Relatives, friends commemorate Russian fishermen lost in Barents Sea sinking

Seventeen crew are believed dead after the trawler Onega capsized while fishing near Novaya Zemlya.

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Families and friends paid tribute on Tuesday to fishermen from a Russian trawler that sank in the Barents Sea the day before.

In the Arctic city of Murmansk people laid flowers on a wooden raft which then was launched onto the water of the bay near a local ship graveyard.

The fishing trawler Onega capsized and sank in the freezing waters of the northern Barents Sea on Monday, with 17 of its 19 crew members feared dead.

[17 are feared dead as a Russian trawler sinks in Barents Sea]

The Emergency Situations Ministry attributed the sinking to a heavy build-up of ice on the trawler, which sank off the coast of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago.

It said two crew members had been rescued by another fishing boat in the area and that searches to try to recover the rest of the crew were ongoing.

A man places flowers during a commemoration ceremony for crew members of a fishing trawler that capsized and sank the day before in the waters of the northern Barents Sea, in Murmansk, Russia December 29, 2020. (Reuters stringer)

“Chances of survival in such conditions, even if someone was wearing a wetsuit, are practically zero,” a source familiar with the situation told the Interfax news agency, citing high winds, a storm, and an air temperature of around minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 Fahrenheit).

The Investigative Committee, the body that probes major crimes, said it was trying to determine whether the sinking was linked to violations of maritime safety regulations. It said all scenarios were under consideration.

Production by Tatiana Gomozova.