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54 perish in fishing trawler tragedy in Sea of Okhotsk

By The Siberian Times reporter
02 April 2015

Vessel 'holed by drifting ice', says regional Emergency Ministry source.

The 'Far East' trawler, formerly known as Stende, had 76 citizens of Russia, 42 from Myanmar, three Latvians, five Ukrainians and 5 people from Vanuatu. Picture: MarineTraffic.com

The Dalny Vostok trawler went down within minutes, without issuing a distress call, prompting fears that it may have carried a catch in excess of safety limits. Some 63 sailors survived the sinking and were rescued from the icy sea, many suffering from hypothermia. 

The fate of another 15 was unknown. The captain and first officer both died, it is understood.

Some 26 fishing vessels and 1,500 people were helping with the mass rescue effort off the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East of Russia. 

'Fishing vessels taking part in the rescuing operation lifted the bodies of 54 people, 63 people were rescued, 15 people are still missing,' reported Artur Rets, chief of Marine Rescue Coordination Centre of 'Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Sea Port Administration'.

 'All the rescued people suffered badly from being in the extremely cold water,' said an Emegencies Ministries spokesman. 'All the sailors spent quite a long time in the water of the Sea of Okhotsk which is now about 0C. One of the rescued people is in grave condition, all others suffer from hypothermia.'

54 perish in fishing trawler tragedy in Sea of Okhotsk


54 perish in fishing trawler tragedy in Sea of Okhotsk


54 perish in fishing trawler tragedy in Sea of Okhotsk


54 perish in fishing trawler tragedy in Sea of Okhotsk

Some 26 fishing vessels and 1,500 people help with the mass rescue effort off the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East of Russia. Pictures: RT, Rossiya24 TV

The trawler sank overnight from Wednesday to Thursday in the sea of Okhotsk some 250 km south of Magadan, and 320 km west of Krutogorovsky settlement in Kamchatka region. According to the crew list, on board were 76 citizens of Russia, 42 from Myanmar, three Latvians, five Ukrainians and 5 from Vanuatu.

The Emergencies Ministry helicopter with medics on board continues aerial searches. 

'The rescue operation is going on, we are still looking for 15 people,' said Viktor Klepikov, coordinating captain of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky maritime rescue coordination centre. The visibility in the area is 24 km, wind is 9 m/c, waves 1.5 meters high, water is about 0C. 

While one version was drifting ice tearing a hole in the vessel, another was that it could have violated safety rules. TASS news agency cited a deputy head of the Kamchatka region as saying the crew might have exceeded the capacity of cargo storage.

'According to preliminary information, the shipwreck occurred while hauling a 100-tonne fishing seine,' said Sergei Khabarov.

TASS also quoted an official in the regional emergencies ministry as saying drifting ice was the 'likely' reason for the tragedy. 

'The ship did not send a distress signal,' the source said. 

The rescued sailors were being airlifted to clinics of Magadan, which is situated closer to the wreck area than the regional centre of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

Comments (4)

RIP.
Jaker, Dundalk
08/04/2015 01:41
0
0
Our deep thoughts to all the relatives of the tragic event and prayers for the survivors.
Joakim, Stockholm
05/04/2015 22:06
0
0
Sad. God bless
Grant Hibbs, Delta, Canada
05/04/2015 10:50
0
0
I am sorry to hear the news.
Peter, New Castle / US
02/04/2015 14:46
3
1
1

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