Russian rescue divers located the sunken cargo ship Amurskaya on Wednesday, rescuers from the Yuzsakhalinsk center told RIA Novosti.
The ship, registered in Nikovaevsk-na-Amur, sank near the Shantarsky Islands in the southwestern Sea of Okhotsk on October 28 with nine crew members on board. The vessel was en route from the port of Kiran to the port of Okhotsk with a cargo of gold ore weighing 700 tons.
Russia’s Transport Ministry confirmed the finding.
“With improving weather conditions, after finding a submerged object on sonar, the rescue ship Rubin moored over the object. The object was confirmed as the Amurskaya,” the Transport Ministry said in a statement.
“The divers work is completed. None of the sailors’ bodies have been discovered, but a search inside the ship has not taken place,” a source told RIA Novosti.
A decision on whether it is safe to search inside the ship will be taken later by rescue authorities in Moscow.
The operation has been hampered by difficult weather conditions in the area, with winds of up to five yards per second (five m/s) and choppy waves.
Mining experts say the cargo of ore could contain up to 9 pounds (4.2 kg) of gold worth up to $230,000 at current prices.
A criminal case has already been launched on suspicion of violation of ship safety rules.