54 crew members are missing from the capsized 326 ft South Korean trawler 501 ORYONG. Coast Guard Alaska Sector and five Good Samaritan vessels are assisting the Russian Kamchatka Border Guard Directorate (KBGD) in the search.
According to the KBGD, the crew was hauling in its catch of pollock when a wave hit and flooded the boat’s cargo holds. The vessel sank off the coast of Chukotka, Russia on November 30, 2014.
The crew included 35 Indonesians, 13 Filipinos, 11 South Koreans and one Russian inspector, the official said. Russian authorities said there were 62 people aboard the ship, which sank in the western part of the Bering Sea, near Russia.
The South Korean ministry official said it’s believed that the ship, which was catching pollock, began to list after stormy weather caused seawater to flood its storage areas. The official said the 2,100-ton ship was 35 years old.
The South Korean foreign ministry said it asked Russian officials to work quickly to rescue the other crew members.
Authorities in the Russian port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky said the rescued fishermen were well and would be taken to South Korea once the weather improves.
Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer 2nd Class Diana Honings said the KBGD requested U.S. assistance with the search on December 1. They reported that a Good Samaritan vessel had rescued seven people in a life raft, one person was confirmed dead, and 54 were missing. A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak Hercules airplane crew and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter MUNRO along with a Dolphin helicopter were sent to the scene Monday morning.
Weather on scene was reported as half-mile visibility with a 250-foot ceiling, 22-foot waves and water temperature at 57 degrees.