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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Two Vessels Collide in Kerch Strait

Two vessels collided Saturday in the Kerch Strait, Russian agencies reported, six days after a storm broke up a tanker with fuel oil in the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

Interfax reported the Nika ship under the Cambodian flag and the Russian vessel Volgodon-5076 collided early on Saturday.

The agency quoted a local official as saying there were no casualties or threat to the environment from the incident. It was not immediately clear what the ships were carrying.

The storm last Sunday also sank at least four freighters while crippling other vessels in the Kerch Strait. At least four seamen drowned and four others are missing.

Last week's incident produced a fuel oil spill, which the Russian environment watchdog said has killed dolphins, thousands of birds and fish after having polluted a 50-kilometer long stretch of Black Sea coastline.

A European Commission delegation was due to arrive in Kiev on Sunday to assist Ukraine in conducting an investigation into the oil spill, Interfax reported.

The group, which includes maritime experts from Denmark, Estonia, France, Italy and Portugal, will help to assess the impact of the incident and formulate recommendations for urgent action, the agency said.

n A cargo ship with 36 people on board, most of them Russians, sank in the Sea of Japan on Sunday, but the crew and passengers escaped on life rafts, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

The ship sank during a storm about 180 nautical miles off the port of Nakhodka in the Far East, from where it was carrying timber to China.

"There were 30 Russian crew and six passengers on board," ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said. "They all escaped on four life rafts."

He gave no further details about the ship.

Beltsov said a nearby vessel was trying to pick up the crew and passengers, but the operation was hampered by the bad weather.

Reuters, MT