127 passengers are stranded on board Igor Farkutdinov as it struggles to make its way through ice off the coast of Japan.
The ship was slowly moving along the northern coast of Hokkaido, Japan, when ice barriers began to prevent it using the planned route.
Serving the Sakhalin- Kuril Islands Line, the passenger ship is en route to Korsakov, Sakhalin. The journey would usually take around 20 hours, but severe weather conditions mean that they are already 3 days behind the scheduled arrival date.
There is said to be no immediate danger to the vessel, the crew or the passengers on board, and hopes remain that it will make it to the destination by Friday 9th February.
During the winter months (Dec-February), the Siberian High develops over the Eurasian Continent and the Aleutian Low develops over the northern North Pacific. This usually causes cold winds from Siberia to pass through Hokkaido, and brings in heavy snowfall to the sea of Japan. Temperatures are known to drop as low as -20°C.
In Japan, tourists travel to see the drift ice which peaks in February, so it’s not unusual for weather to be this severe at this time of the year. However, it is a rare scenario for ships to be impacted by the weather in this region.
The story develops…