Video: Six Dead After Soviet-Era Freighter Sinks in Black Sea

Published Jan 7, 2019 3:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

Six of the 13 crewmembers of the coastal freighter Volgo Balt 214 died Monday after their vessel sank in the Black Sea. 

The Volgo Balt was under way off the northern coast of Turkey on Monday morning, carrying coal from Azov to the Turkish port of Samsun, when she encountered heavy weather and went down. One of the survivors told responders that the ship was struck by a large wave. 

“As a result of the shock of the wave, the ship could not stand it, it broke and began to sink. The crew sent a distress signal," said Vasily Kirilich, a spokesman for Ukraine's foreign ministry, speaking to 112 Ukraine. 

Six crewmembers died in the casualty, including the Volgo Balt's master. Helicopter aircrews from the Turkish Coast Guard were on scene by 1000 hours, and they successfully recovered the bodies of the deceased and brought the survivors to shore. The seven surviving crewmembers are reportedly in good health. 

The cause of the accident is under investigation. 

The 1978-built Volgo Balt 214 was a Soviet-era riverine freighter of 3,500 dwt, built by the only large shipyard in the former Czechoslovakia. The vessel received 49 PSC inspection deficiencies over the past two years, including a detention in Azov in 2017 for alleged hull damage impairing seaworthiness (cracking). That inspection also allegedly found improper freeboard marks and signs of hull corrosion. 

According to her Equasis record, the Volgo Balt's Turkish ship manager operates six other sister ships of the same name, vintage and pattern of inspection deficiencies - including additional recorded instances of allegedly deficient structural conditions.