Sailor from "Dalny Vostok" trawler told about shipwreck and sailors from Myanmar

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A member of the "Dalny Vostok" trawler crew tells about the wreck

Evgeny Vitrikus, one of the sailors who were aboard the sunken trawler "Dalny Vostok", told that before going to the Sea of Okhotsk, the ship had called at the port in South Korean, where sailors from Myanmar came on board.

"We took the sailors from Myanmar aboard in South Korea. They were loading up the ship with all the necessary before going to the Sea of Okhotsk, so they knew what was on board and where, including immersion suites," the 22-year-old rescued sailor said to "Interfax".

He noted that the trawler with a crew of 132 people had about 90 suits.

"We didn`t know where the suits were. They didn`t even show where they were. I was sleeping when the ship began to sink. Screams woke me up. I rushed out of the cabin into the corridor, the Burmese (Myanmar citizens – ed.) were already there. They all had immersion suites on, but I wouldn`t find one," told the sailor.

According to him, there was no alarm. "By that moment, the ship had already been sitting on its left. I saw a suite in the water, in the flooded part of the trawler. I managed to put it on," said Vitrikus.

He noted that he had heard the people who couldn`t get out of their cabins crying and asking for help through the portholes. "I heard the captain asking for help. But I couldn`t find him. It was terrible, people were drowning. Everything was happening like in the "Titanic" movie. "The trawler was going under for about 30 minutes. The machines worked to the last, and then the light went out. I jumped into the water," said the sailor.

According to him, a few minutes later the trawler stood up like a candle, and sank to the bottom.

"The help came after two and a half hours. I was exhausted. I didn`t feel my legs because of the cold. The wave hit me against the board of the approaching vessel "Victoria-1". I remember nothing what happened after. The people told me that when they raised me out of water, they thought I was dead. My heart stopped. The physician on shipboard saved me," said Vitrikus.

The sailor also said that he spoke with the fishermen from Myanmar. "We were speaking English. The attitude to them was inhuman; they were paid $200 a month. And this is despite the fact that they had to pay to get on board the trawler. They told me that. The Russian sailors earned $ 1-1.5 thd. a month," said the survivor.

He also said that the crew quarters of the ship were rearranged to accommodate more workers. "Initially, the ship was designed for 96 people living there. But it was rearranged in the way to accommodate more than 130," explained Vitrikus.

According to him, the Russian sailors lived by three in the double cabins, and the sailors from Myanmar lived by 15 in the five-berth cabins.

He confirmed that the fuel tanks on board were empty. "We didn`t want to spend our time for refueling. We wanted to catch much fish faster and come back. And you know what happened," said the sailor. The survivor said he didn`t know whether the crew were insured.

"I`ll never go to sea again," he concluded.

Wreck in Okhotsk Sea

The Large autonomous freezer trawler "Dalny Vostok", registered in the Sakhalin port of Nevelsk, sank in the Sea of Okhotsk 300 km south of Magadan on the night of April 2.

There were 132 people aboard, including 78 Russians and 54 foreigners - citizens of Ukraine, Latvia, Vanuatu and Myanmar. Most of the sailors on board the trawler were from Myanmar - 44 people.

63 people were rescued, 56 died. The fate of 13 people remains unknown; they are being searched at the moment.

Text and pictures by INTERFAX.RU