TOKYO, May 16 (Itar-Tass) - All six victims of the fire that broke out on Thursday morning on the Taigan vessel anchored in the Japanese port of Wakkanai were citizens of Russia, and the Russian Consulate General in Sapporo on Hokkaido Island intends to monitor the progress of the investigation into the incident, the RF diplomatic mission told Itar-Tass. Its authority extends to the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido on which the port of Wakkanai is located.
The RF Consulate General said that Vladimir Baranov, Viktor Bezgodov, Alexander Grachev, Mikhail Kazantsev, Sergei Pashko and Igor Chervov were killed in the fire.
The bodies of the sailors were found by rescuers, the local branch of the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency told Itar-Tass. The fire on the ship, which continued for more than 11 hours, has been extinguished. Now, together with the Taigan Captain, Vitaly Saltaganov, 47, the Japanese authorities will try to find out the causes of the incident.
The Taigan vessel with a displacement of 497 tonnes on May 14 under the Cambodian flag arrived at Wakkanai on the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido with a load of crabs from the port of Korsakov on Sakhalin. On Thursday, the ship was to depart for home. Initially, there were 14 Russian citizens and four Ukrainians on board the ship. Five more Russians joined the vessel’s crew in Wakkanai.
After the fire broke out at about 02:00, local time in the morning (about 21:00 MSK, Wednesday), most of the crew, including the captain, left the ship. Three crewmembers were taken to hospital, and their lives are reportedly not in danger. Itar-Tass has learnt that one of the sailors was poisoned by smoke and another two - got minor burns.
Six fire engines and two boats of the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency were engaged in the fire extinguishing efforts. According to rescuers, the fact that the ship is divided into numerous compartments where it was difficult to direct the flow of water from fire engines greatly complicated the situation. During the blaze extinguishing operation the Taigan ship heavily tilted, but still remains afloat.