|Image licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License|
A Russian flagged passenger ferry with 127 passengers aboard is stuck in the ice. No not in the High Arctic but in the North Pacific off Japan. THE M/V IGOR FARKHUTDINOV was en-route from Kuril Islands (to the Japanese some of the islands are part of their "Northern Territory" occupied by Russia in WWII and never returned) en-route to the Russian Sakhalin peninsula on Russia's Pacific coast. The ship has been entrapped in ice up to three feet thick, rare but not unheard of in these latitudes. The director of shipping for the ferry service has stated that there is no immediate danger to the passengers as the ship is in no physical danger of a hull breach or capsize and there is plenty of food, fuel, and water aboard. There is no official word on how long the ship has been trapped in ice but it left on Monday for a trip normally requiring a single day and is still in the ice today (Thursday February 8, 2018). The ferry service estimated that there is enough food and water aboard for a week. The ship has an ice resistant but hardly ice breaking hull and is expected to work itself out of the entrapment and be in port by Friday. The company reports that the Captain is considered experienced and that this sort of thing has been encountered before. The Sakhalin transport ministry has reported contact with the crew and that everything appears fine but if the ice conditions worsen an ice breaker can be dispatched from the Russian port of Vladivostok.
At least, unlike the US,the Russians have a large fleet of capable ice breakers.