A Russian tanker was damaged in an attack by Ukrainian drones in the Kerch Strait, briefly halting traffic on the strategic bridge linking Crimea to Russia's mainland, a government agency and Russian media reported early Saturday.

The tanker SIG suffered a hole at the waterline in the area of the engine room, "presumably as a result of an attack by a marine drone," the Federal Agency for Sea and Inland Water Transport said on Telegram. "The ship is afloat."

An oil boom had been placed around the vessel and preparations were under way to patch the damage, it said.

The Marine Traffic vessel-tracking website showed the SIG stationary and attended by tugs just south of the strait.

The chemical tanker is under US sanctions for supplying jet fuel to Russian forces in Syria supporting President Bashar al-Assad.


The state RIA Novosti news agency said there were no casualties in the attack, citing the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre of Novorossiysk.

Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-installed official in the southern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia, had earlier said several members of the ship's crew were injured by broken glass.

"The detonation due to the explosion on the ship was visible from the peninsula, which the local residents thought was an explosion in the vicinity of Yakovenkovo settlement not far from the Crimean bridge," Rogov wrote on Telegram.

Traffic on the bridge across the Kerch Strait linking the Moscow-annexed Crimean peninsula to Russia was halted for around three hours and resumed early Saturday, according to the highways information center's Telegram channel.

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The latest attack in the Black Sea came a day after Ukraine said it had carried out a seaborne drone strike on a Russian navy ship at Novorossiysk naval base in southern Russia.

Russia said Friday it had repelled an attempted attack on the base by Ukrainian armed forces "with the use of two unmanned sea boats".

The number of attacks in the Black Sea by both sides has increased since Moscow exited a deal last month that had allowed Ukrainian grain exports via the shipping hub during the conflict between the two countries.

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