Ukraine`s transport and communications minister, Yosip Vinsky, has blamed owners of the shipwrecked Bulgarian cargo vessel Vanessa for the tragedy in the Azov Sea.

According to Vinsky, who is also a head of the Ukrainian commission dealing with the incident, business interests lay behind the shipwreck, as the vessel refused help twice in the beginning of the deadly storm on Thursday.

The owner of the ship probably decided to save money and ordered the crew to refuse the rescue operation, Vinsky said as cited by Itar Tass.

The minister also said that the crew were informed of the coming bad weather but despite the warning, the ship sailed off the Berdyansk port attempting to reach the Kerch Strait before the storm.

Vanessa, loaded with scrap metal, sank just about 22 nautical miles from the Gulf of Kerch.

Board Marine Burgas Company, which operates the ship, called the accusations "ridiculous" and pointed out that they did not have any information about a coming storm.

The company manager, Doichin Doichinov told reporters that he does not have a right to make decisions on behalf of the captain.

There are also no recorded messages from the navigation centre to the captain that called for return of the ship.

Captain Miroslav Kostadinov gave the SOS signal over the incident shortly after 2 a.m. calling for helicopters due to the seriousness of the situation.

Ukrainian rescuers continue to search for survivors as only mechanic Nikolay Dimitrov of the 11 crewmembers was saved on Thursday and two dead bodies were identified later.