Russian rescue amid deadly blaze on two cargo ships off Crimea

Kalerkantho Online   

22 January, 2019 10:43 AM

Russian rescue amid deadly blaze on two cargo ships off Crimea

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At least 11 people have died in a fire involving two Tanzanian-flagged cargo vessels in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait, authorities say.

Russian rescuers are trying to reach sailors who jumped overboard. Fourteen people have so far been rescued, reports BBC.

One ship is a gas tanker, and the fire reportedly followed an explosion, which set the other vessel on fire. They were named as the Kandy (Venice), with a crew of 17 from Turkey and India, and Maestro, with 14 sailors.

The fire broke out when one vessel was transferring fuel to another, Russian maritime agency spokesman Alexei Kravchenko said, adding that this had then forced several crew members to jump overboard.

Rescue workers reportedly witnessed a further three people struggling in the water, who most likely had drowned. AFP news agency said that "no signal from either one of the two captains" had been received.

Authorities in the Crimean city of Kerch are now preparing to receive the victims. The crew members were sailing in "neutral waters" in the Black Sea when the incident occurred, authorities said.