Estonian vessel reported sunk south-east of Odessa

According to information that has been confirmed by the ship’s manager, Estonian company Vista Shipping Agency, general cargo ship Helt (IMO 8402589) has sunk in the Black Sea after either being fired upon or hitting a mine. Initially four of the six crew were said to be missing but, later the Estonian Foreign Ministry said that all six were accounted for and safe.

The Helt was reported to have been at anchor approximately 20 miles south of Odessa on March 3rd when the vessel was shaken by a large explosion.

On March 2nd the Helt was reported by Ukrainian defence and maritime authorities as having been captured by the Russian Navy and being used as a shield from either Ukrainian fire, or as disguise to prevent enemy radar detection. During the afternoon of March 3rd the ship was reported by Ukrainian sources as sinking, with a heavy list.

1985-built, Panama-flagged, 1,473 gt Helt is owned By Marlowe Assets LP  care of Vista Shipping Agency, Tallinn, Estonia.