The general cargo ship Geroi Arsenala sank at Kerch Strait in Black Sea. The vessel with 12 crew, including nine Ukrainians, two Russians and one Georgian citizens, disappeared and lost connection at the approach to Kerch strait on 19 nautical miles off Cape Zhelezny Rog in Crimea. MRCC Novorossiysk received the distress signal from the captain of the dry-cargo ship at about 03:54 Moscow time. The local authorities immediately initiated search and rescue operation and succeeded to find and rescue one seamen, while another 3 were found dead and 8 seamen are missing. The large scale search and rescue operation was initiated, which engaged five merchant ships, as well as rescue vessel and two Russian helicopters.
“The approximate site of the accident is the village of Yakovenkovo in the Kerch area”, said the Representative of the Ministry of Emergency Situations in the Crimea. “The vessels Bishop, Armada Navigator, Barnet, Aigas and Aelos were in the area of the incident and were included into the rescue operation. Currently, it is confirmed information about the discovery of two bodies of dead seamen. The search for the rest of the crew continues”, added he.
The exact nationalities of the missing seamen is not yet revealed. It was known that one of the rescued people was oiler from the vessel, who was Ukrainian.
The water temperature at the area was 7-8 degrees Celsius and on scene was stormy weather with wind speed of 20 m/s. The exact root cause of the accident is under investigation, but according to preliminary information, the vessel split on two part by the storm and sank, so people had no time to evacuate.
The general cargo ship Geroi Arsenala (IMO: 8727604) has overall length of 114.00 m, moulded beam of 13.00 m and maximum draft of 4.00 m. The deadweight of the vessel is 2,850 DWT and the gross tonnage is 2,584 GRT. The freighter was built in 1980 by Zavody Tazkeho Strojarstva in Komarno, Slovakia. The ship is registered under the flag of Panama and during the accident was en route from Azov to Turkey with cargo of grain. The vessel is owned and operated by Turkish company Gunes Shipping & Trading Company Limited.