One dead after cargo ship breaks in two in Black Sea off Russia

The Comoros-flagged general cargo ship Seamark breaks apart and sinks in the Black Sea off Novorossiysk, Russia, on February 21, 2023. The incident left one crewman dead. (Photo: Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations)

One person is confirmed dead and another is in critical condition after a cargo vessel broke apart and sank in storm-hit waters off Russia’s Black Sea coast on Tuesday, February 21.

The Comoros-flagged 3,200DWT general cargo vessel Seamark was anchored off Novorossiysk when the area began experiencing 40-knot winds and three-metre-high waves on the morning (local time) of Tuesday.

The extreme conditions caused the vessel to split in two and sink along with its cargo of marble chips, forcing the entire 11-strong crew to abandon ship. Some of the crew were drifting in the water while others had climbed aboard a lifeboat by the time a Russian rescue vessel arrived in the area to render assistance.

Russian officials said the lone fatality succumbed to his injuries shortly after he was brought on board the rescue boat.

The ten survivors were meanwhile brought to Novorossiysk and the nearby town of Aleksino. No updates have yet been given on the condition of the critically injured sailor.

Reports said that all 11 of the ship’s crew were Russian nationals.

Seamark had left the port of Iskenderun in Turkey the day before the devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake that left over 41,000 dead in Turkey and in neighbouring Syria. The ship has remained at anchor off Novorossiysk since its arrival on Wednesday, February 15.

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