Two ships carrying crew members from India and Turkey caught fire in the Kerch Strait separating Crimea from Russia. According to media reports, at least 11 people lost their lives in the
mishap. The fire broke out on Monday off Russia's territorial waters. Both vessels were flying Tanzanian flags. One of them was a liquefied natural gas carrier and another one was a tanker.
Russian news agency Tass said the fire broke out as the two ships were transferring fuel from one to the other. One of the ships, the Candy, had a 17-member crew, including nine Turkish citizens and eight Indian nationals. "The other one, the Maestro, had 15-member crew, including seven Turkish nationals, seven Indian citizens and an intern from Libya," it quoted maritime authority as saying.
Russian Maritime Agency was quoted by RT news, a Russian television network that at least 11 sailors have died. "Presumably, an explosion occurred (on one of the vessels). Then the fire spread to another vessel. A rescue tug is en route," said a spokesman for the Russian Maritime Agency.
Some three dozen sailors managed to escape the burning ships by jumping off the vessels. Twelve persons have so far been rescued from the sea. Nine sailors are still listed as missing, the spokesperson added.