Two ships catch fire off Russia 11 dead

Two ships caught fire in the Kerch Strait that separates Crimea from Russia. These ships were carrying Indian, Turkish and Libyan crew members, about 11 people have died.

The fire broke out on Monday off Russia’s territorial waters. Both these vessels were flying Tanzanian flags. One vessel was carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the another vessel was a tanker. The fire lit while they were transferring fuel from one to the other.

One of the vessel called Candy, had a 17 crew members which included nine Turkish citizens and eight Indian citizens.

The other vessel called Maestro, was a 15 member crew, which included seven Turkish nationals and seven Indian citizens and an intern from Libya.

Russian media reported that 11 sailors died.

Some sailors escaped the burning ships by jumping off the vessels. Twelve people were rescued from the sea so far and nine sailors are missing.

The severe weather conditions at sea prevented these rescue ships from taking victims to the shore for medical treatment.

The Kerch Strait holds strategic importance for both Russia and Ukraine. Its an important economic lifeline for Ukraine that allows ships leaving the port city of Mariupol to access the Black Sea. Also its the closest point of access for Russia to Crimea.