KAZAN, May 6 (Itar-Tass) - Kazan's Moscow district court on Monday began to review the high-profile case over the sinking of the Bulgaria pleasure boat in July 2011.
"The hearing is being held in the Yunost Palace of Culture, due to a large number of injured parties and eye-witnesses," spokeswoman for the court Guzel Khafizova told Itar-Tass.
The hearing, chaired by judge Sergei Yakunin, is open. There are two prosecutors for the state, one from the Moscow district prosecutor's office and the other from the Tatar transport prosecutor's office.
Metal detectors have been installed to enhance security at the trial. More than 100 injured parties, journalists and eye-witnesses have gathered for the first hearing.
The case comprises 96 volumes. Over 250 expert examinations were carried out in the period from August 2011 through March 2012.
The defendants are director of the AgroRechTur company Svetlana Inyakina, 42, senior expert of the Perm sector, Russian Inland Waters Registry, Kama branch, Yakov Ivashov, 64, former first officer of Bulgaria's captain Ramil Khametov, 41, head of the Kazan office of the Volga department of state, maritime and inland supervision Irek Timergazeeyev and chief inspector of the same office Vladislav Semyonov, 44.
"The investigators believe the direct cause of the Bulgaria pleasure boat accident was a combination of factors such as sea unworthiness both because of its technical condition and the level of the crew's training, non-compliance with safe navigation regulations, and improper performance of duties by the shipowner, crewmembers, and inspectors of supervising bodies in preparing the ship for operation and in operating it," spokeswoman for the Russian Prosecutor General's Office /PGO/ Marina Gridneva said earlier.
On March 25, 2011, Inyakina concluded a sublease contract, under which AgroRechTur leased the Bulgaria, a vessel built in 1955, which could accommodate 120 people.
"The woman had to perform the functions of shipowner, which envisioned taking safety measures during navigation and operation. In the second half of April 2011, Inyakina, together with the captain and the mechanic arrived in Perm to check the technical condition of the vessel and saw that technical faults made it impossible to transport passengers. However, Inyakina used her friendly ties with supervisors, thus securing, with Ivashov's assistance, the documents necessary for operating the vessel and proceeded to operate the faulty steamer.
"Timergazeyev and Semyonov drew an act of pre-license check of AgroRechTur and faked a statement about the readiness of the license applicant to meet the requirements for inland waters shipments," Gridneva said.
On July 10, 2011, the Bulgaria sank at a depth of 18 meters in the Kuibyshev water reservoir, Tatarstan's Kamsko-Ustinsky district. One hundred and twenty-two people died. There were 79 survivors.
"The damage to the shipowner - the Kama Shipping company - is estimated at some 30 million roubles," prosecutors said.
Inyakina, Ivashov, Timergazeyev and Semyonov have been under arrest. Khametov has been on a written pledge not to leave town.