Romania to help rescue ships sunk in Kerch Strait - overview

Weather

The Romanian Naval Authority responded on Tuesday to requests by Moscow to help rescue the ships sunk in Kerch Strait during a storm over the weekend.

The Russian naval authorities had asked for a 100-ton capacity floating crane in Kerch Strait to rescue the commercial ships sunk in the storm, said Adrian Alexe, director of Constanta Maritime Rescue Center. "We responded promptly, as usual in such a situation, and offered the Gigant crane of the Administration of Maritime Port Constanta," he said.

Several ships from Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia and Greece sank or ran aground in the severe storm that hit the Azov Sea basin on Sunday. At least three seamen were killed and five remained missing. It was reported that a Russian tanker spilled about 2,000 tons of oil. Experts say that the pollution caused by the spills could linger for years. (people.com)

Three bodies recovered after Kerch Strait storm
Rescue teams are searching for at least five seamen missing after a powerful storm hit the Kerch Strait between Russia and the Ukraine. The bodies of three others have been found and 35 men have been rescued. The weather has now improved sufficiently for the rescue operation to get underway. A big operation has also begun to clean up the oil spill in the Kerch Strait, caused by a tanker which was torn apart in the storm. It was carrying 4,000 tons of fuel oil. It is still not clear exactly how much has spilt into the sea. Two other oil tankers have been damaged in the storm, one is adrift. (abc)

In the early hours of Sunday, the Russian tanker Volgoneft-139, carrying 4,000 tons of black oil, fell apart due to storm damage, releasing up to 1,300 tons of black oil into the Kerch Strait. (Read the full story) Crew members remain on board, waiting to be rescued by helicopters. Despite efforts to contain the spill, there are concerns that the contamination will continue. Black oil from the tanker has already reached the Ukrainian shore.

Ukrainian and Russian authorities are working jointly to combat one of the worst environmental disasters in the area. According to latest reports, the length of the black oil spill has reached 12 kilometers (7.46 miles) long. Another vessel has spilled some 6,800 tons of sulfur into the Kerch Strait.

Large-scale wildlife losses are reported. One report puts the toll at 30,000 sea birds. It is estimated that as many are suffering. A total of four vessels have sunk due to stormy weather. Two more vessels carrying 8,000 tons of oil have run aground. 14 people are dead and 10 more are missing. (tap-the-talent) 

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