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At least 56 dead in Russian trawler disaster

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By Sarah Taylor  with AP, Reuters
At least 56 dead in Russian trawler disaster

Rescue workers say at least 56 people have died after a fishing trawler sank off Russia’s far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.

With 63 people now rescued, thirteen are still believed to be missing. The ship’s captain is said to be among the dead.

Weather conditions are said to be poor and survival in the water is estimated at just 20 minutes.


Speculation is rife over how the boat came to sink.

Oleg Kozhemyako, Interim Governor of the eastern Sakhalin region gave his version of events.

“The tanks were not full of ballast weight. The ship had an on-board trawl of around 80 tonnes of fish.This could have caused it to list,” he said. “I think the ship could have taken on water at this point because the portholes were open in the engine room. And it all happened in the space of half an hour.”

Investigators say the ship may also have collided with ice.

Russian state television reported just over 60 people were on board when it departed, leading some to question how that number could have more-than doubled in the three months the trawler was at sea.

People of a number of nationalities are said to have been on board, including an estimated 78 from Russia and 42 from Myanmar, while the rest of the 132 are thought to have hailed from Latvia, Ukraine and Vanuatu.