Progress of investigation of Bulgaria criminal case

Investigators have done a lot of work to establish all circumstances of 2011 wreck of a cruise ship Bulgaria. Within the framework of the inquiry investigators have carried out more than 1,000 interrogations of witnesses, victims and officials, about 30 searches and seizures and over 200 examinations. The examinations include integrated navigation and engineer and technical ones, forensic and trace, metallurgy, genomic, computer and a number of handwriting examinations.

Investigators have done all this meticulous work in order to establish casual-effect relation between unlawful actions and consequences. After careful analyses of examinations’ results and other evidence investigators have charged 5 people. Besides chief mate Ramil Khametov, the accused include the ship’s sub-lender Svetlana Inyakina, a senior expert of Kama branch of Russian river register Yakov Ivashov, and two officials of Volga Rostransnadzor Department Irik Timergazeyev and Vladislav Semyonov.

According to investigators, Inyakina, being a person obliged by her position to observe safety and operating rules of the passenger diesel-electric ship Bulgaria, operated the vessel with numerous technical failures. She employed the staff who had not taken any proper training and she did not arrange labour protection brief. In his turn, Ivashov unlawfully put in the official documents of the River Register incorrect and knowingly false information on technical condition and conformity of diesel-electric ship Bulgaria with the requirements of the Register, and gave the documents to the sub-lender Inyakina who thus was able to operate the technically unfit vessel. The officials of Rostransnadzor issued a testing certificate necessary for a passenger transportation certificate. Khametov, investigators believe, did not make sure that the portholes on the vessel were closed. According to investigators all this actions led to the tragedy and death of 122 people aboard Bulgaria. Depending on the part of each of the accused they are charged with several articles of the RF Criminal Code, including articles 238, 263, 143, 285 - rendering services which do not meet safety standards, violation of the rules for traffic safety and operation of water transportation system, violation of labor protection rules and abuse of official powers. These articles provide for a penalty of between 4 and 10 years in prison.

In May 2012 investigators announced that the investigation was finished and by now the victims have already completed to read the 90 volumes of the case. The five accused are still reading them and after they are finished the case will be sent to decide on approval of indictment and subsequent forwarding to court.

In addition, in 2011 investigators finished inquiry into and court heard criminal cases against captains of vessels Arbat and Dunaysky 66 Yury Tuchin and Alexander Yegorov who had seen people on life rafts hadn’t done enough to rescue them. They are sentenced to fines of 130 and 190 thousand rubles respectively.