Tatarstan president meets with families of MS Bulgaria wreck victims.

12/7 Tass 442

KAZAN, July 12 (Itar-Tass) —— Tatarstan President Ruslan Minnikhanov has visited the Republican Forensic Medical Bureau in Kazan to speak to the families of the MS Bulgaria wreck victims.

“The whole country is mourning the dead together with you,” he said.

The search for the bodies continues, and about 170 divers are involved, he said. The search zone has grown to 50 meters, he said.

A source at the republican healthcare ministry told Itar-Tass that 65 bodies, including that of a pregnant woman, had been brought to Kazan for identification. Fifty-three adults and five children have been identified.

Ninety bodies have been retrieved from water on the MS Bulgaria wreck site, the Emergency Situations Ministry told Itar-Tass.

“There is an official confirmation to 90 deaths,” the ministry said. Thirty-nine people are still missing.

The MS Bulgaria sank in a storm in the Kuibyshevskoye dam lake on July 10. The ship built in 1955 titled to the right and sank within minutes. It had the maximum capacity of 140 people but carried 192, some of them unregistered. Seventy-nine people were rescued.

All the cruise ships and tour operators have gone under microscope in Tatarstan, acting transport prosecutor of the republic Ruslan Tsechoyev said.

He said they were examining both local entities and those from other regions rendering services in Tatarstan.

Tatarstan Prime Minister Ildar Khalikov said that the crew and passengers of the wrecked MS Bulgaria were not insured.

Argorechtur General Director Svetlana Inyakina and senior expert of the Kama branch of the Russian River Register Yakov Ivashov have been detained in the investigation of the MS Bulgaria wreck, Investigation Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass.

Earlier both were charged with rendering unsafe services, which caused more than two deaths through negligence (paragraph 3, article 238 of the Russian Criminal Code).

The possible penalty may reach ten years in prison.

Argorechtur had no labor or insurance contracts with the ship crew. It rendered services, which failed to meet the security requirements and caused numerous deaths.

In addition, criminal charges were brought against the captains of the Arbat and Dunaisky 66 cargo ships for not giving assistance to passengers of the wrecked MS Bulgaria, Markin said.

The offense is punished with either a large fine or an imprisonment of up to two years.

“Two cargo ships sailed past people in distress but no assistance was given,” eyewitnesses said. Transport Minister Igor Levitin promised that the punishment would be severe.

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