Moscow, Jan 22 (IANS) At least 10 people were killed in a fire that broke out on two ships, both carrying Indian crew, near the Kerch Strait that separates Crimea and Russia, emergency officials said. The victims have not been identified yet.
Preliminary information said the fire erupted on Monday night due to the failure of a pump being used to transfer fuel between the two vessels — Candy and Maestro — in violation of security regulations, reports Efe news.
According to Russia’s TASS news agency, Candy had a crew of 17 — eight Indian nationals and nine Turks. The Maestro carried seven Indians, seven Turks and an intern from Libya.
A spokesman from Russia’s Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport told TASS on Tuesday that 12 people had been rescued and there were no chances of finding any more survivors.
“The fire on ships continues… It will not be extinguished until all the gas burns out,” the spokesman said.
The Indian embassy in Moscow was in touch with the agencies in Russia to get more information and extend whatever help that may be necessary, the External Affairs Ministry said in Delhi.
The rescued sailors have not yet been brought to the shore because of bad weather, he added.
Both vessels were flying Tanzanian flags. One of them was a liquefied natural gas carrier and another one was a tanker, reports RT News.
Maritime traffic was not affected by the incident and navigation through the Kerch Strait is still open, the director of the Crimean Sea Ports said.