Estonian cargo ship sinks following explosion off Odessa, Ukraine

Helt (Photo: Vista Shipping Agency)

An Estonian-owned cargo vessel sank in the Black Sea off the Ukrainian coast following an onboard explosion on Thursday, March 3.

The Panamanian-flagged 2,086DWT vessel Helt was some 20 nautical miles off the Port of Odessa when the blast occurred, forcing the crew to send out a mayday call.

The crew later abandoned ship into a life raft after Helt developed a 70-degree list. The vessel then sank, as confirmed to Reuters by ship manager Vista Shipping Agency.

Estonia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said all six crewmembers were later rescued and are now safe. The ministry provided the update after earlier reports said four of the sailors had gone missing shortly after they jumped into the water.

The cause of the explosion, which occurred amid the ongoing Russian military invasion of Ukraine, remains unclear.

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