A Russian icebreaker is laboring to reach icebound ships in the Sea of Okhotsk, where more than 500 seamen are trapped.
Three of the vessels have been trapped since December 31 in ice estimated to be two meters thick.
The state news agency RIA Novosti said two more ships got stuck on January 3.
A statement from the Transport Ministry said there was no immediate danger to the crew on the three ships stuck since last week, who have sufficient food and water.
The ministry said an icebreaker was expected to reach their vicinity early today.
The Sea of Okhotsk is an arm of the northern Pacific to the west of Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.
compiled from agency reports