Sparta III finally escapes from the ice

Three weeks after becoming stuck in Arctic ice, cargo vessel Sparta-III (IMO 9538892) has reached open waters. The vessel had been in Dudinka and became stuck in the Yenisey Bay on December 13th while trying to return to Murmansk. Despite assistance from icebreaking support ship Kigoriak, the ship was unable to break free.

On January 6th the Sparta III was travelling towards the Kara Gate, the southern tip of archipelago Novaya Zemlya, escorted by icebreaker Admiral Makarov.

Support and rescue vessel Spasatel Karev was also nearby.

Sparta III is owned and operated by Rosoboronlogistika, a military shipping company transporting goods and equipment to Russian military bases and towns.

The situation on board had become difficult, with reserves of fuel and water falling to low levels. Icing had become a problem.

The ship was reported not to have the necessary permissions to sail in the area. Northern Sea Route Administration said that the Sparta III was only cleared to sail on the westernmost part of the sea route, and no further east than Sabetta. The was also only allowed to sail without heavy icebreaker assistance in waters that were either free of ice or with light ice.

Rosoboronlogistika denied that it was not allowed to sail on the Yenisey. The reason for the problems was a delayed departure from Dudinka and worsened weather conditions, the company said.

Mustafa Kashka, General Director of Atomflot, the company unit that manages Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreakers, said that requests were sent to the captain of the Sparta II to try to find out why the vessel was in Yenisey Bay, but no response was received. Kashka said that “the shipowner was made aware that there were risks connected with the anticipated aid from nuclear icebreakers engaged in contracted operations. Nevertheless, the Sparta III set course for the port of Dudinka without permission”.

2009-built, Russia-flagged, 12,679 gt Sparta III is owned by Oboronlogistics LLC and managed by OBL Shipping LLC, both of Moscow, Russia.