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KHABAROVSK, November 7 (Itar-Tass) — The investigation bodies of the Far Eastern transport investigation department of the Russian Investigative Committee (SK) continue the investigation of the criminal case opened over the wreck of the Amurskaya dry-cargo ship in the Sea of Okhotsk. The director general of the company that owns the Amurskaya vessel is involved in crimes under two articles of the RF Criminal Code, according to investigators.
The charges brought by the investigation against Alexander Shiltsin, the Director General of the OJSC Nikolayevsk-on-Amur Seaport, where the dry-cargo ship is registered, qualify the actions of the company head as “violation of the safety rules of navigation and operation of maritime transport, resulting in the death of two or more persons,” under Article 263, part 3 of the RF Criminal Code.
“He knew for certain that the loading of raw materials on the dry-cargo ship was carried out in violation of the rules of transportation of dangerous cargoes,” and that “because of the bad weather conditions the ship cannot sail,” but the head of the port “personally gave instructions to the ship’s crew to sail in the Sea of Okhotsk,” the regional Investigation Department told Itar-Tass.
“Gross violation of the maritime navigation requirements have led to the sinking of the freighter,” investigators believe.
In addition, within the criminal case investigation it has been established that the company head “committed a crime against justice under Article 294, part 3 of the RF Criminal Code – ‘obstruction of the preliminary investigation, committed with abuse of office,’” the Investigation Department said.
In September 2012, the transport investigating authorities of the Russian Interior Ministry (MVD) during a preliminary investigation made a decision to confiscate two barges owned by the JSC Nikolayevsk-on-Amur Seaport and transfer them to the custody of another transport company. However, the defendant, using his official position and interfering with the work of the investigator, instructed his subordinates not to let the seized ships exit the port area, thus obstructing their transportation.
“The investigation sent a request to court to place the defendant into custody,” the Investigation Department spokesperson Natalya Salkina told Itar-Tass.
The sunken Amurskaya dry-cargo ship was found at the bottom of the Sea of Okhotsk in the area of the Shantar Islands on Wednesday. Divers from the Rubin rescue vessel that examined the waters found that the “unknown object,” which was spotted with the rescuers’ echo sounder on November 4, is the Amurskaya freighter.
The Amurskaya vessel on October 28 left the Kiran sea terminal in the Tuguro-Chumikansky district of the Khabarovsk Territory with a crew of nine members. According to investigators, the ship was carrying 700-750 tonnes of gold-bearing ore, although its maximum capacity was 611 tonnes. The motor ship is registered at the port of Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, the vessel was built in 1973. Experts believe that the cargo could be displaced because the ship was rolling baldy in the storm conditions, which led to her instant capsizing and sinking. The Amurskaya radio beacon transmitted a distress signal.