Fourteen people were killed and five others have gone missing after two Tanzanian-flagged LPG tankers caught fire in the waters near Crimea on the evening of Monday, January 21 (local time).
An explosion reportedly occurred on one of the tankers and caused a fire, which then quickly spread to the other tanker. The two vessels were conducting a fuel transfer in the Kerch Strait between Russia and Ukraine at the time of the incident.
The crews of both ships jumped into the water to escape the blaze as Russian Maritime Agency vessels were despatched to the scene to conduct search and rescue (SAR) operations. Twelve crewmembers have been rescued as of 19:30 UTC on January 21.
Eleven individuals were found dead in the water and were recovered. Another three were initially found alive but died before they could be rescued, probably due to hypothermia, shock, or a combination of both.
Five other crewmembers remain missing as search operations continue.
Russia’s Transport Ministry have identified the two LPG tankers involved as Maestro and Venice. Both appear on the list of vessels flagged by the US Treasury Department for illegal petroleum shipments to Syria.
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