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TOKYO, May 24 (Itar-Tass) - One of the Russian sailors who were injured in a fire that broke out on the Taigan ship anchored at the Japanese port of Wakkanai, has been discharged a local hospital, Attache of the Russian Consulate General in Sapporo Valery Kaminsky told Itar-Tass on Friday.
“Vladimir Lartsev, who was hospitalised with burns of the upper respiratory tract at Wakkanai hospital has now been discharged,” the official of the Consulate General said. Another Russian - Yuri Lobok, who with serious burns of the upper body was rushed to the Red Cross hospital in the city of Asahikawa, is on the mend. Earlier this week, he was transferred from intensive care to a general ward.
The Russian embassy also reported that members of the Taigan crew have expressed a desire to return to Russia. “The Japanese authorities continue to question the sailors within the framework of the investigation of the vessel fire causes,” Kaminsky said. “We hope this procedure will be completed in early June, after which the crew will be able to depart for home.” The Taigan crew - 14 people - is currently accommodated on the Seven ship that is also anchored at Wakkanai port. The seafarers are allowed to get off the ship into the city where they can maintain telephone contact with their relatives in Russia.
The Russian Consulate General in Sapporo has also received death certificates for four of the six fire victims, whose bodies are undergoing expert examination in the city of Asahikawa. A shipping agency company is currently preparing documents for sending the bodies home. Their transportation is expected to be carried out by ferry from Wakkanai to the port of Korsakov in Russia’s Far East. The ferry service between the two ports this year will be launched on May 28.
The fire on the Taigan vessel with a displacement 497 tonnes, which came under the Cambodian flag to the port of Wakkanai on May 14 with a load of crabs from the port of Korsakov on Sakhalin, occurred on the night to May 16. During the blaze extinguishing operation the Taigan ship heavily tilted, but remained afloat. The fire was raging on the vessel for more than 11 hours. Six fire engines and two boats of the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency were engaged in the fire extinguishing efforts.
The ship’s crew initially consisted of 14 citizens of Russia and four Ukrainians. Five more Russians joined them at Wakkanai. On May 17, the ship was to depart for home. After the fire broke out at about 02:00 a.m., local time, most of the crew, including the captain, Vitaly Saltaganov, 47, left the ship on their own.