MOSCOW: Up to 20 people were presumed dead off Russia-annexed Crimea in the Black Sea after a fire engulfed two ships sailing under the Tanzanian flag, authorities said Tuesday, reports AFP.
The fire broke out when one vessel was transferring fuel to the other on Monday, driving both crews to jump overboard.Russian authorities rescued 12 people and recovered 10 bodies, Alexei Kravchenko, spokesman for Russia’s Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport, told AFP.
The other 10 people were missing and most likely dead, he said.
“There is no hope of finding them alive,” Kravchenko said. “It is no longer a rescue operation.”
Three of those missing sank into the water “before rescue workers’ eyes” without life jackets, he said.
The ships, the Kandy and the Maestro, had crews from India and Turkey.
The Kandy had a 17-strong crew, while the Maestro carried 15.