Russia: Two Mariners from Tamil Nadu are reported missing after a fire broke out during fuel transfer from one vessel to another vessel in a risky operation on Monday in Kerch Strait.
The Kerch Strait separates Crimea from Russia and is a key waterway for both Russia and Ukraine for its trade, TN reports.
The incident is reported to have occurred when a bunkering fuel was being transferred from one ship to another.
This is usually done when they do not have access to a port for loading due to low draft in its channel.
One of the vessel’s was is reported to have been an LNG ( liquefied natural gas) carrier while the other one was a product tanker and both the vessels were under Tanzanian flags.
The vessel LNG Candy had a 17-member crew on board which included nine Turkish citizens and eight Indian nationals and the other MT Maestro.
The other vessel had a 15-member crew which had seven Turkish nationals and eight Indians.
As per the reports received from the Russian maritime agencies, out of the total 31 crew members from both the vessels, only 11 people were rescued so far with 10 crew members declared dead while another 10 crew members are still missing.
Earlier on Monday, the ministry informed the crew members jumped into the waters to escape the blaze in which the two mariners from Tamilnadu – one Sebastian Brito from Kanyakumari and the second Avinash – a junior marine engineer from Pattukotta are reported to have gone missing.
Mariner Avinash had studied in Coimbatore Marine college and this was his first voyage.
Avinashi’s father, CRPF personnel working in Jharkhand has requested the Indian Maritime officials for further assistance in the rescue operation for his missing son.
Indian Maritime authorities said that the Indian embassy in Moscow was in constant touch with the concerned Russian maritime agencies to get more information on Indian crew members caught in the disaster.
The Russian Maritime agencies have assured Indian Authorities for assistance in the rescue mission.
The missing crew’s parents have also requested that the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) for immediately necessary action in the matter.