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Safety violations, poorly trained crew to blame for Russian riverboat sinking that killed 122 [REPORT]

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August 16, 2011

swamp-barge-craneThe Russian Investigative Committee said Monday that numerous safety violations and a poorly trained crew are to blame for the July 10 sinking of the riverboat, Bulgaria, on the Volga River located in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan.  The overloaded boat quickly sank in a storm, killing 122 of the more than 200 people on board.

“The ship sank because it lost balance in the storm after water flowed into open portholes,” the news agency RIA Novosti quotes the report as saying.  According to law, all portholes must be closed before a vessel departs.  The investigation noted up to 38 portholes were found open during an inspection of the sunken ship.

The report also stated that the vessel was heavily overloaded on departure, and that the captain had failed to inform navigation traffic controllers of the cruise, despite a storm warning.

Now Tuesday, two senior transport inspectors have been arrested as a result. According to a report by RIA Novosti:

Irek Timergazeev and Vladislav Semyonov, senior river fleet inspectors from Volga department of the country’s transport watchdog Rostransnadzor, allowed the AgroRechTour company to carry passengers on the Bulgaria, despite the vessel lacking the appropriate license.

“The illegal actions of the Rostransnadzor employees are directly related to their grave consequences – the death of the 122 people,” spokesman Vladimir Markin said. Keep reading

Two people have already been charged in connection with the incident, the general director of the company that rented the cruise boat and the river fleet inspector who certified that the Bulgaria was fit to sail.

Photo via RIA Novosti

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