Storms in Eastern Med and Black Sea “strongest ever experienced”

The strong storms that have been moving across the Mediterranean and the Black Sea have seen Russian and Turkish authorities saying that the storms have been among the worst they have ever experienced.

To the west, the Italian Coast Guard was dealing with a derelict ferry that washed ashore on the northern coast of Sicily. The Benjamini Carnevale (built in 1992) had been sitting idle for nearly two years in Naples after being damaged in a fire at sea in January 2022. Formerly operated by Tirrenia, the 14,500 gt vessel  was sold at auction in October 2023 as part of the financial restructuring of Moby. It was due to be towed to Turkiye, presumably to be scrapped.

Renamed the Lider Prestij, the vessel departed Naples under tow. On November 25th in high seas and stormy weather it parted its tow line near the island of Stromboli and began drifting. It came to a halt on November 26th about 10 miles from Milazzo on the northern coast of Sicily. The Coast Guard reported that it was supervising salvage efforts that began on Monday.

General cargo Ship Vamos (IMO 9019573) with 11 crew members on board, ran aground due to a storm in the İnebolu district of Kastamonu, on November 27th . The ship was unloading its cargo of fertilizer at the pier in İnebolu district of Kastamonu when the ropes broke and it went adrift and ran aground in the Filli Köşk area of the İnebolu Port. The AFAD, Coast Guard and fire brigade were dispatched to the scene and rescued the crew, two of whom were Turkish. The local fire department was only able to get six off the vessel before the ladder on its truck was damaged by the rocking ship. One of the crewmembers reportedly fell or jumped into the water with a rope and needed to be taken to the hospital. The remaining crewmembers were removed from the ship after a second fire truck arrived for a neighbouring district.

Another small general cargo ship, the Palau-registered FR Pearl (IMO 9224128), was also driven ashore in eastern Turkiye, near the border with Georgia. The 4,000 dwt vessel went aground on November 27th, with the local authorities reporting that lines were strung to the vessel and 13 crewmembers were brought to shore with a breeches buoy.

To the north, Russia’s maritime rescue squad responded as the 27,300 dwt bulker Blue Shark (IMO 9128142) was driven ashore on November 26th  near the town of Vityazevo. The bulk carrier arrived at Kerch Strait anchorage in Black Sea on November 15th, having arrived from Turkiye, and was carrying out cargo operations, possibly loading barley that was to be transported to  The crew of 21 were staying aboard until the weather eased.

Meanwhile, ports in both Ukraine and Crimea reported that they had suspended exports of both grains and fuel due to the bad weather.  The port of Constanta, Romania, was also reported closed because of stormy weather and snow.

1991-built, Cameroon-flagged, 2,364 gt Vamos is owned and managed by Vamos Bien Shipping & Trading of Istanbul, Turkiye. It is entered with MS Amlin (Hamburg policy).

2000-built, Palau-flagged, 3,580 gt FR Pearl is owned by FR Pearl Shipping & Trading Co care of manager Esenyali Gemi of Istanbul, Turkiye. Last record is from November 26th when the vessel was in the Black Sea off Poti, Georgia.

1997-built, Belize-flagged, 16,270 gt Blue Shark is owned by Blue Shark Shipping Ltd care of manager White Shark Shipping Ltd of Piraeus, Greece. It is listed as entered with MS Amlin (cover began January 13th 2023). As of November 28th it was listed as Stopped at Taman, Black Sea, Russia.