KAZAN, January 22. /ITAR-TASS/. A court in Tatarstan's capital Kazan on Wednesday resumed the questioning of witnesses in the case over the sinking of the Bulgaria steamer in 2011, a spokeswoman 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 court is continuing the questioning of defendant Ramil Khametov, Bulgaria's first mate," the court's spokeswoman Maria Lukashevich told Itar-Tass. "It will consider the defense's petition to call an expert from St. Petersburg."
On Tuesday, the lawyer of defendant Yakov Ivashov requested an inspection of the Bulgaria boat as hard evidence to be attached to the case.
There are 186 injured parties and 109 witnesses in the case.
Defendants in the case
The defendants are director of the AgroRechTur company Svetlana Inyakina, senior expert of the Perm sector, Russian Inland Waters Registry, Kama branch, Yakov Ivashov, former first officer of Bulgaria's captain Ramil Khametov, and two Rostransnadzor transport watchdog inspectors, Vladislav Semyonov and Irek Timergazeeyev.
"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 Marina Gridneva said.
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 a 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, the spokeswoman said.
"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," she added.
The damage to the shipowner - the Kama Shipping company - is estimated at some 30 million rubles.