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Fire-stricken dry cargo ship towed to Vladivostok

The fire in the engine room of the Sea Champion broke out on Thursday night

VLADIVOSTOK, August 08, /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian dry cargo ship Sea Champion, on board which a fire broke out in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), has been towed by the rescue boat Lazurit to Vladivostok, an official at the Far Eastern basin emergency-rescue department told Itar-Tass.

The department official said, "The towing operation was completed on Friday morning. The stricken transport ship was brought to Cape Goldobin. The Lazurit will go on ensuring the safety of the Sea Champion, pending the arrival of Emercom specialists."

The fire in the engine room of the Sea Champion broke out on Thursday night when the ship with a cargo of containers and automobiles (3,986 tonnes) was on a run from Vladivostok to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and was at that time seven miles off Cape Povorotny (Port Nakhodka).

The crew battered the engine room down and activated a fire-smothering system, thereby preventing the fire from spreading throughout the ship. One crew member died in the fire.

In connection with the fact of fire on board the ship, the Far Eastern transport investigation department of Russia's Investigation Committee has launched an inquiry with a view to establishing the causes of the blaze and all the circumstances of the seaman's death.

The Sea Champion is registered at the port of Vladivostok. The dry cargo ship was built in 1984. The deadweight of the 106-metre-long ship is 6,025 tonnes.