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Be-200 plane flies to search for Amurskaya freighter missing crew

November 19, 2012, 10:00 UTC+3

Fate of the ship’s eight crewmembers is still unknown

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KHABAROVSK, November 19 (Itar-Tass) — The Be-200 amphibian plane on Monday took off today from Khabarovsk to fly to the area of the Amurskaya dry-cargo ship wreck for the search of the vessel’s missing crewmembers, the Far Eastern regional centre of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM) told Itar-Tass.

The Rubin rescue vessel in the morning sailed to the Belichy Island for another examination of the coastal zone and the sea area. The ground search parties continue examination of the coastal strip in the Tuguro-Chumikansky district of the Khabarovsk Territory in the Uda Bay from the mouth of the Uda River to the mouth of the Tyl River.

The Amurskaya dry-cargo ship, with an overload exceeding 100 tonnes, took to the open sea from here – Kiran sea terminal on October 28. Experts believe that the bulk cargo - gold-bearing ore, could be displaced because the ship was rolling baldy in the storm conditions, which led to her instant capsizing and sinking. The crew just had no time to transmit a distress signal. The signal was transmitted by the Amurskaya radio beacon - it sent it in an automatic mode when it got into the water.

The search for the freighter and the crew has been conducted for over 20 days. EMERCOM aviators have helped to find the location of the wrecked cargo ship. Divers have found a sailor’s body in one of the cabins of the vessel that is at a depth of 25 metres on the seabed. The body has not been identified yet. The fate of the ship’s other eight crewmembers is still unknown.

According to the weather forecasts, the waves are 1.5-2 metres high in the search area on Monday, there is the north and north-west wind of 15-17 metres per second there, snow is possible. “If the weather improves, the divers will be able to continue in the second half of the day the dives from the Rubin vessel to the sunken cargo ship for further examination of her interior rooms,” the EMERCOM Far Eastern regional centre reported.

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.

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