14 Jan 2009

Russian trawler sinking in Arctic

7:14 am on 14 January 2009

A Russian trawler is sinking in Arctic waters off northern Norway.

A Norwegian rescue official said on Tuesday 19 crew members have been picked up by another Russian vessel.

The crew took to the lifeboats before being rescued off the island of Bjoernoya in the Barents Sea by another Russian trawler in the vicinity.

Citing an official at the shipowner JSC Murmansk Trawlfleet, a Norwegian online news service, Nettavisen, reports that the captain of the Topaz had died and the vessel had sunk.

Rescue officials could not confirm that this.

Norway says two helicopters with medical personnel aboard were flying to the Russian vessel that picked up the men near Bjoernoya, the southernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago.

It was not clear what caused the shipwreck.