A fishing trawler sank in the northern Barents Sea on Monday, the emergencies ministry said, and 17 people were feared dead off the coast of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago.
Rescue vessels were searching for survivors but only two people had been rescued out of a 19-member crew, the ministry said.
Authorities said an ice accumulation on the trawler had led to its sinking.
A source told Interfax said crew members had been washed over the trawler’s deck during a storm. TASS cited a source as saying the missing crew were feared dead.