VLADIVOSTOK, November 9 (RIA Novosti) – Russian rescue divers began on Friday another inspection of a sunken cargo vessel, the Amurskaya, to see if there are bodies of crew members trapped inside the ship, the Far Eastern emergencies department said.
The ship, registered in Nikolaevsk-on-Amur, sank near the Shantarsky Islands in the southwestern Sea of Okhotsk on October 28 with nine crew members on board. The vessel was en route from the port of Kiran to the port of Okhotsk with a cargo of gold ore weighing 700 tons.
The emergencies department said in a statement that weather conditions allowed for divers to inspect all compartments inside the ship.
The previous underwater inspection of the Amurskaya, which rests at the depth of 25 meters (82 feet), revealed that emergency evacuation rafts were absent on the vessel, which could mean that the crew left the ship.
Mining experts say the cargo of ore could contain up to 9 pounds (4.2 kg) of gold worth up to $230,000 at current prices.
A criminal case has already been launched on suspicion of violation of ship safety rules.