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  Owner of Amurskaya arrested

    Tuesday 6 November 2012

Tuesday, 06.Nov.2012, 15:28 (GMT+3)

The owner of the missing freighter Amurskaya has been arrested on suspicion of negligence leading to multiple deaths.

Investigators on Nov 5 has detained the owner of the "Amurskaya" which was believed lost with nine crew members on Oct 28 when an emergency radio distress beacon was triggered.

Alexander Shiltsin, the owner of Nikolayevsky-on-Amur seaport was arrested on suspicion of committing a crime.

Shiltsin was suspected of causing deaths through breaches of safety rules. The offence is carrying a maximum prison sentence of seven years, and Shiltsin was expected to be held behind bars pending trial.

The ship had technical problems, did not take the stormy conditions into account and left port without permission.

It also had too few crew members and was overloaded with 700-750 tonnes of gold ore. Experts estimated the value of the ore at more than US$230,000 (RM704,306),

A hulk has been found on the seabed that was believed to be the missing ship after an unsuccessful air and sea rescue operation east of the Khabarovsk region and north of Japan’s Hokkaido Island.

A rescue ship found an "underwater object and a light emission of fuel on the sea surface," the Federal Sea and River Transport agency said, while it was not yet clear whether it was the "Amurskaya" as the weather still was too bad to send down divers.

Police confirmed the owner’s arrest

Police in Komsomolsk-on-Amur said early Tuesday that they had arrested the CEO of the Nikolayevsk-on-Amur Sea Port, the company that owns the missing vessel.

The unnamed manager is expected to be charged with violations of maritime safety rules leading to two or more deaths.

The charges carry a sentence of up to seven years in jail.The Amurskaya freighter was carrying a cargo of 700 tons of gold ore when it went missing near the Shantar Islands in the Sea of Okhotsk on October 28.

All nine crew members are still missing.Rescuers said Monday that they believed they had located the missing vessel in shallow waters near its last known location, but a diving expedition to conduct a closer inspection had to be postponed because of deteriorating weather.

An officer on the rescue tug at the scene said divers would try to reach the submerged object again on Wednesday, Interfax reported.An Emergency Situations Ministry aircraft searching the area of the suspected wreck returned to base after failing to find any survivors Tuesday.

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