23/7 Tass 108
MOSCOW, July 23 (Itar-Tass) — As many as 12 vessels will escort the Bulgaria pleasure boat that sank on the Volga River on July 10 to shallow waters in the Kirelskoye dam. The Bulgaria’s upper deck has already been fully lifted, Timur Khikmatov from the lift supervisory staff told Itar-Tass over the phone on Saturday.
“Preparatory works at the ship will soon be over. Now anchors are being weighed at the two cranes that will tug the Bulgaria to the shallow waters,” he said. Moreover, ten auxiliary vessels will escort the ship.
According to Khikmatov, the process of forming the convoy may take quite a time, while the tugging as such is expected to take from three to four hours. The half-sunken Bulgaria will be taken to the Kirelskoye dam, some 11-12 kilometers away from the wreck site. There, the ship will be sealed and water will be pumped out.
According to Khikmatov, this is the best solution from the technical point of view. Previously, it was planned either to pressurize the vessel pump water while the ship is afloat or to take the ship to a shoal some 40-50 meters away from the wreck site.
After water is pumped from the ship, it will be taken to a dock, where investigators will examine it to establish shipwreck causes.
The Bulgaria pleasure ship, which was on a Bolgary-Kazan river voyage, sank in a storm in the Kuibyshevskoye dam lake, three kilometers away from the shore, on July 10. The ship built in Czechoslovakia in 1955 titled to the right and sank within minutes. The death toll has reached 114. According to latest information, there were 201 people aboard, some of them unregistered. Seventy-nine were rescued. Eight are still missing.