Russia’s transport ministry has confirmed that ten crew members have died, and 14 others have been rescued, after two ships caught fire off Crimea in the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea.
Both of the vessels – Candyand Maestro, – were under the Tanzanian flag and had a combined total of 31 crew members – 16 of whom were Turkish and 15 from India.
One of the ships was a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier and the other was a tanker.
It’s reported that there were stormy conditions at the time of the incident and that the blaze erupted while fuel was being pumped from one vessel to another.
A search is still underway for the seven missing crew members.
The survivors managed to escape the burning ships by jumping into the sea.
The severe weather prevented rescue ships from taking victims to the shore for medical treatment.
The Kerch Strait is a key waterway that holds strategic importance for both Russia and Ukraine. It is an important economic lifeline for Ukraine that allows ships leaving the port city of Mariupol to access the Black Sea.