Monday, February 16, 2009
Eight sailors were killed when their vessel sank during a violent storm near the far-eastern Russian port of Vladivostok, the regional emergency rescue centre said. The crew of the New Star steamer abandonded ship about 50km offshore in the Sea of Japan after the captain sent a distress signal saying the vessel had begun to roll sharply onto its right side. Half of the 16-member crew on the Sierra Leone-flagged ship, which included Chinese and Indonesian citizens, were saved by a nearby Russian vessel. "During the next attempt to rescue people, six of them were injured and then drowned.Earlier, two members of the crew were washed off their life-raft by a wave," a captain at the Vladivostok Emergency Rescue Centre told reporters. He added that "rescuers are trying to raise the bodies of the lost seamen" but that the rescue efforts were being made difficult by 25km/h winds and waves of over six metres. In another incident in the Sea of Japan on Sunday, three emergency rescue ships battled a raging fire onboard a nearby ocean-liner called the Nancy. All 23 crew members on board the 70,000-tonne ship - registered in Panama - were rescued, officials said, but it was unclear how the ship would be brought back to port.