Stricken Russian boat sailing from Antarctic ice

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A Russian fishing boat that was stuck for 12 days while in danger of sinking in the frigid waters off Antarctica began a trek through 100 miles of sea ice to open water on Wednesday, New Zealand officials said.

The Sparta hit underwater ice Dec. 16 that tore a 1-foot hole in its hull. Heavy ice in the Ross Sea prevented help from reaching the stricken vessel for 10 days, forcing the Sparta's crew to pump out near-frozen sea water to keep the ship afloat while awaiting rescue.

Now the damaged vessel is being escorted through the ice and toward the open ocean.

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