In the late hours of Wednesday, the Russian Dalniy Vostok fishing trawler sank in the freezing waters off the Western Pacific Ocean’s Kamchatka Peninsula, resulting in the death of at least 54 seafarers and in another 15 going missing.
Out of the total 132 people that were aboard the vessel at the time, 63 were successfully rescued. Sea water temperature was near zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).
“All rescue procedures are currently still in motion as we are looking for the 15 missing seamen. At the moment we are still unable to pinpoint the exact cause behind the tragic accident,” commented Viktor Klepikov, who is the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky maritime rescue coordination center’s coordinating captain.
Sergei Khabarov, deputy head of the Kamchatka region, was cited as commenting that the trawler’s crew members could have quite possible breached safety regulations by exceeding the vessel’s cargo capacity.
“Preliminary examinations of the accident occurrence and the causes behind it show that at the time of the sinking the trawler was a carrying a 100-ton fishing seine,” he allegedly said.
According to Russia’s TASS news agency an unidentified source from the region’s current rescue center commented that a potential factor, that might have led to the accident, were large drifting pieces of ice that may have seriously damaged the vessel’s body and thus resulted in its sinking, which took just a shade under 15 minutes.
Over the years, Russia has managed to accumulate quite an eyesore road, water and air safety record, with plenty of examples regarding negligence along with corruption as causes behind accidents. Back in 2011, and old and over-its-passenger-capacity boat sank in the Russian Volga River, resulting in the death of almost 130 passengers, which still stands as one of the gravest ship disasters of the post-Soviet era.
At the time of the tragedy, the trawler had 78 Russian nationals on board, along with another 54 nationals from Ukraine, Myanmar, Vanuatu and Lithuania.
The accident occurred in the Sea of Okhotsk, at 330 km (205 miles) west of the Kamchatka region’s Krutogorovsky settlement and 250 km (155 miles) south of the city of Magadan.
The Magellan LLC owned trawler’s home port was that of Nevelsk, located in the Russian region of Sakhalin.