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Survivors point to safety breaches as cause of trawler tragedy in Sea of Okhotsk

By The Siberian Times reporter
03 April 2015

Fate of 13 still unknown as rescue efforts continue. 

The rescue effort remained underway yesterday despite fading hopes of finding alive the remaining crewmen. Picture: Ministry of Emergency in Kamchatsky Krai

The sinking of the Dalniy Vostok fishing freezer trawler led to the death of 56, with 63 sailors plucked to safety. Testimony from survivors indicates that the vessel had a fish weighing about 80 tons on board, but was still trying to catch more. 

The vessel was hit by crosswinds which led to it overturning, it was claimed. It sank in just 'one minute', said a survivor.

Sailor Dmitri Dmitriyevich, rescued from the trawler, said: 'We had just returned from a shift and there was a strong roll. It was decided to take the jackets and prepare for evacuation. 

'Some of us to the last thought minute that all would be good. The ship was lurching for about 40 minutes, but went down in just one minute. Most of us were on the deck.' 

Earlier, a representative of LLC Magellan, the trawler's owner, suggested a wrong order from the captain could have caused the sinking. The 48 year old captain died in the tragedy. 

Dalny Vostok tragedy


Dalny Vostok tragedy


Dalny Vostok tragedy

Three sailors were taken by helicopter to Magadan, now they are in hospital. Pictures: Alexander Krylov, MagadanMedia

'They [the sailors] took on board the full hawl, it slid down the deck. The ship made a strong roll and overturned.'

The captain Alexander Pritotsky was known as one of the best in the Russian Far East, and a 'champion' of large catches. 'But one of the problems in our business - the captains tend to take risks and try,' admitted the source. 

Another theory is that drifting ice ripped a hole in the vessel. 

Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee, stated: 'At the moment, the most likely cause of rapid sinking of the ship is a possible collision with an obstacle, the damage being in the area of the engine room.' 

There were 132 people onboard. Of these, 78 were Russians, and  42 people were citizens of Myanmar. The rest were from Latvia, Ukraine and Vanuatu. 

The rescue effort remained underway yesterday despite fading hopes of finding alive the remaining crewmen. 

Comments (1)

It's easy to blame the captain when he's not going to be returning, I hope the survivors save the Captain's good name & put the company to shame, if it is "They" who are to blame.
Jaker, Dundalk
08/04/2015 01:46
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