World Bulletin/News Desk
Rescuers recovered 11 more bodies from the Bering Sea Wednesday, bringing the confirmed death toll from sinking of a South Korean trawler to 12, state media reported.
Yonhap news agency said 41 crew members remain unaccounted for after the Oryong 501 sank in rough seas on Monday. Empty lifeboats from the trawler have been found among debris in the -10c waters off Russia’s Chukotka coast.
The agency reported the ship’s owner Sajo Industries as saying bodies were those of South Korean, Indonesian and Filipino crew members. "We are trying to verify their identities," said an official at the company.
Sajo Industries, which has been criticized by relatives of the missing crew for not ordering the ship evacuated in time, has joined government officials in updating journalists on the search mission.
After a fruitless search by Russian and American aircraft and ships on Tuesday, a series of Sajo Industries statements revealed the bodies were discovered early Wednesday, including one that had been carried nearly 9 miles (15 kilometers).
Five ships are involved in the search and rescue operation, according to South Korea’s foreign ministry, and U.S. rescue ship Munro is due to arrive at the accident site later Wednesday.
The conditions at sea were reported to be difficult, with winds of 25 meters a second and waves up to 7 meters high.
Sajo Industries, which acquired the 36-year-old vessel in 2010, had earlier explained that the 1,753-ton trawler’s storage areas are believed to have been flooded during a storm on Monday. The accident is still being investigated.
Seven survivors and a dead South Korean crew member were pulled from the sea shortly after the ship sank. The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said the 60-strong crew was made up of 35 Indonesians, 13 Filipinos, 11 South Koreans and a Russian inspector.
The sinking comes eight months after South Korea was rocked by a ferry disaster off its own coast, claiming more than 300 lives in a disaster that raised concerns about the enforcement of marine safety regulations.
The Oryong 501 set off in July to catch pollock under a fisheries agreement with Russia.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Aralık 2014, 12:12