MOSCOW, August 16 (Itar-Tass) — Head of the Kazan department of the Rostransnadzor Federal Service for Supervision of Transport Irek Timergazeyev and chief state inspector of the department Vladislav Semyonov have been detained as suspects within the case over the sinking of the Bulgaria motor ship, spokesman for the Investigative Committee (SK) Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
“The investigators of the SK’s main department, within the criminal probe into the sinking of the Bulgaria pleasure boat, detained head of the Kazan office, Volga branch of the state maritime and inland transport supervision under the Federal Service for Supervision of Transport Irek Timergazeyev and chief state inspector from the same office Vladislav Semyonov, on suspicion of the commission of crime covered by Article 293, Part 3 of Russia’s Criminal Code (“negligence”), Markin said.
“According to the investigators, the above officials, responsible for pre-license check, cleared the ArgoRechTur company, headed by Svetlana Inyakina, as meeting the requirements and license terms for passenger transportation by inland water transport,” Markin said.
“The illegal actions by the Rostransnadzor officials are in causal relationship with the grave consequences, namely the death of 122 people who were on board “Bulgaria,” he added.
SK personnel have carried out searches and retrieved documents at the suspects’ offices and apartments, with the view of collecting and solidifying evidence.
A court is mulling arrest as the measure of restraint for the detainees. The investigation into the criminal case continues.
The “Bulgaria” pleasure boat built in Czechoslovakia in 1955, sank in the Kuibyshev water reservoir on July 10. The ship, headed for Kazan, foundered in a matter of minutes, three kilometers from the shore at a depth of some 22 meters.
There were 201 people on board. Of those 122 died, including 28 children.
Earlier, police arrested director general of the AgroRechTur company Svetlana Inyakina and senior expert of the Kama branch of the Russian Inland Transport Register Yakov Ivashov on charges of providing services that do not meet the requirements for the safety of the consumers’ life and health.
A criminal probe was also opened against captain of the Arbat bulk carrier Yuri Tuchin and captain of tow ship Dunaisky 66 Alexander Yegorov, who passed the sinking “Bulgaria” without providing assistance.
On Monday, Rostransnadzor published its conclusions on the shipwreck. According to its expert, it met with an accident due to a body of violations, the direct cause being the inflow of water through opened viewports in storm.
In the first minute, the diesel motor boat took 50 tons of water, and then the inflow intensified as Bulgaria developed a 20-degree starboard list. Divers later found 27 opened viewports on the portside and 11 opened starboard viewports.
Rostransnadzor underlined that on the whole, the tragedy was caused by several factors, such as “non-compliance by the shipowner and the captain of the vessel with the documents regulating safe navigation in planning, preparing and performing voyages, as well poor skills and lack of discipline in crew members.
Earlier, Rostransnadzor stated the decision to punish four officials in connection with the Bulgaria shipwreck had been cancelled.
Last week, the SK denied the media reports that experts had found a hole in the hull of the riverboat “Bulgaria” after the hoisting operation in the Kuibyshev water reservoir.
“The reports disseminated in the mass media citing the results of inspection of the motor ship, carried out by the Volga branch of the Russian Inland Transport Register that the shipwreck occurred as a result of puncture, does not correspond to reality,” the SK spokesman underlined.
The Bulgaria was salvaged in the July 26 operation and towed to a dry dock at the Kuibyshev plant, where a group of investigators carried out a detailed inspection.