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.