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Ukrainian Cargo Ship Raises Suspicions, Refuses Romanian Assistance
By Sea and Coast | 30/08/2023
Suspicions Arise as Cargo Ship in Black Sea Fails to Communicate with Authorities
A cargo ship, aged 45, embarked on a journey through the Black Sea from Ukraine, triggering concerns on Sunday when it lost contact with Romanian authorities. The Romanian Agency for Saving Life at Sea (ARSVOM) tracked the vessel until it exited its territorial waters, with its AIS signal now indicating its approach to Turkey, without any further noteworthy incidents. ARSVOM disclosed its involvement in deploying Search and Rescue (SAR) vessels upon suspecting that the ship was at risk of sinking.
Named Amanos, the vessel was constructed in 1978 and is presently flagged under Tanzania, although it is operated and managed by Turkish companies, as per Equasis records. This 1,670 deadweight tonnage (dwt) general cargo ship adheres to the typical profile of vessels navigating between ports on the Danube and the Black Sea.
The vessel's AIS data revealed its recent arrival in Izmail, Ukraine, where it remained for a duration of two weeks before subsequently sailing to Kiliya, another port on the Danube. Departing from Kiliya on August 21, its activities during this period, including any cargo loading, remain undisclosed and contribute to the arising suspicions.
On Sunday, August 27, ARSVOM received a distress call as the vessel sailed along the southern Romanian coastline near Mangalia, adjacent to the Bulgarian border. The report suggested that the Amanos encountered buoyancy issues, potentially related to a breach in its bow. In response, ARSVOM dispatched three SAR vessels to rendezvous with the cargo ship. The Amanos, however, initially refrained from communicating with the Romanian SAR vessels, despite their approaching assistance. The Turkish-owned ship initially declined help.
Later, the Amanos' captain communicated with Romanian authorities, indicating a course towards Bulgaria and rejecting the need for assistance. The crew believed they could manage the damage and perform minor repairs without external intervention. The Amanos raised anchor and continued its southward journey.
Although the vessel did not cooperate fully, the Romanian authorities canceled their assistance request. Nevertheless, two SAR vessels maintained surveillance of the ship until it exited Romanian territorial waters, subsequently returning to their bases in Mangalia and Constanta.