Probe into “Bulgaria” sinking releases first findings

Russia’s Investigative Committee has found out what may have caused the “Bulgaria” cruise ship to sink, killing 122 people.

The list of possible reasons is topped by engine failure, troubles with its radio warning system, a lack of life-saving equipment and an overload of passengers – 201 people were onboard instead of 156.

The exact cause of the tragedy will be revealed after a full engineering and technical examination is completed. As of now, it is believed that the “Bulgaria” sank because of technical troubles.

“Now the investigators have to find who is to blame for the tragedy and understand which actions of the crew, of the cruise ship’s owners and of the officials responsible for the cruise ship’s check-up caused the sinking,” said the official spokesperson for the committee, Vladimir Markin.

The “Bulgaria” sank during a pleasure cruise on the Volga River. Of 201 people onboard, 122 died when the ship went down in a matter of minutes. There were 28 children, 72 women and 22 men among the victims.

A criminal case was launched against the captains of two freighters that failed to take part in the rescue of people from the “Bulgaria” on June 10, the day she sank.

“Even though both suspects deny any wrongdoing, the body of evidence collected by the investigation, including passenger and crew-member reports and the logs of the vessels ‘Dunaysky 66’ and ‘Arbat,’ confirm their guilt,” stated Markin.

The captains of both ships are suspected of abandoning a ship in distress. Two other people have already been charged with criminal negligence in connection with the incident.

A check-up on cruise ships following the Volga River tragedy found out that 90 percent fail to meet basic safety requirements. The most common violations are missing or faulty life-jackets and no flares in the lifeboats.

After a thorough check-up, 23 vessels were banned from operating as passenger ships, and prosecutors initiated 66 administrative cases against boat owners. More checks will be carried out in other regions.

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