Russian authorities have reported that at least eleven people have died Monday after burned two ships with the Tanzanian flag in the Strait of Kerch, the pass that connects the seas Black and Azov and in last November the capture of a Ukrainian flotilla on the part of Russia unleashed an escalation of tension between both countries.
The boats had a total of 31 crew members, of whom 16 were Turks and 15 Indians, according to the Russian Ministry of Transport. The incident has also caused several injuries, according to the same source.
Several sailors jumped overboard and suffered from burns of varying severity and symptoms of frostbite, local media reported. It is unknown what caused the fires, but the authorities speculate that the fire was generated during the pumping of fuel between both boats.
“At this moment we know that ten people have died and another fourteen have been rescued, we do not know the fate of seven other sailors,” the Federal Maritime and Fluvial Transport Agency said in a statement.
The ships transported liquefied gas and were anchored in international waters when the accident took place. A source told Reuters that the weather conditions were adverse when the incident occurred.
In total, seven Russian ships are involved in the rescue work, which takes place between the Crimean peninsula and mainland Russia.