Strong storm hampers efforts to secure Russian ship in distress

A rescue tug approached on Thursday the Irina refrigerator vessel in distress in the Russian Far East, but a strong storm off the Kuril Islands has prevented a rescue crew from boarding the vessel, a local emergency officer said.

The Irina, with 19 crew members and 500 metric tons of frozen fish on board, sent a distress signal in the early hours of Wednesday from an area in the Pacific Ocean some 13 miles from the Russian Kunashir Island claimed by Japan.

All 19 sailors on board the vessel have been lifted on board the Tatarstan refrigerator that arrived in the area in a few hours to help the distressed vessel.

The Irina’s propulsion engine died, its steering wheel broke down and the vessel has a leak.

Another rescue vessel, the Atlas, was expected to arrive at the site at about 11 am local time (midnight GMT).


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