WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The 32 crew members aboard a leaking Russian fishing ship near Antarctica have made progress stabilizing the vessel, and a plane was scheduled to drop them supplies Saturday. Rescue ships, hampered by heavy sea ice, were still several days away.

The vessel Sparta hit underwater ice Friday, tearing a 1-foot (30-centimeter) hole in the hull and causing it to list at 13 degrees. Maritime New Zealand, which is coordinating rescue attempts, said Saturday that the crew had pumped water from the vessel overnight and moved cargo around, making the boat safer and more stable.

( Maritime New Zealand / Associated Press ) – In this photo released by Maritime New Zealand, the Russian fishing vessel Sparta is seen in waters in the Ross Sea near Antarctica on Friday Dec. 16, 2011. The fishing vessel with 32 crew members was taking on water near Antarctica on Friday. Heavy sea ice was hampering rescue efforts, and officials said it could be four or five days before anybody reaches the ship to try to rescue the crew.
Crew members who had donned emergency suits and boarded life rafts were now back aboard the Sparta, the agency said.

A New Zealand Defence Force C-130 plane was scheduled to drop fuel and equipment, including another water pump, to the vessel later in the day.

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