Cargo vessel sinks off northern Turkey, six reported dead

Six of the 13 crewmembers of coastal freighter Volgo Balt 214 (IMO 8841644) were reported dead after the 1978-built, Panama-flagged, 2,516 gt cargo vessel sank 80km off the coast of the Turkish province of Samsun early on January 7th. The Master was among those reported dead. The crew consisted of nine Ukrainians, two Azerbaijanis and two Russians.

The Volgo Balt was under way off the northern coast of Turkey on Monday morning, carrying coal from Azov to the Turkish port of Samsun, when she encountered heavy weather and went down. One of the survivors told responders that the ship was struck by a large wave.

Vasily Kirilich, a spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign ministry, said that “as a result of the shock of the wave, the ship could not stand it, it broke and began to sink. The crew sent a distress signal.”

Volgo Balt 214 was a Soviet-era riverine freighter. The vessel reportedly had received 49 PSC inspection deficiencies over the past two years, including a detention in Azov in 2017 for alleged hull damage that impaired. That inspection also allegedly found improper freeboard marks and signs of hull corrosion.

The ship issued an emergency call at 08:10. Helicopter aircrews from the Turkish Coast Guard were on scene by 10:00 (see YouTube video below) and successfully recovered the bodies of the deceased and brought the survivors to shore. The seven surviving crewmembers were reportedly in good health.

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