( Reuters ) - More than 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil have spilt into the Kerch Strait between the Azov and Black Seas after a severe storm broke a Russian oil tanker into two.
The tanker, Volganeft-139, was on its way from the port of Azov in the southern Russian region of Rostov to Kerch in Ukraine's eastern Crimea when high waves broke its hull at around 0445 (8:45 p.m. Saturday EST) on Sunday, Russian media reported.
"According to preliminary data, some 1,300 tonnes of fuel oil could have spilt into the sea," Russia's state-run Vesti-24 channel quoted emergencies ministry officials as saying.
There were 13 crew members drifting aboard the ship's stern.
Efforts to rescue the crew were being hampered by harsh weather conditions, including a storm which was gaining force, media reports said.