Russian ship stranded near Antarctica

A Russian fishing vessel with 32 crew members is taking on water near Antarctica, and heavy sea ice is hampering rescue attempts.

The vessel Sparta is listing at 13 degrees next to the Antarctic ice shelf in the Ross Sea, according to Maritime New Zealand. The agency said crew are throwing cargo overboard to lighten the ship.

The Sparta, which is 180 feet (55 metres) long, sent a distress call early on Friday. Its sister ship Chiyo Maru No. 3 is 290 nautical miles away and heading towards it.

A C-130 Hercules plane has left McMurdo Station in Antarctica to assess ice conditions in the area to speed up rescue efforts, but the aircraft will not be able to pick up the crew.

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