MOSCOW, November 7 (Itar-Tass) — The crewmembers of the Amurskaya dry-cargo ship that sank in the Sea of Okhotsk supposedly tried to survive in life boats, the Russian Federal Maritime and River Transport Agency (Rosmorrechflot) reported.
The divers who examined the sunken ship lying at the bottom of the sea on the left side near the Shantar Islands, found that one of the ladders (storm ladder) on the starboard was ready for the descent of the crew, and there are no life rafts on the same board.
“They found no crewmembers on the bridge, and did not examine the accommodation spaces due to their inaccessibility,” the federal agency said.
“The presence of the storm ladder, the absence of people on the bridge, an open door to the deck rooms under the bridge, the absence of life rafts of the starboard confirms with a high degree of probability that the vessel’s crew made an emergency evacuation attempt,” Rosmorrechflot said.
It noted that further examination of the vessel is inexpedient. New areas of the search for the Amurskaya crew for ships and aircraft are being determined. “The search will be resumed at dawn on November 8,” the agency reported.
Earlier, the press service of the Far Eastern regional department of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM) told Itar-Tass that the divers are to make several more dives by the end of the day for a more detailed examination of the vessel and its holds. However, the search operations are impeded by the heavy current in the area.
The Amurskaya dry-cargo ship 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. 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.
The motor ship is registered at the port of Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, the vessel was built in 1973.
Director General of the Nikolayevsk-on-Amur Seaport JSC Alexander Shiltsin has been charged with violation of the rules of safety of navigation and operation of maritime transport, resulting in the death of two or more persons. “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 said.