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3 dead, 5 missing in shipwreck off Russia's east coast

(Xinhua)

09:55, December 26, 2011

MOSCOW, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- A Cambodia-flagged ship with eight people aboard sank early Sunday in a fierce storm, leaving three dead and five others missing, the Russian Emergencies Ministry said in a statement.

The ship "Ginga" sank in the La Perfuse Strait, which divides the southern part of the Russian island of Sakhalin from the northern part of the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The eight aboard the ship are five Russians and three Indonesians. Two of the three dead bodies were identified as Russian citizens with the other remaining unidentified.

According to the ministry, a joint search operation conducted by Russian and Japanese rescuers is underway.

"The Russian search and rescue group comprises the Atlas rescue vessel, the Ozersk refrigerator ship, the shipping boats Paliya and Zaliv Vasilyeva, and also a Mi-8 helicopter, while the Japanese team includes the REBUN patrol boat and a plane," the ministry said.

It added that the emergencies center in the Russian Far East received a distress call from the ship at 22:40 Moscow time (1840 GMT) on Saturday, when north-west winds of 14 meters per second were blowing in the area.

Itar-tass news agency said the ship, supposedly a fishing boat, was registered in Panama.

Last week, a Russian floating oil rig capsized and sank in the same water due to bad weather, leaving 17 people killed and 36 others missing.

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