14/7 Tass 405
KAZAN, July 14 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday demand a tough legal assessment of the actions of river vessel captains who did not give assistance to people from the wrecking cruise liner The Bulgaria.
“We must look more attentively at those who were passing by,” he said at a session of the governmental commission in charge of clearing the aftermath of the tragedy, which claimed the lives of at least 113 people.
“Alexander Ivanovich, I’d like to ask you to give a legal assessment to this because we have a special article /in the Criminal Code/ — the neglect in the conditions of danger,” Putin said addressing Alexander Bastrykin, the chairman of Russia’s Investigations Committee.
A criminal case has been instituted against the captains of the Arbat dry cargo carrier and the Dunaisky’66 towboat, who ignored the disastrous situation aboard The Bulgaria.
Eyewitness accounts say two cargo ships passed near The Bulgaria when it was sinking but they did not offer any help.
The Bulgaria motor ship, built in Czechoslovakia in 1955 and upgraded the last time in 1980, sank during a two-day return cruise to the olden town of Bolgar on the Volga Sunday, July 10.
The accident occurred during a storm in the middle of the huge Kuibyshevsky water reservoir 3 kilometers away from the shore.
Investigators established later that the ship had left the port of Kazan with one of the engines malfunctioning.
During the storm, the vessel listed to the starboard and sank within several minutes.
It had 208 persons aboard, almost 40 persons more than its technological capacity admitted of and some of the passengers were not registered properly during embarkation.
A total of 79 people, including ten children were rescued.
The latest data speaks of 113 dead, including 27 children. At the same time, sixteen people are still listed as missing.