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India in touch with Russia over deadly blaze on cargo ships in Black Sea

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India is in touch with Russian authorities following reports that some Indians were affected in a deadly blaze on two cargo ships in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait, officials said on Tuesday.

According to the Russian Maritime Agency overseeing the rescue operations, at least 10 sailors died in the incident on Monday while 12 were rescued and nine are still missing, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

Russian news agency TASS reported that the two Tanzanian-flagged cargo vessels ships had a total of 32 crew members and they were from Turkey and India.

Kumar said that the Indian embassy in Moscow was in constant touch with the concerned Russian agencies to get more information on Indian nationals affected in the incident and to extend necessary assistance.

“We have been informed that two ships caught fire while moving through the Kerch Strait after one of them was apparently rocked by an explosion on 21 January,” he said.

Tass said, according to preliminary information, that the fire erupted while fuel was being pumped from one vessel to another.

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