22 Dec 2011

RNZAF delivers emergency supplies to stricken ship

5:07 am on 22 December 2011

A Royal New Zealand Air Force plane has dropped equipment onto the ice in Antarctica's Ross Sea to help the crew of a stranded Russian fishing vessel.

The Hercules left New Zealand on Wednesday morning to deliver emergency supplies to the Sparta, which has been stranded since ice tore a 30-centimetre hole in its side early on Friday.

The plane dropped three pallets of equipment, including pumps, next to the ship so repairs can be made.

New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre says the 32 people on the Sparta have made good progress in correcting the ship's list and only occasional pumping has been needed to keep out water.

The crew of the Hercules spent Wednesday night at McMurdo base before returning to New Zealand on Thursday.