A Russian tanker, the General Azi Aslanov, has caught fire, with two explosions subsequently occurring in its oil compartment, emergency services said in a statement, adding that ten crew members have so far been rescued.
"As a result of a fire aboard an oil tanker in the Sea of Azov, two explosions occurred in compartments for petroleum products," the emergency services said.
The tanker was reportedly empty at the time of the incident. Overall, the vessel had 13 crew members and was heading from the port of Caucasus to Rostov-on-Don.
В Азовском море терпит бедствие нефтяной танкер «Генерал Ази Асланов» под российским флагом. На танкере произошёл взрыв. Предположительно, остаточных паров топлива. pic.twitter.com/Dbvy3spTkQ— Vadim Golts (@redhot4ili) October 24, 2020
Three rescue vessels have been dispatched to the scene, where, according to the latest data, the tanker is tilted to one side. Rescue operations are underway for the three missing crew members.
The blasts occurred due to the detonation of petroleum vapour on board the tanker, according to preliminary data provided by the Federal Agency of Maritime and River Transport. The agency doesn't rule out that the vessel may sink.