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Divers to reach sunken ship in Sea of Okhotsk as soon as weather improves

November 23, 2012, 4:48 UTC+3

Pancake ice begins to form over the area where the ship sank

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VLADIVOSTOK, November 23 (Itar-Tass) —— Despite growing ice in the Sea of Okhotsk where Amurskaya dry-cargo ship sank on October 28 divers are planning to reach the sunken ship, a spokesman for the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk sea rescue centre that coordinates the search operation told Itar-Tass on Friday.

“Pancake ice begins to form over the area where the ship sank,” the spokesman said.

Divers are based onboard the Rubin rescue boat that is anchored right above the Amurskaya lying at a depth of 25 meters.

So far, the weather is unfavorable for a diving operation, with wind gusts of 14 meter per second, 1.5-2 meter waves and a visibility of five to six nautical miles. The operation will start as soon as the weather improves.

No traces of the Amurskaya crew has been found as of yet.

On Wednesday, the Rubin ship took on board fragments of a life raft seating 12-15 people found on a beach of the Belichy Island. The raft had no indication to which ship it belonged.

Since the beginning of the search operation, aircraft have examined an area of ··over 30 square kilometers, and marine vessels – 678 square kilometers of the sea area, and ground search parties – 350 kilometers of the coastline.

The search for the crewmembers of the Amurskaya freighter has been underway for 25 days. Divers have retrieved the body of one sailor from the sunken ship. The fate of eight other crewmembers is still unknown.

The Amurskaya dry-cargo ship sank near the Shantar Islands on 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 might have been 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.


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