ocean, some 60 nm SE of Shikotan Island, Kuril Islands. Four days unmanned vessel was drifting on her own, and made quite an extraordinary journey in stormy weather, from inner waters between Kunashir and Shikotan islands, through narrow and dangerous Spanberg Strait into Pacific ocean, and then some 60 miles in southern direction. Vessel was abandoned as being in clear and present danger of sinking, but somehow managed to stay afloat without any visible signs of worsening condition in stormy Pacific.

Reefer Irina is anchored in position 43 59.3N 145 50.9E, Yuzhno-Kurilskaya Bay, Kunashir Island, Kuril Archipelago. Engine room is one-third flooded, salvors pump out water and put extra seal on shaft log.

Vessel is to be towed to Korsakov port, Sakhalin Island, by salvage tug Atlas, ETD 1100 Moscow time Jan 16. Weather favourable.

River passenger vessel Anna Akhmatova was on fire on Jan 29, staying in winter lay-up in Iksha basin, Moscow region, with two support crew on board. 5 fire teams took part in firefighting, fire was extinguished by 2300 Moscow time Jan 29. Fire covered about 400 sq meters of main deck and passenger areas.

River vessel Anna Akhmatova has nothing to do with the ocean-going passenger vessel Anna Akhmatova, IMO 8509167.