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Russian oil tanker hit by fire, explosion in Sea of Azov

Moscow — The General Hazi Aslanov oil tanker was hit by a fire and explosion in the Sea of Azov on Oct. 24, Russian federal agencies reported.

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The tanker was empty at the time, according to the Krasnodar region branch of the emergencies ministry, which is coordinating the rescue operation. There were 13 crew members on board when the accident happened, and 10 have been rescued while 3 remain missing.

Russia's Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport (Rosmorrechflot) said that the accident may have been caused by oil products vapors, and that other shipping through the Kerch Strait has not been affected, the Prime news agency reported.

The General Hazi Aslanov has a DWT of 6,444 t and is owned by Turkey's Palmali Shipping. It was sailing from the port of Kavkaz to Rostov-on-Don, according to S&P Global Platts C-Flow.

The natural resources ministry said that it has sent a team to assess the environmental impact of the accident.

Safety concerns surrounding Russia's oil and gas infrastructure have risen this year. The impact of climate change is compounding existing concerns about safety records at oil production, storage and transportation infrastructure.