Workers sort salmon, brought from a fish farm in the Barents Sea, at a processing factory in the Arctic port of Murmansk,…
FILE - Workers sort salmon, brought from a fish farm in the Barents Sea, at a processing factory in the Arctic port of Murmansk, Russia, Aug. 3, 2017.

Seventeen people are missing and presumed dead after a Russian fishing boat sank in the northern Barents Sea Monday morning, authorities said in a statement carried by local media. 

"The crew consisted of 19 people. Two people were rescued," the Russian Emergency Ministry said. 

Officials believe that ice accumulation on the trawler caused the accident. 

The privately owned ship Onega, based in Murmansk, capsized and sank near the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Barents Sea. 

Four vessels have been deployed for a search and rescue operation in the area and a criminal investigation is already underway.    

The Russian-flagged fishing boat had been in operation since 1979.