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    Search Operation Underway for Russian Fishing Boat Missing in Sea of Japan

    © Photo : Press-service of Russian Emergency Situations Ministry
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    MOSCOW/VLADIVOSTOK (Sputnik) - The Russian emergencies service, alongside the country's Pacific Fleet, is searching for Russian fishing vessel Vostok, carrying at least 20 people on board, that went missing in the northern Sea of Japan on early Thursday.

    According to the latest information, the Russian fishing vessel Vostok, that went missing in the northern Sea of Japan, has not been found yet, Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said.

    "At the moment, a large-scale search operation is being carried out, all vessels operating in the area are carrying out visual monitoring of the water surface… The aviation of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations is working, interaction between all services has been set up. Unfortunately, the weather conditions complicate the search operation," he added.

    Vessel Went Missing in Neutral Waters

    The boat used an emergency position-indicating radio beacon to send a distress signal 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of Cape Gamow in Russia's Far East region. All efforts to get in touch with the vessel afterward have failed. Immediately following the distress alert, the coast guard went to the place where the radio beacon was triggered and was later joined by a marine rescue tugboat. In addition, two helicopters were sent to the site.

    According to the Russian authorities, the vessel is expected to be in neutral waters.

    The ship belongs to DV Flot Ltd., and its home port is in the Russian town of Nevelsk on Sakhalin Island.

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    The Vostok has a crew of 20, all Russian citizens, according to Russia's Far Eastern Transport Prosecutor's Office. Meanwhile, the Emergencies Ministry has said that the number of people on board was 21, among them Azerbaijani and Moldovan nationals.

    Search Hampered by Severe Weather

    The local branch of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring told Sputnik that a storm warning was issued for the region. Low temperatures and strong winds create such conditions, which can make any vessel, including rescue ships, prone to icing.

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    The weather prompted authorities to use rescue aircraft in the operation.

    The Coordination Headquarters will be deployed in the territorial center of the Russian Pacific Fleet.  The search and rescue forces are fully prepared, the spokesperson of the Pacific Fleet told Sputnik.

    High Chances for Rescue of Ship's Crew

    The government of Russia's Sakhalin Region said that the chances of rescuing the ship’s crew are high, because it went missing in an area of active shipping, where many vessels are sailing.

    Two life jackets have been found since the fishing vessel went missing in the north of the Sea of Japan, the rescuers told Sputnik.

    The Far Eastern office of the Russian Investigative Committee has launched an investigation into the suspected violation of safety rules for the movement and operation of maritime transport, which caused by accident the death of two or more people.

    missing, vessel, Russia, Sea of Japan
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