VLADIVOSTOK, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russian
rescuers have called a halt to the search for eight crewmembers
from a Chinese cargo ship which sank off Russia's Pacific
Coast, a spokesman for the Vladivostok rescue center said on
"The Lazurit rescue boat is returning to its base," the
spokesman said. "During the search neither the bodies of the
crewmembers or any traces of the vessel were found."
The New Star, owned by a Hong Kong based company,
disappeared from radar screens in the Sea of Japan 80
kilometers (50 miles) from the port of Nakhodka in the Primorye
Territory during a storm on Sunday. The ship had earlier been
chased by two Russian coast guard vessels, but refused to stop
despite being fired on.
The ship issued a distress signal when the vessel started
to take on water during the storm on Sunday, and 16 crew
members, all of them Indonesian or Chinese nationals, got into
two lifeboats. Half of them were picked up by a Russian vessel,
but an attempt to save the other eight sailors failed when they
were washed out to sea.
The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Primorye Territory
Federal Security Service (FSB) department have said the captain
of the vessel was to blame for the tragedy.