Russian scuba divers find shipwrecked Polymetal gold cargo
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian scuba divers have found a sunken cargo ship loaded with 700 tonnes of gold ore owned by Polymetal International Plc shipwrecked off Russia's Far East coast, the transport ministry said on Wednesday.
The dry-cargo freighter Amurskaya, whose cargo was worth an estimated $230,000, went missing early last month in the Okhotsk sea - one of the main routes for Russia to Asian markets.
The vessel, built in 1972, had a nine-member crew on board, but no bodies have been found in the wreckage, rescue workers said.
"Scuba divers investigated the sunken object - it is the Amurskaya freighter," the Transport Ministry cited state lifeguard services as saying in a statement. "We plan to continue work by penetrating inside the vessel."
The ship, operated by a company based in Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, left the Kiran Sea terminal on October 28 carrying ore from Polymetal's Avlayakan mine to be deliver at its Hakanja processing plant.
At current gold prices, the 700 tonnes of gold ore is worth about $230,000, analyst Sergey Donskoy at Societe Generale said. Each tonne of ore out of the Avlayakan mine contains about 6 grammes of gold.
The shipwrecked freighter was discovered on the sea bed at a depth of 25 metres (82 feet), where experts say it sunk after its cargo was displaced in roiling, high seas - swiftly capsizing the vessel.
"A ladder, the lack of people on the bridge, the open door to the room below the bridge deck and the lack of lifeboats on board confirms with a high likelihood that the crew attempted an emergency evacuation," the ministry statement said.
The director of the ship's operator is being investigated on charges of negligence for having sent the vessel out in bad weather and overloading it with gold ore.
(Reporting By Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Alison Birrane)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.
Trending On Reuters
Obama's India Visit
U.S. President Barack Obama weighed in on one of India's most sensitive topics as he wound up a visit, making a plea for freedom of religion to be upheld in a country where relations between Hindus and minorities have come under strain. Full Article | Video
Frenchman, American among those killed in Tripoli hotel attack - Libyan official. Full Article