A fishing vessel, frozen in ice in the Far Eastern Sea of Okhotsk, was taken to open water by the Admiral Makarov ice breaker, a fleet spokesman told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
"Rescue efforts were hampered by weather conditions, storm winds and heavy snowfalls," the source said. "Rescue efforts continued after the vessel was taken to open waters."
One of Russia's biggest ice entrapments for years was caused by a spell of unusually cold weather of up to -17 degrees Centigrade (-1.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Weather forecasts are unfavorable, saying temperatures may plunge even further.
The Sodruzhestvo fishery mother ship, the Professor Kizevetter research vessel and three fishing vessels issued distress signals on Friday, December 31. Between 400 and 500 seamen are estimated to be onboard the ships, including 340 onboard the Sodruzhestvo.
A rescue group of four ships, including two powerful ice breakers, the Magadan and the Admiral Makarov, was sent to the area.