Fires on two LPG carriers that reportedly started during a ship-to-ship fuel transfer are still burning off the coast of Crimea.
The blaze was first reported 21 January, with statements attributed to the Russian Ministry of Transport and the Russian Federal Agency for Sea and Inland Water Transport saying a blast during a fuel transfer between the 4,400-dwt LPG tanker Venice (also reported under the name Candy) and the 4,800-dwt LPG tanker Maestro started fires on both vessels.
Early statements from crew cited a failed earthing system and sparks from transfer pump motors as potential causes for the fires, according to news reports. However, details surrounding the incident are unconfirmed and investigations into the incident are ongoing.
Of the 32 crew reported to have been on board the two vessels, Russian news agency TASS said first responders rescued 12 people and recovered 10 bodies. A search operation for 10 sailors continues.
TASS cited a report from the Federal Agency for Sea and Inland Water Transport which said the LPG carriers had drifted over recent days and then stopped outside Russia’s territorial waters, about 70 km off the Crimean coast and 90 km from the entry to the Kerch Strait.