A Russian tanker has caught fire in the Caspian Sea near the territorial waters of Turkmenistan. The crew has been evacuated while the Russian Emergency Ministry prepares amphibious firefighting aircraft to extinguish the fire on the vessel.
A source told RIA Novosti that the ignition source is believed to be on the deck of the vessel.
The Palflot-2 vessel in distress is currently drifting in Turkmenistan’s territorial waters some 800 kilometers from Russia’s nearest port, Astrakhan. Ten crew members have been evacuated from the ship by another Russian vessel, emergency agency sources told Russian media.
The Southern Regional Center of Russia’s Emergency Ministry has confirmed the fire on Palflot-2 tanker claimed the life of a ship’s mechanic, reportedly a citizen of Kazakhstan.
“We confirm the death of a single person. It was a mechanic. There were 11 crewmembers onboard, and 10 of them have been evacuated by a vessel belonging to the same company. They will be delivered to Astrakhan,” a source in the Emergency Ministry said.
Crew members of the Palflot-2 are citizens of Russia and Kazakhstan.
According to the Emergency Ministry, the tanker was not transporting any oil products and its tanks are filled with seawater as ballast.
The Emergency Ministry and the company owning the burning tanker agreed that extinguishing the fire on a vessel drifting so far from Russian shores is unpractical. It has been decided the ship should burn out, and its fate will be decided later.
Palflot-2’s port of commission is city of Taganrog, a port in the Azov Sea connected with the Caspian Sea via a system of waterways.
The Emergency Ministry of Azerbaijan, situated on the opposite shore of the Caspian Sea, is preparing to dispatch a pair of helicopters and a speedboat to the tanker in distress.
Despite its huge size, the Caspian Sea not naturally connected to the rest of the global ocean, is considered to be the planet’s largest saline lake.