Three sailors died and two injured on Tuesday, June 13, after a blast on an oil tanker caused a fire while it was pumping oil in the southern Russian port of Makhachkala (Dagestan).

The Southern Department of the Russian Investigation Committee has opened a criminal case. The terms of the spill localization depend on technologies that allow removing oil from the sea.

The tanker was associated with the Vitol Company. The onboard oil was from Turkmenistan and was considered «heavy» — the mass of sulfur impurities made it cheaper as found out.

An independent price agency Argus wrote about Vitol’s desire to start shipping Turkmen oil through Makhachkala in December 2018. Volumes of supplies were estimated from 30 thousand to 200 thousand tons per month.

Meanwhile, Turkmen oil has not been sent to Makhachkala since the end of 2016 because of its substandard quality, in particular.

The cargo of this tanker is Turkmen. Turkmen hydrocarbons are pumped into the Transneft pipeline. Then the products are exported to Europe via Novorossiysk. — an employee of the Makhachkala port told

Vital trader has a controversial reputation. The company uses outdated sea vessels, as and other media reported earlier. There are 50 years old ships, while internal standards for oil tankers limit their age to 15–25 years.

The well-known Russian publicist Maxim Shevchenko suggested fears of a possible disaster.

There is absolutely a reason to worry about the fact that the seaport in Mahachkala was technologically degraded and turned into a pile of rusty ruins — he noted.