KHABAROVSK, January 4 (Itar-Tass) — The transport refrigerator Irina with a 15-member crew is in distress 13 miles off the Kunashir Island. A distress signal issued by the crew was received at night. The ship lost speed owing to an engine malfunction. Water is pouring in through a hole in the hull, an official at the Far Eastern regional center of the Russian Ministry for Emergencies (RME) has told Itar-Tass.
Several ships have been sent out to the distress area, the RME official said. The refrigerator Tatarstan approached the ship in distress most closely of all. Rescue services decided to evacuate the crew from board the transport refrigerator. However rough sea, with waves being up to five metres high and wind velocity being up to 30 metres per second, the rescue effort has been to no avail so far.
In heavy storm conditions, the crew of the Irina are making efforts to keep the ship's survivability. The rescue operation is being continued. The dispatch of a Mi-8 helicopter of the RME to the distress area is under consideration.