KYIV: Ukrainian authorities said on Thursday that a commercial ship en route to collect grain collided with a Russian naval mine in the Black Sea, resulting in injuries to two sailors.
The Panama-flagged ship, which remains unnamed, was on its way to Ukraine’s Danube ports when it struck a mine, causing a loss of speed and control and igniting a fire on the upper deck, reported by Ukraine’s border guards.
The incident occurred within the maritime corridor established by Ukraine for commercial ships, which navigate close to the shores of Bulgaria and Romania. However, the border force did not provide specific details regarding the time and location of the incident.
The Maritime Bulletin, a shipping sector monitoring website, identified the vessel involved as the Greek-owned, Panama-flagged ship named Vyssos. The ship reportedly had a mine explode beneath its stern on Wednesday morning while en route to the port of Izmail.
This incident follows previous instances where Russian mines damaged two civilian cargo ships, according to the Odesa Maritime Guard, reported earlier this month.
In response to the latest incident, the ship’s captain intentionally ran the vessel aground to prevent it from sinking. Ukraine dispatched tugs to tow the ship to port.
The Maritime Guard, coordinating the response, deployed doctors to provide immediate medical assistance, with one injured sailor treated on the spot and the other hospitalized but reportedly in good condition.
Ukraine has implemented measures to secure a maritime corridor in the Black Sea, allowing certain cargo ships to navigate in and out, particularly in the western part where Russian warships have been pushed back. However, the waters remain heavily mined, including by Russian planes, posing heightened dangers, especially in stormy weather.