"We have recovered the bodies of 54 victims. Sixty-three crew members have been rescued alive," Russian news agency reported, saying that 15 sailors were still missing.

The Dalniy Vostok sank off the coast of Kamchatka, 250 kilometres south of Magadan, the main town in the sparsely populated region in Russia's Far East.

An officer from the local maritime rescue coordination centre told TASS that 78 Russians were on board the vessel and at least 40 people from Myanmar, as well as other nationals from Ukraine, Lithuania and Vanuatu.

The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations did not respond when contacted by AFP.


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