VLADIVOSTOK, January 6 (Itar-Tass) — The damaged transport refrigerator Irina that had been in distress near the Kurile island of Kunashir and deserted by the crew, was torn off its anchor and driven into the Pacific by gale winds.
“The Irina refrigerator is driven to the Pacific through the Shpanberg Strait, separating Shikotan from the Minor Kurile Ridge,” reported the Sakhalin service monitoring the fishing fleet.
Two rescue vessels – the Suvorovets and Atlas – were sent to the rescue of the damaged transport. The Irina’s coordinates are determined automatically. Charge batteries work at the refrigerator, with the help of which the vessel (without a single man) sends signals on its whereabouts.
The Irina refrigerator was damaged on the night of January 3 while it was sailing from a fishing area in the Sea of Okhotsk to Vladivostok. A storm swooped down on the transport near the South Kuriles. The boat touched the sea bed with its screw-propeller, and the engine went dead on the Irina; water started gushing into the engine room.
Winds brought the vessel to a lurch from three to ten degrees. The Irina captain decided to evacuate the crew of 19 people – all Russian citizens. The M/S Tatarstan that was 1.5 kilometres awat from the damaged ship, came to the rescue of the transport. The Tatarstan sidled up to the Irina and received all the crew aboard. Nobody was injured during the rescue operation.
The Irina refrigerator has, apart from 560 tonnes of fish, 105 tonnes of mazut , 40 tonnes of diesel fuel and six tonnes of lubricants. While the transport was drifting near Kunashir, no leaks of oil products from the damaged ship were registered.
The rescue boats, dispatched to overtake the damaged refrigerator, are to inspect its state and a possibility of its towing to a secure place.