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Greece says 88 people on board Russia Navy SOS vessel

A Russian Navy vessel which earlier sent a call of distress from the Aegean Sea has 88 crew members on board, a spokesman for the Greek Mercantile Marine Ministry said on Monday.

"It has been confirmed that it is a Russian Navy vessel. It has 88 people on board," the spokesman said, adding that a relief operation was underway.

The distress call came at 8:36 a.m. GMT.

He also said that according to preliminary information no one on board the vessel was injured. The cause of the SOS signal may have been, he added, a possible mechanical failure. The boat is drifting about 13 nautical miles off the coast of Ikaria.

"The vessel needs to be towed away to the nearest port to fix a [possible] technical failure. We will need a large towboat for this," the spokesman said, adding that currently two Super Puma helicopters and a military C-130 aircraft of Greek Air Force were working at the scene and a Greek Navy frigate was on its way.

Captain First Rank Igor Dygalo, a spokesman for the Russian Navy, said that the vessel in distress was a floating repair workshop and had no weapons on board.

RIA Novosti

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