At least 54 people have died after a Russian freezer trawler sank off the Kamchatka peninsula at Russia's eastern edge, an officer at a maritime rescue coordination centre in the area said.

Viktor Klepikov, coordinating captain of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky maritime rescue coordination centre, said that there were 132 people on board the Dalniy Vostok freezer trawler. He said 63 people had been rescued.

"All in all 106 people have been taken aboard the ships participating in the rescue operation," an officer on duty at the local maritime rescue coordination centre, Russian state news agency TASS reported earlier on Thursday. 

" Twenty-six fishing vessels are already involved in the operation". 

Drifting ice may have torn a hole in the vessel, the BBC reported, citing Russian emergency services. 

Water flooded the engine compartment and the trawler sank within 15 minutes.

The home port of the trawler, which was owned by Magellan LLC, was Nevelsk in Russia's Sakhalin region.

TASS reported earlier that there were 78 Russian nationals on board, as well as 54 foreign nationals from Myanmar, Ukraine, Lithuania and Vanuatu.