Sailors killed as ships catch fire in Black Sea

Sailors killed as ships catch fire in Black Sea

Two commercial vessels have caught fire in the Black Sea, leaving at least 14 sailors dead and five missing, Russian officials said.

The blaze erupted while fuel was being pumped from one vessel to another, the Federal Agency for the Sea and River Transport said.

The fire spread from one ship to the other, prompting their crews to jump overboard, according to Russian news agencies.

They quoted the federal maritime agency as saying that the two Tanzanian-flagged vessels had a total number of 31 crew members, citizens of Turkey and India.

Salvage teams have rescued 12 crew members and recovered 11 bodies, the maritime agency said, adding that the search for the five missing sailors is continuing.

The fire erupted while the two vessels, the Maestro and the Candiy, were near the Kerch Strait linking the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

The Russian navy has joined the rescue operation, deploying two ships.

- Press Association

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