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Surfers ask Vladimir Putin to take closer look at rocket fuel version of Kamchatka eco disaster

By The Siberian Times reporter
06 November 2020

Members of Russian Olympic surfing team suffered major loss of eyesight after training at the peninsula.

Surfer Mayi Rudik, 36, suffered major loss of eyesight after training at the peninsula. PIcture: Mayi Rudik

The appeal was sent to president Putin on 30 October on behalf of Moscow and St Petersburg surfing federations, pointing his attention to the fact that traces of rocket fuel were found in samples from the polluted area. 

It means that the anthropogenic version of the recent environmental catastrophe mustn’t be brushed aside, the surfers say. 

‘We believe this matter is too severe to be dealt with like some seaweed outbreak. Although the official investigation is being conducted by the investigating Committee of the Russian Federation, they have not reported any traces of anthropogenic reasons for the ecological catastrophe. That is why we submitted the official petition to the office of the Russian president Vladimir Putin’, said lawyer Yury Bristov who drew the claim on behalf of the surfers. 

Surfers ask Vladimir Putin to take closer look at rocket fuel version of recent Kamchatka eco disaster 


Surfers ask Vladimir Putin to take closer look at rocket fuel version of recent Kamchatka eco disaster 


Surfers ask Vladimir Putin to take closer look at rocket fuel version of recent Kamchatka eco disaster 
Surfer Mayi Rudik, 36, pictured during training at the Khalaktyrsky beach at the Kamchatka peninsula. PIctures: Mayi Rudik


Earlier this month a group of Russian scientists concluded it was the so-called Red Tide, the generic term meaning rapid growth and bloom of toxic algae that caused mass death of marine life along eastern and western coasts of the Kamchatka Peninsula. 

First reports about it with pictures and video of dead deep-sea Giant octopuses, bleached-like shells, sea stars and sea urchins started to appear in late September.

Later specialists from the Kronotsky Nature Reserve and the Pacific Institute of Geography reported the death of 95% of benthic (sea bottom) organisms at a depth of 10–15 m.

The toxins released by the algae were blamed for causing severe health damage to dozens of surfers training at the Khalaktyrsky beach outside Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. 

One of them was the member of Russian Olympic Surfing team Mayi Rudik, Moscow-born economist and TV and radio presenter who is still fighting for her eyesight and suffers from disturbed sleep two month after swimming in the Pacific ocean. 


Yellow foam filmed by surders on the usually pristine black sand Khalaktyrsky beach outside Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Video: Mayi Rudik


Mayi flew to Kamchatka with a fellow team member Dmitry Iliasov from St Petersburg to train for the upcoming surfing competition. 

She took an eye test which showed 100% vision before leaving for Kamchatka. 

‘The locals warned us that something strange was going on at the beach where we camp.

'Many people got food poisoning and claimed they had eye pain after spending some time in the water.

'We thought it could be the sun. So we started practicing early in the morning before the sunrise. However, after 2-3 hours spent in water, the eye pain was so intense we could not continue’, Mayi, 36 told The Siberian Times.

Surfers ask Vladimir Putin to take closer look at rocket fuel version of recent Kamchatka eco disaster 


Surfers ask Vladimir Putin to take closer look at rocket fuel version of recent Kamchatka eco disaster 
Surfers Mayi Rudik, Dmitry Iliasov were recognised as victims in the Kamchatka pollution case by Russian Investigative Committee


‘The next day both Dmitriy and I lost sight almost entirely. We were so frightened it could have been permanent. Also, we had a sore throat and stomach sickness. We figured it has nothing to do with the sun. Our camp guys tried to call the authorities, but we did not receive any detailed information. We were told the issue is being looked into’, she said. 

It was Mayi and Dmitry’s efforts combined with help from lawyers Dmitry Brisov and Ekaterina Ippolitova that brought the media attention to the problem. 

Both surfers were diagnosed with chemical eye burns and vision reduction by three different medical organisations.

Russian Investigative Committee recognised them as victims in the Kamchatka pollution case. 

Surfers ask Vladimir Putin to take closer look at rocket fuel version of recent Kamchatka eco disaster 


Surfers ask Vladimir Putin to take closer look at rocket fuel version of recent Kamchatka eco disaster 


Surfers ask Vladimir Putin to take closer look at rocket fuel version of recent Kamchatka eco disaster 
Pictures taken in September 2020 at once pristine and thriving Khalaktyrsky beach


‘Unless the independent ecologists took the issue into their own hands and found the traces of decomposed rocket fuel in the water, the official version for the catastrophe and multiple deaths of hydrobionts was the increase of Rhodóphyta (reed seaweed) for an unknown reason’, lawyer Yuri Brisov said in a statement to The Siberian Times.

The two surfing federations are concerned about the results of the Investigative committee’s checks, because they believe the chosen Red Tide version assumes the absence of anyone responsible for what happened. 

The Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry of Moscow State University Stepan Kalmykov said earlier that he did not see the likelihood that heptyl could lead to chemical burns in surfers. 

'I would not make any long-lasting, big conclusions based on one test that rocket fuel is the cause - this has not been found at the sites of mass death of animals, which is very important. 

'Second point: heptyl is lighter than water. That is, it concentrates primarily in the upper layers, and mainly bottom organisms perish. There is clearly some other, more cunning factor here,' the scientist pointed out.

Comments (4)

Listen to the scientists. This is a large scale problem. Rocket fuel would have dispersed pretty quickly and diluted. This problem was massive, not local.
Fish, North Carolina, USA
12/11/2020 21:37
0
0
Certainly a very toxic mess and possibly a man made mess from USSR days.
Richard M, UK
12/11/2020 04:26
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It doesn't matter what other cunning matters might be the cause it should be investigated truthfully by the best of the best scientists for this job & it should be thorough till they have eked out what caused this tragedy & then restore the habitat to its former glory. Nature demands it.
Jaker, Dundalk
09/11/2020 12:02
1
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So very terrible to read. Hope not permant rur damagr
Patricia a. Gothard , Laguna woods. CA. USA
08/11/2020 09:52
2
0
1

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