The Greek navy and coast guard were last night trying to tow to safety a Russian navy ship that sent out a distress signal in choppy seas off the eastern Aegean island of Icaria. Tugboats, helicopters and a navy frigate were dispatched to the area at 11.25 a.m. after the captain reported that engine failure had led to him losing control of the vessel. The ship was 15 nautical miles northeast of Icaria when the call for help was issued. The Merchant Marine Ministry said that, despite the gale force winds blowing in the area, the lives of the 106 people on board were not in any danger. A Greek navy frigate, the Bouboulina, was accompanying the Russian ship as a coast guard helicopter hovered overhead in case of an emergency.