Volga Ferry Boat Accident Claims Lives of Children

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 23:38 PM EDT, 12 July 2011

VOLGA RIVER, Russia – 83 people are presumed drowned in Russia’s Volga river after a ferry-boat accident this past Sunday.

To date the divers have retrieved the bodies of 16 children, 51 women and 16 men but many bodies remain trapped in the wreckage according to divers. 79 passengers were rescued by a passing riverboat just before the ferry sank beneath the surface. This tragedy is the latest international ferry accident with passenger deaths.

On July 7th a ferry sunk in Bangladesh killing 8 passengers after colliding with an oil tanker.  The accident appeared to be the result of human error.

The cause of the sinking of the ‘Bulgaria’, the name of the Volga ferry, has not been determined but improper safety procedures, maintenance and certification seem to be a contributory cause. The ferry was carrying 208 passengers which is 75 percent more than the 120 the boat was designed to transport.  Of these passengers, 50 were children who had gathered in the entertainment area of the ferry just before it sank.

Divers have retrieved the bodies floating in the river but claim to have seen the bodies of children trapped in the wreckage. A salvage mission to raise the boat from the bottom is scheduled for later this week.

The operators of the Volga ferry were not licensed to provide tour services.  Corruption and graft are suspected in this company’s ability to continue to operate. Oleg Moseev, spokesman for the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, Rosturism is quoted as saying ‘neither the AgroRechTur company that held the lease of the Bulgaria, nor the Intur-Volga travel agency that sold the cruise tickets were listed in the Unified Russian Federal Roster of Tour Operators and that neither company was therefore insured.’

The statement appeared to be an attempt by the government to distance itself from any culpability in the matter. Russia declared today a nationwide day of mourning and memorial services will be held in all Russian Orthodox churches.

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About Ayanna Nahmias

Ayanna Nahmias was interviewed on Radio Netherlands Worldwide program titled 'The State We’re In,' about her life in Africa and her determination to transcend her past. She started the Nahmias Cipher Report to provide information to readers about life in emerging economies, and to provide alternative insight into the challenges faced by women and children living in these countries. The blog features stories from around the world to inspire other people to persevere and triumph in the face of great adversity. She blogs about current events in emerging economies, international politics, human rights abuses, women’s rights and child advocacy.

View all posts by Ayanna Nahmias

One Comment on “Volga Ferry Boat Accident Claims Lives of Children”

  1. Andrei Says:

    A very sad and awful tragedy. I do not understand the shock at lack of tour operator permits and licenses though. The way to do business in Russia and get “licenses” is not to actually get licenses, but to bribe the right people. The bribes start with an inspector or policeman…and money goes right up the ladder of government rank. I am sure this tour operator paid the “appopriate” bribes. I hope this tragedy will help reveal the depth and severity of corruption in Russia and create more transparent systems; systems that actually protect the public and do not just enrich the police and government ministers.

    Reply

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