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Owner of SKorean trawler asks Chukotka authorities for help

November 21, 2011, 4:54 UTC+3

There is about 1,100 tons of fuel on board the trawler

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PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, November 21 (Itar-Tass) — The South Korean Keuk Dong Fisheries, Co., Ltd, which owns the refrigerating trawler Oriental Angel that caught fire in the Bering Sea near the shores of the Chukotka peninsula, has asked the Chukotka authorities to help in rescuing the ship, the Chukotka government reports on Monday.

According to the press centre of the Chukotka Autonomous Area, the ship ran aground in the Anadyr Gulf. There is about 1,100 tons of fuel on board the trawler. By an agreement with Sakhalin rescuers, the universal rescue vessel Rubin will be sent to the ship in distress to pump the fuel out. It will approach the site in approximately eight days.

Representatives of the Chukotka administration, emergencies ministry specialists, border guards and specialists from Rosprirodnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision of Nature Resources) will fly on Monday to the site to assess the situation.

According to rescuers, a fire broke out in the ship's flour hold at 11:30, Moscow time, on November 16 and then the fire spread over to the fish processing shop. The crew sought to put out the blaze on their own but failed.

The chief mate died during attempts to put out the fire, and there were no reports about other casualties.

Nine hours later, at 04:40, Kamchatka time, on Thursday, the stricken ship cast anchor 14 miles off the shore in the Anadyr Gulf. The 89-member crew consisting of the nationals of South Korea, Indonesia, China, and Burma -- as well as a Russian inspector of the State Maritime Inspectorate, who was in line of duty on board the ship, abandoned the burning trawler on rescue rafts.

They were taken on board by five ships that happened to be nearby, including those under South Korean flag. The company owing the trawler was informed that seamen could be evacuated to the settlement of Provideniya, where the border and customs posts are situated. People can be temporarily accommodated there before being sent home, sources from the Kamchatka marine rescue sub-centre said on Monday.

The South Korean Consulate General in Vladivostok was informed about the incident with the Oriental Angel.

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