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VLADIVOSTOK, January 9 (Itar-Tass) — The Atlas and Suvorovets rescue vessels are towing the emergency transport refrigerator Irina to the port of Yuzhno-Kurilsk on the Kunashir island.
The caravan overnight covered a distance of 30 miles in the Pacific Ocean, and now the vessels are to sail round the Shikotan Island from the north and then set the course to Kunashir. The towing of the Irina ship is conducted at a speed of 4.5 knots with waves in the ocean 1.5-2 metres high and winds of 8-10 metres per second, according to the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Marine Rescue Coordination Sub-centre.
On Sunday, the Atlas and Suvorovets in pair managed to put a towline under the refrigerator’s anchor chain that goes 120 metres into the ocean depths. The rescuers are towing the emergency vessel by this chain.
After the arrival in Kunashir the works required to further towing of the Irina to Vladivostok will be carried out.
The refrigerator incident happened on the night of January 4, when the ship was sailing from the Sea of Okhotsk to Vladivostok. Near the South Kuril Islands the Irina got into a violent storm. At a distance of 13 miles from Kunashir the refrigerator touched the bottom with its propelling screw and water began to flow into the engine room, after which the vessel’s main engine broke down. The vessel’s list because of the wind was reaching three to ten degrees on each board. The captain of Irina had decided to evacuate the crew consisting of 19 people. All of them are Russian citizens. The Tatarstan ship took the sailors on board.
There are 560 tonnes of fish, 105 tonnes of fuel oil, 40 tonnes of diesel fuel and 6 tonnes of lubricating oil on the refrigerator. Since Friday, the ship has been drifting in the Pacific Ocean without a crew.
The Irina ship’s homeport is Vladivostok, the vessel’s length is 93 metres, displacement – 5,800 tonnes. The refrigerator belongs to the Big Star Shipping company.