Estonian Maritime Administration to investigate sinking of Russian fishing vessel Pongoma

  • 2020-02-07
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Estonian Maritime Administration is to investigate the circumstances of the sinking of the Russian fishing vessel Pongoma in Estonian waters late on Thursday. 

"There will definitely be official proceedings as it concerns a severe shipping accident in Estonian waters," spokeswoman for the Maritime Administration Madle Puusepp told BNS, adding that the initial procedures will be determined shortly.

A Russian fishing vessel by the name of the Pongoma sank in Estonian coastal waters late on Thursday, all seven crew members on board were rescued. Involved in the rescue effort were units from both Estonia and Finland with one helicopter each.

"A Russian fishing trawler with seven people on board got into trouble 15 miles north of the Juminda peninsula at 11:40 p.m. on Thursday. The vessel requested assistance via radio and relayed its coordinates. According to the announcement, the ship was experiencing a steering failure, and had also lost electrical power. The vessel sank rapidly, however, the crew had managed to get in a life raft," Marge Kohtla from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board told BNS.

The Maritime Rescue Center alerted Estonian and Finnish fleets and air bases and contacted vessels in the vicinity of the Russian trawler.

The first to arrive on the accident site and pick up the crew was a tanker flying the Liberian flag, the Police and Border Guard said.

"A Finnish helicopter with paramedics on board took two injured crew members to a hospital in Helsinki and an Estonian helicopter transported five of them to the North Estonia Medical Center for a medical check," Kohtla said.

All members of the crew are citizens of the Russian Federation.

Based on a medical examination of the five crew members taken to the North Estonia Medical Center (PERH), it was determined that none of them required hospitalization, spokeswoman for PERH Hede Kerstin Luik told BNS.

Involved in the rescue effort were two vessels, a flight unit and helicopter of the Estonian Police and Border Guard as well as one helicopter, two rescue ships and two civilian vessels from Finland.