Bulgaria wreck death toll grows to 120 – ministry – 2.

24/7 Tass 132

MOSCOW, July 24 (Itar-Tass) —— Divers have found another body inside the sunken MS Bulgaria, and the total death toll of the shipwreck is now 120, a source at the Tatarstan Emergency Situations Ministry told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

“There are two women left on the missing list,” the source said.

Two floating cranes lifted the ship from the Volga River bed and towed it to shallow waters. Divers started to examine the ship at dawn and six bodies were found. The engine room has not been examined so far.

Meanwhile, the search for the missing continues for 120 kilometers along the riverbank and on twelve islands. The Ulyanovsk region is also patrolling the area. In all, nearly 1,000 people are cleaning up the shipwreck aftermath.

Divers will examine the whole of the sunken ship, but they have found no visible damage inside or outside. The ship’s hull is being pressurized and the water is being pumped out. Once that is done, the ship will keep afloat and detectives will start doing their work, the ministry said.

Detectives of the Russian Investigation Committee will decide whether the ship will be towed to a dock or not. When their work is done, the ship will be scrapped.

The MS Bulgaria 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. In all, there were 201 people aboard: 147 legal and 18 unregistered passengers and 36 crewmembers. Seventy-nine were rescued, including 55 passengers and 24 crewmembers.

The Russian River Register permitted the Bulgaria to carry no more than 120 people.

The Bulgaria had six rescue rafts for 120 people and two rescue boats for 36. It had compartments for one, two, three or four passengers.

The Kama River Shipping Company is the official owner of the Bulgaria. It leased the ship to Vodaflot, and the latter sub-leased the Bulgaria to Argorechflot in 2010. The ship made voyages from Kazan to Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, Bolgary and Volgograd.

Shipbuilders said that the diesel-and-electric-powered vessels of the Bulgaria type had a service life of no more than 20 years. Longer use was possible on the condition of constant maintenance and modernization.

The Bulgaria had its last full checkout at the Perm shipyard on May 24, 2007.

Some 120 passenger ships are cruising rivers in European Russia. An average period of their use is 30 years. There are three vessels of the Bulgaria type. About 14.5 million tours went on river cruises in Russia in 2010. The operation of all ships similar with the sunken MS Bulgaria was suspended.

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