KRASNODAR, April 20. /TASS/. Rescue teams have wound up the active phase of the search operation in the area of wreckage of the Geroi Arsenala general cargo ship in the Kerch Strait, which links the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, the press service of the Southern Regional Center of Russia's Ministry for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense told TASS.
"The active phase of the search was over at 17:30 Moscow Standard Time on April 20," a spokesman for the press service said. "On Friday, the search will be done by the ships crossing the area, while special task groups will do the shoreline monitoring."
Reports said earlier on Thursday the rescuers had found an empty lifebuoy ring.
"Since the start of the search and rescue operation the rescuers have covered 350 nautical miles of water surface," the spokesman said.
The Geroi Arsenala general cargo ship wrecked on April 19 in the Black Sea while laying off. An SOS signal from the captain was registered at arond 04:00 hours.
The ship had a twelve-strong crew consisting of nine Ukrainians, two Russians (the captain being one of the two), and a Georgian.
One sailor, a motorman, was rescued and the bodies of three more sailors were recovered from seawater, while the plight of another eight crewmembers remains unknown.
The Geroi Arsenala was a Panama-flagged Russian ship. It had left the Russian port of Azov and was heading for Turkey with a consignment of grain aboard.