Bulgaria begun to be towed to shallow waters – official

MOSCOW, July 23 (Itar-Tass) — The pleasure cruiser Bulgaria, which sank on July 10 in central Russia claiming 114 lives, has begun to be towed to shallow waters of the Kirelskoye Zaton and then transported to the shore.

Eight people are still missing after the calamity.

The vessel will be towed to a backwater some 11 kilometres away by the two floating cranes that earlier dislodged it from the bed of the Volga River. Twelve ships will accompany the Bulgaria to the shallow waters. At the shore, the vessel is awaited by experts who are preparing to examine it. The two cranes are up-anchoring at the moment.

The vessel is still full of water, which needs to be pumped out.

Spokesman for the response centre Timur Khikmatov told Itar-Tass by telephone that the cruiser “has begun to be towed to shallow waters of the Kirelskoye Zaton. The speed of the convoy is of three kilometres per hour”.

According to Khikmatov, it will take about 4-6 hours to transport the vessel to shallow waters.

The official told Itar-Tass that a decision on transporting the vessel to shallow waters had been taken by the emergency response centre because this was the securer and technological variant.

The operation to raise the sunken ship in Russia’s central republic of Tatarstan started a week ago, but has been hampered by weather and technical complications. It was only on Friday that engineers successfully detached the stern of the ship and its bow from the sticky mud of the riverbed.

Only 79 people survived the sinking of the Bulgaria, which was carrying 201 people on the day of the catastrophe. Eight bodies are still missing. On Saturday, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry said the bodies of six women and two men are being sought and confirmed that no children are among the missing.

Tatarstan paid compensations to 38 relatives of those who died in the crash of the Bulgaria passenger ship, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Welfare’s press service reported.

“Material assistance has been also paid to 63 victims,” the press service said.

Tatarstan will pay material assistance to families of the dead who are not residents of the republic, the press service said.

Under the government’s resolution, the size of compensations will amount to 300,000 roubles to each family.

As of today 23 people, who are not residents of Tatarstan, are deemed among the dead.

As for residents of the republic, whose relatives died in the incident, as of July 15 financial aid will be paid to 26 relatives of the dead. In addition, a total of 62 injured people also received material assistance. The total size of assistance will reach about 23-24 million roubles from the regional budget and 150 million roubles from the federal budget.

Those who received injuries will be provided from 50,000 to 100,000 roubles depending on the degree of injuries. Citizens who lost property will be paid 10,000 roubles.

The families of 26 victims of the MS Bulgaria wreck have received compensations from the budget of Tatarstan, the ministry said.

“As of 7:00 p.m. Moscow time, material aid had been paid to the families of 26 victims and to 62 people hurt in the shipwreck,” the ministry said.

Total compensations from the republican budget will near 23-24 million roubles, while the federal budget will contribute another 150 million roubles.

Up to 100,000 roubles will be paid to the injured depending on the degree of injuries. Some 10,000 roubles will be paid in compensation for property lost in the shipwreck.

The families of people who died in the MS Bulgaria wreck will get one million roubles each in compensation, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said earlier.

“The families of the dead will receive one million roubles; people with heavy and medium injuries will be paid 400,000 roubles, while people with light injuries will have 200,000 roubles,” he said.

All the 114 bodies found on the MS Bulgaria wreck site in Tatarstan have been identified, the republican health ministry told Itar-Tass.

“A total of 114 bodies were brought to the Tatarstan forensic medical bureau: those of 28 children, 66 women and 20 men. All the bodies were identified,” the ministry said, adding that 111 bodies were transferred to families for burial.

The ship had 208 people aboard, but only 79 of them – 29 women, ten children and 40 men were rescued. Fifteen people are deemed missing.

The MS Bulgaria sank in a storm in the Kuibyshevskoye dam lake, three kilometres away from the shore, on July 10. The ship built in Czechoslovakia in 1955 titled to the right and sank within minutes.

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