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Icebreakers join search operation for Captain Kuznetsov in White Sea

November 15, 2011, 14:35 UTC+3

Signals from emergency buoys of the Captain Kuznetsov came at 04:09 a.m. Moscow time

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MOSCOW, November 15 (Itar-Tass) —— Rescue operation for the Captain Kuznetsov dry cargo ship in Russia’s northern White Sea involve icebreakers. A number of tugboats may also join the operation, a spokesman for the Russian ministry of transport told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

Signals from emergency buoys of the Captain Kuznetsov came at 04:09 a.m. Moscow time.

“Rescue operation was launched at 07:30 a.m. Moscow time. The Gazprom-owned Vladislav Strizhov icebreaker is closest to the distress signal area. At 11:00 a.m. Moscow time, the icebreaker reached the area and started a search operation,” the spokesman said.

Apart from that, the Dikson icebreaker is expected to join the operation.

According to the ministry spokesman, more ships, such as the Agat and Captain Martyshkin tugboat are to join the search operation. The former is to sail off from Murmansk, the latter – from the Gulf of Pechera. “An SB-9 rescue tugboat of the Russian Navy is in a stand-by mode,” the spokesman said and added that only ships of specific naval class are allowed to take part in the operation because of the bad weather conditions.”

According to earlier reports, the Cospas-Sarsat satellite-based search and rescue (SAR) distress alert detection and information distribution system has registered SOS signals from the distressed Captain Kuznetsov ship in the White Sea.

At 07:30 a.m. Moscow time on Tuesday, the Arkhangelsk sea rescue centre reported that it had lost contact with the ship after a radio contact at 02:00 a.m. At the time, the ship was at the narrow entrance to the White Sea. The sea and river going ship was en route from the port of Varandei to Arkhangelsk, where it was to undergo repairs. There were 11 persons onboard.

Built in 1984, the Captain Kuznetsov, with the home port in St. Petersburg, is owned by the North-Western River Company. The ship is 86.7 meter long, 12 meters wide, and can carry up to 1,450 tons.

According to weather forecasting services, northerly winds are blowing in the area with a speed of 20 to 22 meters per second, with gusts of up to 25 meters per second. The visibility is from 100 to 500 meters. It is snowing.

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