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Sea of Okhotsk

Russian trawler Dalniy Vostok has sunk off the Kamchatka peninsula, with 54 sailors so far confirmed dead.

So far, 63 people have been rescued with many suffering from hypothermia, according to a maritime rescue centre in Russia’s Far East.

The Dalniy Vostok freezer trawler had 132 people on board when it sank.

Seventy-eight of the crew members were Russian, with the remainder coming from countries including Latvia, Ukraine, Myanmar and Vanuatu.

The Dalniy Vostok went down in the Sea of Okhotsk, 205 miles west of Krutogorovsky settlement, at around 06:30 local time on April 2.

“The rescue operation is going on, we are still looking for 15 people,” Viktor Klepikov, coordinating captain of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky maritime rescue coordination centre, told Reuters news agency.Russian trawler Dalniy Vostok sinks off Kamchatka peninsula

“At this time we do not know what might have caused the tragedy.”

One theory is that drifting ice may have holed the vessel, according to Russian emergency services.

Water flooded the engine compartment and the trawler then sank within 15 minutes, a local branch of the Russian Emergencies Ministry said.

However, Russian news agency Tass quoted a senior official in Kamchatka as saying the boat foundered while trawling a 100-tonne dragnet.

Sergei Khabarov said that safety rules might have been flouted with cargo limits being exceeded.

The ship did not send out a distress call before sinking, according to local media.

Some two dozen ships and a rescue helicopter are involved in searching for remaining survivors in freezing waters around zero degrees C (32F).

The 15 people who are still missing are thought to have been in the ship’s hold as the trawler sank, reported Tass.

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At least four people are dead and about 50 are missing after a Russian oil drilling rig sank in freezing seas in the Sea of Okhotsk.

The Kolskaya rig was being towed some 200km (125 miles) off Sakhalin island when it capsized in a fierce storm.

14 people have been rescued alive but it is feared the rig overturned before the rest of the 67 people on board could escape on to life rafts.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by poor weather conditions.

Helicopters and a plane helped scour the area amid high winds and waves of up to 12 ft (4 m) but the search was halted as night fell.

“According to reports from the scene of the rescue operation, the Kolskaya platform has sunk completely,” the regional head of the emergencies ministry, Taimuraz Kasayev, told a news briefing.

The Kolskaya rig was being towed some 200km (125 miles) off Sakhalin island when it capsized in a fierce storm

The Kolskaya rig was being towed some 200km (125 miles) off Sakhalin island when it capsized in a fierce storm

The accident happened at around 14:00 local time (02:00 GMT) in the Sea of Okhotsk, at temperatures of -17C, as the rig was being towed from the eastern peninsula of Kamchatka to Sakhalin by an icebreaker and a tug.

An unnamed regional emergencies ministry spokesman told the AFP news agency that the rig’s portholes had been “damaged by ice and waves, and water began going into the vessel”.

The crew had been waiting to be evacuated by helicopter but the platform capsized and sank before they could get to their rescue rafts, he said.

Two out of the four life rafts were reportedly found with nobody on board.

An investigation has been launched to decide whether any safety regulations were violated transporting the Kolskaya in bad weather.

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