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Over 30,000 sq km area examined in search for Amurskaya crew

November 22, 2012, 16:50 UTC+3

Vessels have examined 678 square kilometres of the water area and 365 kilometres of the coast of the Khabarovsk Territory

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VLADIVOSTOK, November 22 (Itar-Tass) — Aircraft have examined more than 30 thousand square kilometres of land in search for the crew of the Amurskaya dry-cargo ship that sank in the Sea of  Okhotsk. Vessels have examined 678 square kilometres of the water area and 365 kilometres of the coast of the Khabarovsk Territory. The crew of the Amurskaya freighter consisted of nine people, the fate of eight of them remains unknown. One dead sailor was found by divers in the inner compartments of the freighter that lies at a depth of 25 metres in the sea, 18 kilometres from the coast, according to the Far Eastern Regional Centre of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM).

On Wednesday, the Mi-8 helicopter of the Vostok airline with lifeguards on board conducted aerial reconnaissance of the Maly Shantar and Belichy Islands of the Shantar archipelago. The aircraft has failed to find any traces of the Amurskaya crew.

On the same day, the Rubin rescue ship during the examination of the coast of the Belichy Island took aboard the remains of an inflatable life raft that was earlier spotted by the Be-200 plane. Experts are trying to find out to which vessel the raft belongs.

The examination of the shoreline by police forces of the Tuguro-Chumikansky district of the Khabarovsk Territory was planned to be continued on Thursday. If the weather conditions improve the Rubin ship will resume the diving operation to examine the interior of the sunken dry-cargo ship. If the divers’ operation becomes difficult, the Rubin vessel will continue the examination of the north-eastern tip of the Feklistova Island.

There was light snow in the search area in the Sea of Okhotsk on Thursday, with the north-western wind of 15-20 metres per second, visibility deterioration to 1 km, the waves1.5-2 metres high.

The Amurskaya dry-cargo ship sank near the Shantar Islands October 28 when it was carrying a cargo of gold-bearing ore from the Kiran sea terminal to the port of Okhotsk in the Khabarovsk Territory. Experts believe that the bulk cargo of 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 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 earlier.


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