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Search resumes for sailors missing in Kerch strait ship accident

Search resumes for sailors missing in Kerch strait ship accident
January 23
17:20 2019

MOSCOW: Russian authorities on Wednesday resumed search operation for sailors missing after two ships carrying Indian, Turkish and Libyan crew members caught fire in the Kerch Strait, where the blaze was still raging following the accident which killed 14 seafarers.

At least 14 people reported dead after the fire broke out on Monday off Russia’s territorial waters. A search for 10 others is ongoing in the Kerch Strait which separates Russia from Crimea.

Though there was no information from Russia and Crimea about the identities of those killed and missing, but Turkey said four of its nationals were killed, eight were rescued and four went missing after the fire.

Indian authorities earlier said the Indian embassy in Moscow was in constant touch with the concerned Russian agencies to get more information on Indian nationals affected in the incident and to extend necessary assistance.

Both vessels were flying Tanzanian flags. One of them was a liquefied natural gas carrier and another one was a tanker. The fire broke out as the two ships were transferring fuel from one to the other.

The search effort for sailors missing in the accident was resumed on Wednesday, the Russian Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport’s press service told TASS.

A local department of the maritime rescue service said that the Merkury tow boat, which brought the sailors to Crimea’s Kerch on Tuesday, was also returning to the accident scene.

“Merkury is heading to the fire scene, it will be involved in searching [for the sailors] and extinguishing the fire,” a spokesperson said.

A special vessel, Spasatel Demidov, is continuing the effort to put out the fire, which is still underway. The ships have not sunk because their important parts remain intact.

The condition of sailors who were rescued during a ship fire incident in the Kerch Strait causes no concern, head of Crimea’s Disaster Medicine and Ambulance Center Sergei Olefirenko told TASS on Wednesday.

“The rescued sailors are being treated at Kerch City Hospital. Their condition is fair, there are no signs of deterioration. There is no danger to their lives,” he said.

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, Russian news agency Tass quoted maritime authority as saying. PTI

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