The fishing vessel Vostok, missing in the Sea of Japan, could have been caught in an emergency because of the presence of crab traps on board. This opinion was voiced in the Association of Fishery Enterprises of the Sakhalin Oblast. In 2017, changes in fishing regulations obliged seamen to take fishing structures out of the catch zone, which in case of icing could become an additional cargo and lead to shipwreck.
In 2017, the fishing regulations imposed a requirement to prohibit the presence of crab traps on water bodies outside the time limits of the catch permits. This obliged the fishermen to take the fishing gear with them before returning to shore. Prior to these innovations, all provisions allowed to leave traps in the sea while the ship delivers the cargo. The changes were proposed by the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service and supported by Rosrybolovstvo.
“To forbid” to leave crabs in the water bodies outside the terms of the permissions for the extraction (catch) of aquatic biological resources, except for cases associated with unfavorable conditions … “, the decision says.
The mere fact that the fishermen of the “East” had to take on board all the traps and then move towards the Tatar Strait in the presence of a strong northwesterly wind could aggravate the situation and lead to an emergency, according to the Association of Fishery Enterprises of the Sakhalin Region.
“In accordance with the changes in the fishing regulations approved in 2017, there are new mandatory requirements that do not allow leaving crab traps in the catch area at the time the vessel returns to shore. Their presence on board the “East” as an additional cargo in conjunction with the storm conditions could really aggravate the situation and prevent the fight for vitality. By themselves, the traps are very light and represent two hoops and a grid. Under normal weather conditions, these structures do not affect the stability of the vessel. However, if in the winter time to get into a storm, these voluminous devices, occupying a lot of space on the deck, will begin to freeze quickly, and then it will be much more difficult to chop the ice, “VL told the correspondent.
Inspector of the International Transport Workers Federation Petr Osichansky, commenting on the situation with Vostok, also said that at low temperatures and a storm, in addition to the superstructure of the ship, the cables and masts, everything that is on the deck is covered with ice, and therefore any additional cargo creates more problems.
The version about the incident with the fishing vessel because of the crab traps on board was commented by another sailor with experience, the chairman of the Far Eastern regional organization of the Russian Sailors’ Trade Union Nikolai Sukhanov from Nakhodka. The expert believes that the additional cargo does affect, but the main factor remains the human factor, in particular – the actions of the captain, who could steer the trawler in a safe direction – to the shores of North Korea.
“This is certainly an additional load, but I do not believe that the main cause of the incident is precisely the presence of crab traps on board. The threat of icing was present in these weather conditions. This should have been taken into account by the captain and crew of the vessel, who had information from their company and the meteorological office. Everyone knew that the air temperature was -16 ° C, and the water was +3 ° C. Because of this difference, condensate was created, accelerating the process of icing. Taking into account this information, the captain had to quickly abandon further navigation and move into a secluded bay. The best option for them would be to go to the DPRK, because with strong storms, no state will oppose that someone hides in their territorial waters. Therefore, the main reason is the failure to take urgent measures by the captain,
He also noted that on the verge of icing there were five more vessels, but their captains were more literate, having decided to change the course.
Vladivostok resident Igor Bessarab, who has experience working on fishing boats, including on the “crabs”, described in what conditions it is necessary to fight for the survivability of the vessel and what happens to it at the time of icing.
“When icing begins, the sailors have to save the ship with any improvised means. The crew members are tied with cables so as not to fall overboard, they grasp everything in their hands: shovels, crowbars, tools. They start to chop ice. In conditions of a storm, this may not bring the desired result, because while the crew is working and spending a lot of physical strength, the ship continues to swing, the water whips to the deck from all sides and freezes, complexity adds to what becomes very slippery on the ship. The case when I personally observed the icing of the vessel occurred during my transition from Seattle to Vladivostok in 1993 in the Pacific Ocean, south of the Bering Sea. Everything on the deck began to become covered with ice in a matter of minutes, then it was not ice chopping that helped us at all, but a change of course. ”
The interlocutor also agrees with previous views on the role of cargo weight on board. In particular, quite light crab traps are quickly covered with a thick layer of ice, which can increase the load and contribute to the overturning of the ship.
“If the Crab Traps were indeed laid on the deck of the East, they were already a stacked stack of 3-3.5 meters high, and in the case of icing it would have been a more massive ice block on the ship. In such conditions, because of strong waves, the danger of overturning is very likely, and in the sea it does not happen as in films, when it is possible to lower a raft or boat. In real life, this happens instantly, “the sailor said.
According to an employee of one of the fishing companies of Vladivostok, sailors could throw crab traps overboard in an extreme situation, but upon returning to the port they would have to report for each design.
“We always take away all the crab traps before leaving, these are the existing rules, since the captain keeps a record in the magazine. That is, there is strict control over each design that we take with us to fishing. As for force majeure situations, it is absolutely impossible to throw them overboard if the vessel has already left the fishing zone. Of course, when the ship is threatened with death, the captain of the trawler can make a similar decision. But in this case, upon returning to the port, he will still have to unsubscribe for a long time and prove with photos, as well as records in the ship and fishing magazines, that the conditions were really heavy and the dumping of the traps was forced to get rid of excess cargo and save the ship. It is likely that even if the captain and prove that he took urgent measures in an extreme situation,
Recall, the fishing vessel “Vostok” disappeared on January 25 in the Sea of Japan. The ship “Rescuer of Zaborschikov” and the motor ship “FESCO-Diomid” were engaged in searches for the sea, and also helped to search for fishermen and aviation of the Ministry for Emergency Situations from Khabarovsk and Krasnoyarsk regions. At the same time, none of the crew could be found, only two rafts were found on the surface of the water. After the termination of the rescue operation of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the shipowner undertook to pay the families of the missing fishermen 1.5 million rubles. Currently, the ship along with the crew is considered missing. According to the spouse of one of the missing seamen, on February 4 his mobile phone became available, but the Korean answering machine answers the calls.
Now the investigation is considering three versions of what happened: violation of the rules of navigation, technical malfunction of the vessel and weather conditions.
Source: Maritime News of Russia