Tanker Spills Oil in Black Sea Strait

  1. A Russian freighter carrying 1.3 million gallons of oil broke up in storm.

    By SERGEI VENYAVSKY Associated Press Writer
    ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia Nov 12, 2007 (AP)

    The dead sailors wearing life vests washed up near Tuzla on the western side of the strait, said Emergency Situations spokesman Sergei Kozhemyaka. Rescuers were looking for five others.
    As many as 10 ships sank or ran aground in the strait and the northern Black Sea region during the fierce storm, including the tanker, the Volganeft-139, loaded with nearly 1.3 million gallons of fuel oil. Nearly half that amount had spilled into the strait and had begun washing up on nearby shorelines.
    The Russian tanker's 13 crew members were rescued, authorities said.
    Officials said it could be the worst environmental disaster in the region in years, and could take years to clean up.
    Nakhichevan and the other freighter together were carrying about 7,150 tons of sulfur, which also spilled into the waters. Experts were trying to determine if there could be any long-term damage.
    Alexei Zhukovin, an expert with the Emergency Situations Ministry's branch in southern Russia, said sulfur was not dangerous to the region's habitat.
    Vesti 24 on Sunday reported the sinking of a Russian freighter carrying metal near the port of Sevastopol on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. Two members of its 16-man crew drowned and one was missing, it said.
    Maxim Stepanenko, a regional prosecutor, told Vesti 24 that captains had been warned Saturday about the stormy conditions. He said the Volganeft-139 designed during Soviet times to transport oil on rivers was not built to withstand a fierce storm.


    Here are photos of the spill.


    It's so sad.
    My prayers are with those sailors,their friends and their loved ones!

    And I thank God the rest of the sailors were rescued!