Irina refrigerator ship endures storm, drifts into Pacific

The Irina refrigerator vessel in distress in Russia’s Far East drifted on Friday away from the Kunashir Island into the Pacific Ocean due to a strong storm, a maritime rescue coordination center official said.

All 19 crew members have been evacuated from the vessel, which sent a distress signal in the early hours of Wednesday from an area in the Pacific off Russia’s Kuril Islands claimed by Japan.

However, the ship, which has gone out of control with its propulsion engine dead, poses a threat to other vessels navigating in the area, the official said.

The vessel is now drifting some 25 nautical miles (46 kilometers) away from the Kunashir Island, he said.

Two rescue tugs, the Atlas and Suvotovets, have been attempting to approach the vessel since the early hours of Thursday amid strong storms in the area, with waves of up to 5 meters and winds of up to 24 meters per second.

The Irina has some 500 metric tons of frozen fish on board, as well as some 105 tonnes of fuel oil and 40 tonnes of diesel fuel.


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