11 die as ships with Indian, Turkish crews catch fire in Kerch Strait

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Moscow: At least 11 persons were killed when two ships carrying Indian, Turkish and Libyan crew members caught fire in Kerch Strait separating Crimea from Russia.

Media reports on Tuesday said fire broke out on Monday off Russia’s territorial waters. According to reports, both the vessels were flying Tanzanian flags.

While one ship was carrying  liquefied natural gas, the other vessel was a tanker. Fire broke out as the two ships were transferring fuel from one to the other.

The ships, the Candy, had a 17-member crew, including nine Turkish citizens and eight Indian nationals. The other vessel, the Maestro, had 15-member crew, including seven Turkish nationals and seven Indian citizens. It had an intern from Libya.

The Russian Maritime Agency said at least 11 sailors were killed in the fire tragedy.

Media reports said an explosion occurred on one of the vessels.

Reports said three dozen sailors managed to escape the burning ships by jumping off the vessels. Twelve persons have so far been rescued from the sea. Nine sailors are still missing.

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