High winds halt lifting of sunken oil tanker

In Russia's Krasnodar region an operation aimed at lifting the sunken tanker the “Volgo-Neft 139” from the sea bed has been halted due to high winds.

Around 900 tonnes of fuel-oil remain inside the body of the vessel.

After a heavy storm on November 11 in the Kerch strait, between the Sea of Azov and Black Sea, four vessels sunk, six ran aground and two tankers were damaged. “VolgoNeft” tanker was among them.

It split in two, its bow sank and 2,000 tonnes of fuel-oil spilt into the water.

A further attempt to lift the ship will be made as soon as the weather improves.

Environmentalists say the oil has caused an eco-disaster.

The damage caused by the storm in Russia's southern region is expected to be more than $US 12 billion.