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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ship Carrying Gold Ore Goes Missing in Far East

The Amurskaya freighter, carrying 700 tons ofgold ore andup to nine crew members, has gone missing inthe Sea ofOkhotsk inthe Far East, officials said Monday.

Theship triggered anemergency beacon around 2:50 p.m. Sundaythen disappeared fromradars, far eastern transportation prosecutors said in a statement.

Theship was bound forthe Khabarovsk region port ofOkhotsk and wastraveling near theShantar Islands when it vanished.

The freighter's cargo, which belonged to Russian gold producer Polymetal, was worth more than $230,000, the Prime news agency reported.

Authorities have set up ahotline forthe relatives of the crew members on board: +7 (42135) 2-24-84.

It is still unclear how many people were on board. Local emergency officials say there were eight crew members, while the prosecutors say there were nine. In earlier reports, the ship was misidentified as a motorboat with 11 crew members.

On Monday, atanker andtwo trawlers were searching forthe ship along with aspecial Emergency Situations Ministry plane. But thesearch was hampered byrain, gales, low-hanging clouds andwaves, thenews agency said, citing thelocal branch ofthe ministry.

ABe-200 plane with rescue workers was onstandby inKhabarovsk, while aMi-8 helicopter belonging toa local airline was also ready tojoin therescue operation when theweather improved.

"The search operation continues with thehelp ofthree ships. Besides that, theinspection of15 kilometers ofshoreline is planned," theministry said ina statement carried byInterfax.

"It's not clear whether the ship has sunk. In fall, storms and mist are frequent, and the vessel could have docked at some small bay on its way," a Khabarovsk region government spokesman told the Prime agency.

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