VLADIVOSTOK, January 6 (Itar-Tass) — The Suvorovets and Atlas rescue boats found the damaged transport refrigerator Irina in the Pacific, driven by waves and currents from the Kurile island of Kunashir. But a rescue team could not board the transport over waves 3-4 metres high.
“The damaged ship has a 5-7 degrees tilt to the stern. The Irina was driven into the Pacific to a distance of 30 miles from Shikotan Island,” reported the captains of the rescue ships to their duty services from the place of the refrigerator.
A decision was taken that the Suvorovets and the Atlas will remain near the Irina transport till Saturday morning. According to weathermen’s forecasts, the ocean should return to calm by that time, and the rescue ships will have a chance to start a rescue operation.
The Irina transport with 560 tonnes of fish turned to be in a state of distress on the night of January 3 while sailing from the Sea of Okhotsk to Vladivostok. A heavy storm swooped down on the vessel near the South Kuriles. The transport touched the sea bed with its screw-propeller; the engine went dead, and water started gushing into the engine room.
Winds lurched the refrigerator between three and ten degrees. The Irina captain decided to evacuate the crew of 19 people – all Russian citizens. The M/S Tatarstan that was around 1.5 kilometres away from the ship in distress, came to the rescue. It sidled up to the Irina and took aboard all the crew. Nobody was injured during the rescue operation.
Apart from fish, the Irina has 105 tonnes of mazut, 40 tonnes of diesel oil and six tonnes of lubricants. While the ship was anchored near the island of Kunashir , no leaks of oil were registered.
Gale winds and waves torn off the transport from the anchor over the past day and drove the refrigerator into the Pacific through the Shpanberg Strait, separating Shikotan from the Minor Kurile Ridge, reported the Sakhalin service monitoring the fishing fleet. There is not a single man on the vessel now. The Suvorovets and the Atlas rescue ships continue following the damaged transport.
It is registered at the Vladivostok port; the ship is 93 metres long and displacement – 5,800 tonnes.