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Search for semi-submerged Russian ship begins in Tatar Strait

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, August 7 (Itar-Tass) - Search for a semi-submerged Russian ship, the Kapella, began in the Tatar Strait near the Sakhalin port city of Nevelsk early on Monday.

The tugboat Topaz, arriving from Vladivostok, conducts the search. Late on Thursday, the Kapella collided with an Italian ship, got a hole of about five square meters, listed to port but did not sink.

According to the sea rescue center in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, its board is rising four meters above the water level. The Kapella presents major threat for the navigation in the north of the Sea of Japan, and rescuers keep sending warning signals to ships.

The collision happened late at night on August 3 near the Japanese Hokkaido Island. Sixteen crewmembers had to evacuate onboard rafts. The Sokolovka trawler registered in the Khabarovsk territory took the sailors aboard and brought them to Hokkaido.

The vessel, which is gliding on water on its left side, has drifted to a distance of over 50 nautical miles. Experts say it is floating towards Nevelsk, about 15 miles away from the Sakhalin shore. The vessel is 71 meters long and has the cargo lifting capacity of 1,300 tons, the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk rescue center said.

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