The fire on the tankers Maestro and Candy was not fully put out by Friday morning, and the ships stopped drifting, the Azov-Black Sea Branch of the Maritime Rescue Service told TASS.
A rescue source answered in the affirmative, when asked about whether the tankers are still on fire. The vessels’ location has not changed, he said. On January 23-24, they started drifting, but then they either stopped themselves or were halted by rescue vessels.
The source added that rescuers plan to board the Candy on Friday morning to assess its condition and try to drop anchor. That said, the process of work will depend on weather conditions and the level of danger the rescuers involved in the operation face.
The press service of the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport told TASS on Friday that the vessels involved in the search operation for the deceased in the fire onboard the tankers in the Black Sea were released, and passing vessels and on duty rescue tugs located near the tankers, and aircraft, are carrying out the search operation.
"The search operation is being carried out by passing vessels and on duty rescue ships located in this area. The deployed vessels were released. Yesterday several aerial vehicles were in operation, the Emergencies Ministry’s Mi-8 and An-26, and an unmanned aerial vehicles from the Black Sea Fleet operated in the first half of the day. Today, they may be involved as well," the source said.
"The fire became less intense" on both tankers, he said. He has no precise information on the list of vessels, save that "it considerably increased." The source specified that the wind in the accident area is about 9 m/s, and the waves are up to 1.5 meters.
The vessels burning in the Black Sea
According to preliminary information, the incident occurred on January 21 when one vessel was loading fuel to the other. There were 17 people on board the Candy, including nine Turks and eight Indians, and 15 people onboard the Maestro, including Turkish and Indian citizens. First responders rescued 12 people, recovered 10 bodies, meanwhile a search operation for 10 sailors continues.
According to the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport, while drifting, the vessels moved toward the Crimean Peninsula. The tankers were also reportedly located outside Russia’s territorial waters: about 70 km away from the village of Yakovenko, Crimea’s closes point; 90 km away from the entry to the Kerch Strait; and about 100 km away from the Taman Peninsula.