Estonian cargo ship sinks off Ukraine coast near Odessa after explosion
An Estonian-owned cargo ship has sunk today in the Black Sea off the Ukrainian port of Odessa after an explosion, Reuters has reported.
The vessel’s manager, interviewed by Reuters, said that two crew members were in a life raft at sea while four others were unaccounted for.
Igor Ilves, managing director of Tallinn-based manager Vista Shipping Agency, suggested to Reuters that the ship Helt might have struck a mine.
On Wednesday a Bangladeshi vessel was also hit by a missile or bomb at another Black Sea port, Olvia.
The Black Sea has seen an increasing amount of military activity since Russia’s invasion.
Commercial shipping has moved to the forefront of economic sanctions this week, with Russian ships now prohibited from using UK and EU ports.
Earlier this week the UK government fast-tracked legislation banning any ships connected to Russia – not just those flying the Russian flag – from UK ports and has brought in new powers to detain Russian vessels.
The ban applies to Russian flagged, registered, owned, controlled, chartered or operated vessels.