Owner of Missing Cargo Ship with 700 Tons of Gold Ore Arrested

Mike Schuler
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November 6, 2012

The owner of a Russian cargo ship that went missing last week with 9 crew members and 700 tons of gold ore in the Sea of Okhotsk has been arrested, the Russian media is reporting.

According to the Moscow Times, the CEO of the Nikolayevsk-on-Amur Sea Port, the company that owns the missing M/V Amurskaya, has been arrested on suspicion of negligence leading to multiple deaths relating to the vessel’s disappearance. Russia’s RBC Daily reports that the ship apparently left the port of Kiran without authorization documents, was loaded past its maximum capacity of 611 tons, and was not designed for carrying bulk cargoes.

As gCaptain reported last week, the cargo ship went missing during a storm in the Sea of Okhotsk while ferrying about 700 tons of golden ore belonging to Polymetal International Plc, a Russian gold miner on London’s FTSE 100 index.

Prior to the vessel’s disappearance on October 8th, the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Sea Rescue Coordination Center picked up a distress at approximately 05:15 GMT but rescue efforts failed to turn up any signs of the missing vessel. All nine crew members are still missing.

The vessel was carrying ore mined at the Avlayakan deposit, St. Petersburg-based Polymetal said in an e-mailed statement last this week.

“Responsibility for the cargo lies with the freight carrier,” according to the statement. The 700 tons of gold ore cargo has been valued  at an estimated $800,000.

Rescuers may have caught a break on Monday with reports indicating that they have located a large object in shallow waters where it is believed that the Amurskaya went missing but further inspection of the object has been postponed due to bad weather.

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