Blazing Russian ship doesn't threaten environment, experts say

Russia's Pollux refrigerator ship (home port, Vladivostok) has been burning for more than two days in the Okhotsk Sea.

Talking to RIA Novosti today, officials at the Vladivostok rescue-and-coordination center noted that the Pollux was located some 250 miles from cape Elizabeth, i.e. the northernmost point of Sakhalin island.

This refrigerator ship's 25-degree list continues to increase. Meanwhile the Predanny (Devoted) ocean-going ship, which is rushing to the rescue, would be expected to arrive at the scene already this evening.

The Pollux caught fire December 18, sending out a distress signal at 11.40 a.m. Moscow time.

The Tropic and Tropic-2 trawlers moved in to aid the stricken ship, with their crews trying to put out the blaze, which by then had engulfed the upper-deck superstructure.

The situation began to go out of control in the early hours of December 19; consequently, the entire Pollux crew was taken aboard the Aniwa trawler from Sakhalin.

The crews of two fishing trawlers continued to fight the fire throughout December 19. Two diesel generators also operate aboard the Pollux, thus draining its fuel tanks.

Experts believe that the burning ship's fuel reserve has now been virtually depleted; consequently, all possible environmental hazards have been minimized.

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