The General Azi Aslanov oil tanker was hit by an explosion in the Sea of Azov and a rescue mission was underway for three missing crew members on Saturday, officials said.
Although there was no fire, post the explosion, a spokesperson said “There was no fire after the blast. But the blast was powerful enough to tear part of the metal inside out.”
The explosion on the General Azi Aslanov happened when the tanker was en route from the port of Kavkaz to the port of Rostov-on-Don, without a cargo, said the Russian Emergencies Ministry. Authorities have informed that among the 13 members of the tanker 10 have been rescued, while the remaining three were believed to have been thrown overboard by the blast, their search is still underway. Three rescue vessels were heading to the site for the same. The tanker has tilted and efforts to stabilize the ship were in progress.
The cause of the emergency is being investigated, it is suspected that as the tanker wasn’t loaded, the explosion may have been triggered by flammable vapours left behind from the tanker’s previous cargo. Safety violations and hot work might have caused the explosion, a source from the emergency services told TASS earlier.