The Onega fishing vessel sank in the Barents Sea off Novaya Zemlya, the press service of the Russian EMERCOM said on Monday, December 28.
There were 19 fishermen on board the sunken vessel.
Five rescue ships were sent to search for the fishermen. It is impossible to use aviation in the area of the tragedy due to bad weather conditions.
The rescued sailors saw the death of at least one of the crew members. The tragedy occurred in a heavy storm when the crew was lifting the net with the catch. All were wearing wetsuits, but no one had time to use the rescue equipment. The men were literally washed off the deck into the sea.
Seventeen people were killed. A criminal case has been initiated under Part 3 of Article 263 of the Criminal Code ("Violation of traffic safety rules and the operation of railway, air, sea and inland water transport and metro"), the press service of the Arkhangelsk Investigation Department on Transport of the North-West Investigative Department committee of Russia said.
There is no captain among the rescued sailors. Only two men have been saved - a sailor and a mate. "There is no connection with the others," a source at the EMERCOM told TASS.
The rescued fishermen are Russian citizens. The Onega fishing boat departmed from Kirkenes two weeks ago. The vessel, which was traveling under the Russian flag, was heading to the port of Murmansk.
The Onega was a 208-ton fishing vessel built in 1979. The ship is 39.5 meters long and 7.7 meters wide.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to relatives of the sailors who were killed in the sinking of the Onega fishing vessel in the Barents Sea, the message posted on the website of the Kremlin said.
"I learned with sorrow about the tragedy in the Barents Sea, which claimed the lives of the crew members of the Onega fishing vessel. Please pass my deep condolences to the families of the victims and words of support to survivors," the head of state said in a telegram addressed to the Governor of the Murmansk Region, Andrey Chibis.
Three warships that set off on a mission from the Baltic Sea attracted close attention of the United States