Ship carrying 127 passengers trapped in ice for days

A Russian ship carrying 127 passengers in the northern Pacific Ocean has been trapped in ice for days off the coast of Japan.

The ship, the Igor Farkhutdinov, was sailing from the Kuril Islands to the Sakhalin peninsula on Russia's Pacific coast when it became stuck in ice up to 3 feet thick, Sakhalin's regional administration said in a statement published today.

There is no immediate danger to the passengers, the director of the shipping company that runs the ferry said, noting there is sufficient food and water aboard, and enough fuel for a week.

"The passengers are provided with everything they need. The decision has been taken to feed them for free," company director Sergey Kondrashin said, according to the regional administration's statement.

It's unclear exactly how many days the ship has been trapped, but it left port Monday for a journey that normally takes a day and it was still trapped in the ice today.

The ship left port Monday, the administration said, with Kondrashin adding that he hoped the ship would be free in the next few hours and that it would arrive in Sakhalin by Friday morning.

The captain is experienced, he said, and similar incidents have happened in previous years.

"Now the boat is breaking through it, trying to get out into clear water," Kondrashin said. "As the satellite maps are showing, there isn't much to go."

Sakhalin's regional transport ministry said it was in contact with the crew and that if the ice conditions worsened, an ice-breaker from the Russian port of Vladivostok was ready to assist.
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