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Bad weather hampers search for missing freighter in Okhotsk Sea

November 02, 2012, 7:01 UTC+3
The fate of the cargo ship and its nine crewmembers is unknown
1 pages in this article
Photo ITAR-TASS

Photo ITAR-TASS

VLADIVOSTOK, November 2 (Itar-Tass) — Bad weather in the Sea of ··Okhotsk on Friday hampered the search by aircraft and fleet of the Amurskaya dry cargo ship that disappeared in the area of the Shantar Islands. On October 28, the vessel loaded with 700-750 tonnes of gold ore left the port of Kiran in the Khabarovsk Territory setting the course towards Okhotsk port. On the same day, an emergency beacon went off on the vessel, and since then the fate of the cargo ship and its nine crewmembers is unknown.

According to the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Maritime Rescue Coordination Sub-centre, on Friday the wind force in the waters near the Shantar Islands is 17-20 metres per second, the waves are up to two metres high, wet snow is falling, there is zero visibility in the area. In these conditions, the Novik tanker and the Kapitan Gams and Ternei-1 trawlers that are involved in the search operation for the Amurskaya cargo ship, had to leave the search area and find shelter. The Be-200 plane of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM) in the bad weather conditions also could not fly from Khabarovsk for the search of the missing vessel.

On Thursday, the plane flew over the water area where the cargo ship went missing for two and a half hours. According to rescuers, an orange object was spotted from the air on a cape of the Shantar Islands, but rescuers could not identify it.

On Friday, only EMERCOM and police are conducting the search for the Amurskaya freighter along the coastline to the east and west of the Chumikan settlement in the Khabarovsk Territory. Chumikan is the first populated locality by which the cargo ship bound for Okhotsk was to pass. According to the technical specifications of the Amurskaya, it has the weight-carrying capacity of 611 tonnes, which means it might be carrying an extra 89 tonnes of ore. Its length is 55 meters. The vessel was built in 1973. The majority of the vessel’s crewmembers are residents of the Primorsky Territory of Russia. On November 3, the Rubin tugboat of the Sakhalin Basin Emergency and Rescue Administration is to join the search and rescue operation. On October 31, the tugboat left the Sakhalin port of Korsakov and now is sailing towards the Shantar Islands in the Sea of Okhotsk.

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