Estonian Cargo Vessel Sinks, Crew Missing, After Striking Sea Mine Off Odessa

Estonian Cargo Vessel Sinks, Crew Missing, After Striking Sea Mine Off Odessa

At a moment Russian forces are continuing to lay siege to Ukrainian port cities in the south, an Estonian cargo ship has reportedly hit a sea mine and sunk off the coast of Odessa, according to Reuters. 

“The Helt is believed to have hit a mine and four crew members are still missing,” The Daily Mail writes of what’s known of the early details. “Two others are in a life raft at sea after the blast near Odessa according to Igor Ilves, managing director of Tallinn-based manager Vista Shipping Agency.”

Daily Mail: Images circulating on social media purport to show the sinking of the Helt in the Black Sea by Ukraine

Ives was cited in UK reports as saying, “The vessel has finally sunk.” He added that “Two of the crew are in a raft on the water and four others are missing. I don’t know where they are at the moment.”

The sinking was caused by explosion, again which is now being widely reported as due to the ship hitting a mine. Likely Ukraine’s navy has been deploying mines off its key defensive ports amid the Russian invasion which has come by air, land, and sea. 

Russia’s advance in the south is ongoing, with the Pentagon late last night saying warships have been dispatched from Crimea and are now en route to Ukraine’s Black Sea port city of Odessa, where its navy is based. 

Some regional sources are alleging Russian naval forces were using the civilian cargo ship as a “shield” before it sank – though this can’t be confirmed…

The Estonian-owned cargo ship #Helt has sunk near #Odessa; according to the Ukrainian authorities, the Helt had been captured by Russian naval forces that then used the ship as a shield. #Russianinvasion #Ukraine #Estonia pic.twitter.com/4ZpFTIAU2I

— Estonian World (@EstonianWorld) March 3, 2022

The waters off Ukraine’s coast have become increasingly dangerous, also coming days after Turkey shut the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits to all warship traffic in line with the Montreux Convention.

Overnight, Ukrainian officials confirmed the city of Kherson is now under full Russian control. With a population of nearly 300,000 and occupying a strategic locations, it’s considered the gateway to the crucial Odessa port – home to most Ukrainian naval assets.

Tyler Durden
Thu, 03/03/2022 – 09:40

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