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Divers ready to examine possible wreck of cargo vessel loaded with gold ore

By The Siberian Times reporter
05 November 2012

An exhaustive search goes on a week after the Mayday signals from an emergency radio beacon were heard by coastguards. A crew of nine is missing.

Amurskaya pictured after she ran aground on 4 June 2012. Picture: Igor Savitskiy

Now debris and an oil slick has been located in the Sea of Okhotsk, and sonic readings show a possible wreck lying in 25 metres of water.

The oil on the surface of the sea was spotted by an amphibious Be-200 plane from the Russian Emergencies Ministry which was scouring the area.

Divers were reported as ready to submerge in testing weather conditions. 

An exhaustive search of 8,000 square kilometres had earlier failed to find a trace of the vessel. 

It was not immediately clear how soon divers would go down to  the possible wreck.

'The echo depth sounder spotted some change in the depth in the search area, the divers are about to submerge,' said the press service of the Russian Transport Ministry citing the captain of the rescue ship Rubin.

The assumption is that the Amurskaya was overloaded and sank with little or no chance for the crew to escape. 

m/v Amurskaya

The missing seamen are residents of the Primorsky Territory; the ship disappeared in the vicinity of Shantar Island in the Sea of Okhotsk. Picture: Mikhail Voytenko, editor of Maritime Bulletin 

There are many unresolved factors over the ship's disappearance.

The maximum permissible load was 611 tons yet its gold ore cargo weighed some 89 tons more The Amurskaya was not designed for such cargos set set sail in in storm conditions with waves three metres high. 

'The experts believe that the bulky cargoes could have moved amid a heavy pitching in a stormy weather that resulted in the immediate capsizing and sinking of the ship. The crew could even have not had enough time to give the May Day signals, but the signals from the emergency radio beacon was fixed, as the device sets off automatically in the water,' reported Itar-Tass.

'The crew went on a voyage without a permit of the relevant services and did not have the right to traffic bulky cargoes.'

On November 1 a criminal case was opened into the case 'on charges of violations of navigation safety and sea transport operation rules resulting in the death of two or more persons'.

The missing seamen are residents of the Primorsky Territory.

The ship disappeared in the vicinity of Shantar Island in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Comments (1)

Tragic loss for the families.
Bill, Korea
05/11/2012 06:57
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