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23 fishermen missing in Russia: report

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Feb 14, 2011
A Russian fishing trawler with at least 23 people on board has gone missing in the Sea of Okhotsk off the Kamchatka Peninsula, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported Monday.

The Ametist vessel stopped transmitting daily position reports on Friday, with the search mission being hampered by heavy storms and poor visibility, the news agency quoted rescue official as saying.

The Interfax news agency said the trawler had 24 crew members on board and enough fuel to last until Tuesday.

An Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft and a helicopter had been dispatched to the region to help locate the trawler, whose crew had been fishing for crab, news reported said.

But wind gusts of up to 55 miles (88 kilometres) per hour had forced officials to temporarily call off their search Monday evening.

"The search and rescue mission will resume as soon as weather conditions improve," Interfax quoted a local rescue official as saying.

The vessel did not issue a distress signal before losing radio contact with the ground, ITAR-TASS said.

The Sea of Okhotsk lies west of Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula and far north of Japan's Hokkaido Island.

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