WATCH: Russian rescuers airlift crew of stricken Sea of Japan cargo ship to safety despite high wind & waves

Follow RT on Russian emergency service workers have confirmed the 14-strong crew of a cargo ship that ran aground in the Sea of Japan has been successfully evacuated, after a rescue operation was mounted despite harsh weather conditions.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Ministry for Emergency Situations confirmed a team had landed on the deck of the Panama-flagged vessel from a Mi-8 helicopter and had recovered all of the sailors. “The operation took place in difficult weather with winds of 15 meters per second and waves up to three meters high,” officials said.

The cargo ship, ‘Rise Shine’, ran aground in the waters off Russia’s Far East coast, near the port city of Nakhodka. Footage shot from the scene and posted online showed the stricken vessel swaying as high waves beat down on it. Booms are now being set up to prevent fuel from spilling from the stranded vessel.

Emergency officials told TASS the ‘Rise Shine’ had been severely damaged after straying into shallower waters. “The engine room is flooded and there is a crack in the hull, but the fuel tanks are intact,” a spokesperson said. No Russian nationals were reportedly among the crew.

Last month, an elite squadron of Russian anti-terrorism troops boarded a cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria, after the crew reported it had come under attack by armed pirates en route to West Africa. An Udaloy-class destroyer, which had been assigned to anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Guinea, was called to the scene and chased off the assailants before specialist troops conducted a search mission.

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