- Crew members from Sparta and a rescue vessel repair the Sparta
- The Russian vessel Sparta sustains two holes near Antarctica
- A distress call goes out December 16
A damaged Russian fishing vessel headed for open water Wednesday after receiving repairs in the frigid waters around Antarctica, New Zealand officials said.
"The Sparta has been freed up from the ice shelf and is now underway under her own power," said Sian Routledge, a spokeswoman for Maritime New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre. "The repairs appear to be holding."
A South Korean polar research vessel, called Araon, assisted with repairs and will escort the Russian ship, along with its 32 crewmembers to open water.
The 48-meter boat issued a distress call on December 16 after sustaining a 30-centimeter (1-foot) hole in its side and began leaking. A second hole was discovered during repairs, but was only causing a small amount of "localized flooding," according to Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Mike Roberts.
The Sparta expects to rendezvous with a sister ship on Thursday, Routledge said.