17 Missing After Russian Fishing Boat Sinks in Barents Sea

Seventeen fishermen were missing and feared dead on Monday after a Russian boat capsized during a storm and sank in the freezing waters of the Barents Sea.

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Fishing vessel ONEGA sank in Barents sea west of Yuzhniy island, Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, early in the morning Dec 28, after she encountered heavy icing. The ship was fishing, icing-prone weather conditions caused icing, which led to disaster. Of 19 crew on board, 2 were rescued, 17 went missing, closest to disaster site fishing vessel VOYKOVO is searching for more survivors. Last ship’s AIS position dated 0205 Moscow time Dec 28.

Officials said that two people had been rescued during a search-and-rescue operation, but that bad weather conditions had complicated efforts to find survivors.

The privately owned boat, called Onega, sank near the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Barents Sea, with authorities becoming aware of the accident at 7:30 a.m., officials said.

"As a result of the accident, 19 people ended up in the water," said the Investigative Committee, which probes serious crimes, adding two people were rescued.

A source told the Interfax news agency that there was little hope of finding survivors due to strong winds and low temperatures.

"During the sinking, temperatures were as low as 30 degrees (Celsius) below zero," the source was quoted as saying.

"It's practically impossible to hold out even with wet suits on."

Officials believe that ice had built up on the Russian-flagged vessel, which had been operating since 1979.

"The disaster struck during a strong storm when the crew was hauling out a net with the catch," the source said.

"People were literally swept off from the deck by the sea."

The trawler sank so fast that crew did not have time to activate their life rafts, the source told Interfax.

Maritime accidents are fairly common in Russia.

In April 2015, a Russian trawler sank in the Okhotsk Sea off Kamchatka. Of the 132 people on board the Dalniy Vostok, just 63 were rescued.

IMO: 7825590


Vessel Type - Generic: Fishing

Vessel Type - Detailed: Fishing Vessel

Status: Active

MMSI: 273445610

Call Sign: UASF

Flag: Russia [RU]

Gross Tonnage: 358

Summer DWT: 208 t

Length Overall x Breadth Extreme: 39.51 x 7.72 m

Year Built: 1979