SIMFEROPOL, January 23. /TASS/. A fire engulfing two ships in the Kerch Strait area has been going on for over 36 hours, ten crew members are still missing, the Russian Federal Agency of Maritime and River Transportation told TASS on Wednesday.
"The situation has not changed," an agency official said. "The two ships are still burning, the Spasatel Demidov vessel approaches them from time to time in order to throw water on them, but it cannot stay close to the fire all the time," he noted.
According to recent information, the blaze killed ten crew members, while 12 have been rescued. The search for the missing sailors is on.
A source in the Azov-Black Sea branch of the Maritime Rescue Service told TASS that attempts to extinguish the fire were failing because of burning LNG.
"Only LNG is burning at the moment. The fire engulfing parts of the ships has been extinguished but gas is coming out and burning, it is like a gas burner," the source said, adding that according to recent information, the Candy was carrying about 2,500 tonnes of LNG. There is no information about the amount of gas carried by the Maestro but the two ships are similar in size, so it might be the same.
Meanwhile, Crimean Human Rights Ombudsperson Lyudmila Lubina told TASS that the sailors injured in the blaze were receiving all necessary medical treatment.
According to earlier reports, 12 rescued sailors were taken to hospital in the city of Kerch.
Lubina added that border guards and consular workers were preparing documents for the sailors. "They are Turkish and Indian nationals. Border guards and consular services are working on documents so that they can return to their home countries," the ombudsperson said.
Ship fire incident
The Maestro and Candy ships flying the Tanzanian flag caught fire outside of Russian territorial waters on Monday. According to preliminary information, the fire erupted while fuel was being pumped from one vessel to another. The two ships had a total of 32 crew members, Turkish and Indian nationals. Turkey’s Milenyum Denizcilik Gemi company is believed to own both ships.