MOSCOW - A Russian trawler sank in icy seas off Russia's far eastern Kamchatka peninsula on Thursday, killing at least 56 of the 132 crew, the emergencies ministry said on Thursday.
63 people were rescued but 13 were still unaccounted for, hours after the Dalniy Vostok fishing vessel sank in the Sea of Okhotsk so quickly that its captain, who drowned, did not manage to send a distress signal.
- It was not immediately clear why the 26-year-old ship had sunk but a local official said the crew may have violated safety rules by overloading it, affecting its balance.
- Russia has a long history of road, air and sea disasters, many caused by negligence or violation of safety regulations.
- "At this time we do not know what might have caused the tragedy," Viktor Klepikov, coordinating captain of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky maritime rescue coordination centre conducting the search, told Reuters by telephone.
Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov(photo) said more than 10 possible causes were being considered by investigators.
But the acting governor of Sakhalin island, Oleg Kozhemyako, told LifeNews television: "Given the fact that the tragedy occurred quickly and unexpectedly, and the ship was registered and met all technical requirements, I think there was a violation of rules when it comes to overload and balancing of the vessel."