Russian Ship Carrying 700 Tons Of Gold Ore Goes Missing

A Russian cargo ship like the one that went missingA Russian cargo ship carrying more than 700 tons of gold ore has gone missing off the country’s Pacific Coast after sending a distress call a few days back. The ship, which is named “Amurskaya,” had a crew of nine aboard at the time and was headed for the island of Feklistov in the Sea of Okhotsk.

The cargo vessel was contracted by a mining company called Polymetal to ship its cargo to a processing plant where it could be refined into gold. It had departed the port of Kiran and was making a routine run to Feklistov Island when apparently it encountered stormy weather. Emergency response teams picked up the distress signal from an automated beacon, but lost contact with the crew when the ship lost power. Since then, search and rescue teams have been combing the area, but continued poor weather has complicated those efforts.

As for the value of all of that gold ore, gold actually only makes up a small fraction of the material in the ore, with rock and other minerals being much more abundant. In order to extract the precious metal, the ore must first go through a refining process. As a result, 700 tons of gold ore sounds like it would be worth a lot more than it actually is. Bloomberg Business estimates that this shipment was worth about $800,000 and that its loss won’t have a substantial impact on Polymetal’s bottom line.

Polymetal hasn’t released their own estimate of the value of the ore, although they have said the responsibility for the cargo lies with the shipping company. In short, that means the owners of the missing freighter will likely have to reimburse them for the loss.

I’m not sure if insurance will cover something like this, as the storm probably activates their “Act of God” clauses.

[Photo credit: Heb via WikiMedia]