Moscow: A Russian cargo vessel, the Amurskaya, went missing on Sunday in the Sea of Okhotsk with 700 metric tonnes of gold ore, the Far Eastern transportation supervising department said in a statement on Monday.

"The bulk freighter was en route from the port Kiran to the port of Okhotsk with a cargo of gold ore weighing 700 tonnes. There supposedly was a crew of nine people," the statement said. The number of people on board of the missing vessel differs according to various sources as earlier media reports said there were 11 crew members, while the emergencies ministry puts the number at eight.

An emergency beacon sent a call of distress at 8.15 a.m. near the Shantar islands in the southwestern portion of the Sea of Okhotsk. The tanker Novik, which arrived at the scene of the beacon's distress call, did not discover the vessel.

The Novik, accompanied by an amphibious Beriev Be-200 aircraft, continued the search operation, which is complicated by stormy weather conditions.


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