The “Kolskaya” drilling rig with 67 people aboard was being towed in a severe storm when it overturned and sank some 200 km off the Sakhalin Island in December 2011. The waves were 5-6 meters high and the water temperature around 1°C.
53 people died in the accident, making it the largest in the history of the Russian oil and gas sector. 14 people were rescued. At least 32 of the crew of 67 came from the Murmansk region.
A court in Murmansk has now declared all the 24 people whose body has never been found, as dead, the rig’s owner Arktigmorneftegazrazvedka (AMNGR) writes on its web site.
The court’s decision means that the relatives of the 24 missing persons will get compensation from AMNGR, like the relatives of those who have been found, has received.
The Deputy Director of AMNGR was fired in March 2012 after prosecutors found that several mistakes were made during the towing operation. An investigation report concluded that AMNGR failed to evacuate non-essential personnel from the rig before towing; the captain changed the route without giving notice to AMNGR; distress signal was sent out too late and the icebreaker failed to come to rescue in time.