Russian oil tanker sinks in Black Sea, spills 2,000 tons of fuel oil

A Russian oil tanker sank in a storm in the Black Sea Sunday, spilling some 2,000 metric tons of fuel oil into the Kerch Strait, officials said. The tanker, Volganeft-139, broke in two about five kilometers from the shore, creating what officials said was a serious environmental problem. "This problem will take several years to solve," Oleg Mitvol, head of the state environmental safety watchdog, Rosprorodnadzor, said on Vesti 24 television. He said that the gale was preventing emergency workers from quickly collecting the spilled oil from the surface. Maxim Stepanenko, a regional prosecutor, said that an apparent reason for the spill was the flimsy design of the tanker, which was not built to withstand a fierce storm. Such tankers were designed during the Soviet times to carry oil on rivers.