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Storm prevents divers to inspect Amurskaya dry cargo’s inside

November 24, 2012, 20:44 UTC+3

The wind is of 15-16 metres per second and the wave height reaches two metres in the area of Shantar Islands

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VLADIVOSTOK, November 24 (Itar-Tass) — The storm in the Sea of Okhotsk prevents divers of the Emergency Situations Ministry to inspect the Amursk dry cargo vessel’s inside, the Transport Ministry’s press service told Itar-Tass on Saturday.

The wind is of 15-16 metres per second and the wave height reaches two metres in the area of Shantar Islands. The temperature is of 11 Celsius degrees. The ice builds up intensively, the press service said.

Meanwhile, the Rubin ship continues to be at anchor where the dry cargo vessel sank. Rescuers wait for the better weather conditions in order to inspect the Amurskaya dry cargo vessel. Earlier, rescuers made nine dives to the bottom of the Sea of Okhotsk where the dry cargo sank at the depth of 25 metres. The body of a crewmember has been found at the captain’s room. The fate of other crewmembers remains unknown.

Simultaneously police continue to examine the coastline of the Tuguro-Chumikansk district, Khabarovsk Territory. Police did not find any track of the Amurskaya crewmembers.

The dry cargo is expected to deliver gold-bearing ore to the port of Okhotsk on October 28. On the same day the dry cargo vessel ran into a gale and sank. The crewmembers comprise of nine people, residents of Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories.

Contact with the vessel was lost, and aircraft and ships examined more than 20,000 square kilometres near the Shantar Islands in the Sea of Okhotsk, and search groups examined more than 160 kilometres of the coast line of the Khabarovsk Territory in search of the missing ship. An empty life raft was found on Feklistov Island of the Shantar Archipelago. It is not established yet whether the raft is from the Amurskaya.

The freighter was found lying on the bottom of the Sea of Okhotsk at a depth of 25 metres near the Shantar Islands. Eight divers, including a doctor, worked on the site.

Later the wind was 5-7 metres a second, it was cloudy, waves were one metre high, the temperature was near zero, and visibility was within eight miles in the area. The divers and an investigator were carried by a Mi-8 helicopter from Khabarovsk to the Rubin rescue vessel on Thursday. Another helicopter delivered a tonne of equipment for their work. Last Wednesday, three divers from the Rubin crew examined the sunken freighter, but did not get inside the vessel.

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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