|The oil rig "Kolskaya", prior to capsizing (Picture: France 24)|
|A view of some of the industry on Sakhalin Island|
|A map of Russia's Far East including the location of Sakhalin Island. The area is very cold but full of natural beauty. (Picture BBC. Also appears on Pavlas Family Blog)|
My husband and I were in Russia's Far East in 2001 throughout December. Although we never personally visited Sakhalin Island, members of our party did. The region of Russia's Far East and Sakhalin region are bitterly cold and unforgiving in Winter. Sakhalin Island can be a difficult place in which to make a living. It is therefore with sorrow that I report that the Kolskaya Oil Drilling Rig off Sakhalin capsized today, with 67 crew members aboard. The men of this rig were not there trying to become wealthy. They were there paying to support families and children, at difficult work in an environment which I can vouch for as inhospitable, particularly in the middle and end of December. Sakhalin is one of the most ethnically diverse places in Russia. The island itself has beautiful thick forests and many lakes as well. As of this moment, fourteen crew members have been rescued, and the remainder are missing. The conditions are such that hypothermia would set in very rapidly in such a circumstance. Tonight please pray for those families and those souls lost off Kolskaya, off Sakhalin Island.
UPDATE: Please see a 2013 post also on the subject of Sakhalin Island, Russia