On Monday, December 28, Russian emergency services received notice that the trawler Onega sank suddenly in the Barents Sea off Novaya Zemlya.
According to local media, the conditions in the area at the time of the sinking include temperatures of about -20 degrees Fahrenheit and waves of about 13 feet in height.
In light of the incident, multiple response vessels were dispatched to locate survivors, including other fishing vessels belonging to the owner of the Onega.
Another nearby fishing vessel were able to locate and rescue two survivors. However, the remaining 17 are not expected to be found alive in the extreme cold. Factors complicating the search include rough surface conditions and the 24-hour darkness of the polar night.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Emergency Situations reported to TASS that "According to the preliminary data, there are no survivors apart from two rescued sailors. The frozen vessel sank instantly during a storm, leaving practically no chance for anyone to be saved in the freezing waters."
Currently, an investigation is taking place to understand the circumstances of the casualty, including an inquiry into whether any criminal violations of maritime safety regulations may have occurred.