MV Bulgaria Sinks July 10 2011, M/V Bulgaria Sinks In Storm on Volga River 122 Dead 79 Rescued Near Syukeyevo
A disaster that never should have taken place, took the lives of 122 people aboard the Russian cruise ship MV Bulgaria when she sunk in less than eight minutes at 01:58 PM Moscow time (09:58 GMT) on July 10, 2011 on the Volga River near the village of Syukeyevo in the Kansko-Ustinovsky district of the Republic of Tatarstan during a storm.
Investigators say the ship left the port of Kazan at 11:15 Moscow time (07.15 GMT) Sunday July 10 listing to starboard with a broken port engine, after she had departed Bolgar on July 10 at 11:15 Moscow time (07.15 GMT) listing to the starboard which investigators say may have been due to sewage tanks not being emptied and fuel only in the starboard tanks.
Bulgaria’s captain, Alexander Ostrovsky, was reported to have gone down with his ship, staying in the control room until the end.
Viktor Filatov, a tug boat captain, who had worked with Ostrovsky said that Ostrovsky was running a great risk by braving stormy weather on the Volga Sunday night. He blamed the ship’s owner saying, “they are simply forcing you to set sail for a trip despite the weather conditions”, Filatov said.
Bulgaria, with a reported 201 people aboard, had life-rafts for 120 passengers, and two lifeboats for 36 crew, as well as 165 life-vests for adults and 12 for children, far short of the required lifesaving equipment required during the disaster. The ship was licensed for 120 aboard.
The death count stands at 122 dead, 79 rescued. Of the 35 crew members aboard, only 23 survived.
Two of the passengers, brothers Nikita Sabirov and Daniel Sabirov, both born in 2006, died during the sinking.
The Bulgaria’s radioman, Rinat Gabitdinov, said he was unable to send an S.O.S. message because the vessel had lost all power, including a generator that had shut down before water flooded the engine room.
Within 15 minutes of the Bulgaria was the passenger ship Arabella. Two cargo ships, Dunaisky 66 and the Arbat were also nearby. After some discussion between the three potential rescue ships, it was decided that the Arabella was best equipped to take on what was believed to be possibly 120 survivors. As well, she was the closest to the scene. The next closest ship, Dunaisky 66 was an hour away. The Arabella sailed to the scene and began the rescue operation, but before she arrived, the Bulgaria had already sunk in 65 feet of water.
After the sinking, the cargo ship captains Alexander Yegorov of the Dunaisky 66 and Yury Tuchin of the Arbat would come under fire by investigators for not coming to the aid of the Bulgaria.
Also charged in the sinking are the director of the tour agency that operated the Bulgaria and an official of the agency that registers river vessels.