Search operation for missing Russian fishing boat in Sea of Japan
Russian rescuers were searching Thursday for a fishing boat that went missing during a storm in the Sea of Japan with at least 20 crew on board.
The vessel, called Vostok, sent an emergency radio signal while in stormy seas around 200 kilometers off the coast of the far eastern Primorye region Thursday morning local time, according to the Russian emergency services ministry.
"Attempts to communicate with the boat met with no success," the ministry said.
Investigators said the boat had not shown up on global positioning systems after sending the emergency signal.
But a helicopter searching for the vessel spotted a buoy and two life jackets floating in rough seas. Boats and a plane have also been used in the search operation.
Prosecutors said the missing boat has a crew of 20, while the emergency services ministry gave the total number on board as 21. Local media reported one crew member had gone ashore early.
All are Russian, a sea rescue official at the Pacific port of Vladivostok told RIA Novosti.
The boat disappeared in an area of sea around 3 kilometers deep with five-meter-high waves, Russia's fisheries agency said, amid strong winds.
Rescuers have so far covered 4,100 square kilometers of ocean and were set to continue at night using floodlights.
A weather warning was issued Thursday by the regional emergency services ministry, saying boats were at risk of being quickly covered in ice in the Sea of Japan.
"The low temperature and strong wind create such conditions that any ships in the north of the Sea of Japan will accumulate ice. That's what's dangerous," a spokesman for the Primorye region's weather center told RIA Novosti state news agency.
Interfax news agency quoted social media posts from relatives of fishermen in the area saying that weather conditions had caused ice to cover their boats, which affects stability.
The Vostok specialises in catching crab and belongs to a large fishing company based on the Russian island of Sakhalin, Interfax news agency reported.
The boat had been travelling from the port of Donghae in South Korea to Sakhalin.
A probe into possible breaches of safety rules has been opened by Russia's Investigative Committee, which probes serious crimes.
Sakhalin local authorities said the boat was in an area with a lot of shipping and "chances are high for a positive outcome".
In conflicting reports, regional authorities said 13 of the crew are from Sakhalin while the rest are from other Russian regions, Moldova and Azerbaijan.
"We're sure the crew is alive," Russia's emergency services minister Vladimir Puchkov told Interfax.
The ship was in neutral waters at the time it disappeared and was not carrying any catch, Russia's fisheries agency said.
Commercial fishing is a major source of employment in far eastern Russia with high demand for seafood from Asian Pacific countries, but conditions can be harsh.
In 2015, a fishing trawler sank in freezing waters in the Sea of Okhotsk, killing 69 people.
A year earlier, a South Korean trawler sunk in the Bering Sea with 60 people aboard, only seven were rescued.
In 2011, 53 people died when a Russian oil drilling rig capsized and sank off Sakhalin.
Related news releases
- 16.02.2018Russian toll in Syria battle was 300 killed and wounded: sources
- 16.02.2018Truck with 2,500 loaves of bread hijacked in Russia
- 15.02.2018New US sanctions pose no serious threat to Russian economy, russians - Medvedev
- 15.02.2018Reports of scores of Russians killed in Syria are disinformation by anti-govt forces - Moscow
- 14.02.2018Presidents of Russia and Ukraine hold a telephone conversation
- 13.02.2018Lavrov says ‘aggressive minority’ in West impedes establishment of relations with Russia
- 09.02.2018Former governor of Sakhalin region Khoroshavin sentenced to 13 years in jail for bribery
- 07.02.2018Russia favors making UN Security Council more efficient
- 06.02.2018Russian, Kazakh FMs discuss preparations for Caspian Summit
- 06.02.2018Russian Central Election Commission registers Putin as presidential candidate
- 04.02.2018Russian Defense Ministry Releases Video of Su-25 Downing Over Syria - VİDEO
- 04.02.2018Russian weapons deliver strikes on area from which Su-25 was shot down , 30 militants killed
- 03.02.2018Russia’s Foreign Ministry notes anti-Russian focus of US nuclear doctrine
- 02.02.2018Russian CEC chairwoman disapproves of Kremlin spokesman’s statement
- 02.02.2018Armenia: 10-year-old girl kidnapped for debts
- 02.02.2018Russia says U.S. 'hunting' for Russians to arrest around the world
- 01.02.2018UN envoy for Syria highlights role of Sochi congress for Geneva process, says Lavrov
- 01.02.2018Law enforcement officer receives stab wounds in Yerevan
- 01.02.2018Meeting between Russian, Italian FMs kicks off in Moscow
- 31.01.2018Sergei Lavrov: "Sochi Congress Agrees a Constitutional Committee"
- 31.01.2018Group of Five plan for Syria runs counter to Geneva process — Lavrov
- 30.01.2018US ‘Kremlin List’ means nothing to Russia — PM
- 30.01.2018Putin says he feels 'sad' about not being included in US 'Kremlin report’
- 29.01.2018Search for missing Azerbaijanis in the Japanese Sea suspended
- 27.01.2018Russia says new U.S. sanctions are destructive step, will retaliate: RIA
- 20.01.2018Russia, Iran, Turkey agree lists for Congress in Sochi - president’s representative
- 20.01.2018Russia concerned over Turkey's launch of military op in Syria's Afrin - MoD
- 20.01.2018Russian, US army chiefs discuss Syria by phone
- 19.01.2018U.S. funding hold will hurt U.N. effort to help Palestinian refugees: Russia's Lavrov
- 19.01.2018Yelk bloc holds protest action against price hike in Armenia
- 19.01.2018Police raid Makhachkala mayor’s house and office
- 19.01.2018Russia not going to join Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons — Lavrov
- 18.01.2018Ukrainian parliament adopts law on Donbas reintegration
- 18.01.2018Bus fire in Kazakhstan: Short circuit a preliminary cause of fire
- 18.01.2018Putin says some CIS countries could become Eurasian Economic Union observers
- 18.01.2018Turkish chief of staff, intelligence chief in Russia for Syria talks
- 17.01.2018Putin is in good shape, Kremlin says
- 17.01.2018Businessman, son killed in Russia’s Orenburg
- 16.01.2018Armenia army general staff deputy chief’s son dies in car crash
- 16.01.2018Yerevan minibus drivers go on strike
- 25.01.2018Zakharova: ‘Any country’s destructive intervention in election campaign in Russia will be dealt with harshly’
- 25.01.2018Zakharova says Turkey is a difficult partner
- 26.01.201815 people die from hypothermia in Bishkek in January
- 23.01.2018Ukraine calls for boycott of 2018 World Cup in Russia
- 22.01.2018Russia says U.S. actions in Syria either a provocation or ill-informed
- 21.01.2018Russia says US 'took provocative steps' by arming YPG in Syria