Romanian Navy ship damaged by mine in Black Sea

The Romanian minesweeper Lt. Dimitrie Nicolescu participates in Exercise Summer Storm 2011 in the Black Sea, August 2, 2011. (Photo: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rachael L. Leslie)

A Romanian Navy vessel suffered blast damage to its hull after it struck a mine in the Black Sea off the port city of Constanta on Thursday, September 8.

The minesweeper Lt Dimitrie Nicolescu was deployed to an area 20 nautical miles off the coast after the crew of a commercial vessel reported the presence of an unexploded mine floating in the same waters.

The minesweeper sailed to the area with an embarked team of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) divers in an attempt to disable the mine before it could cause damage to any passing ships.

Due to the worsening weather, EOD divers on a small boat that was launched from the larger minesweeper were unable to approach the mine to defuse it.

The minesweeper performed a series of manoeuvres to avoid hitting the mine to no avail, as the explosive drifted towards the vessel and detonated immediately upon impact with the hull.

The explosion left a small breach on the minesweeper’s aft section just above the waterline. Water ingress was later reported, though a damage control party was able to limit the flooding long enough to allow the vessel to be taken safely under tow and brought to port in Constanta.

No serious injuries have been reported among the minesweeper’s 75-strong crew.

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