A cargo ship sank flying the flag of Dominica in Mariupol on Tuesday after it was targeted via Russia’s missile strikes. The vessel ‘Azburg’ is believed to have been at berth and without any cargo in Mariupol when it was hit by two missiles on 3 April, per reports from the Dominica Maritime Administration.
On 4 April, at around 2240 local time, the foreign vessel was fired upon heavily by armed forces from Russia after shelling the vessel intentionally twice a day earlier. While the specific characteristics of firing are unknown, the crew members reported shelling, repeated missiles hitting it, and bombing that resulted in a fire in the vessel’s engine room.
One of the 12 members needed urgent treatment while the remaining crew had been evacuated onto the vessels nearby. Russian officials, however, did not respond to requests for comments. Moscow earlier mentioned that it is not targeting civilians to demilitarize Ukraine in what it refers to as a “special operation”.
Ukraine said that this week, the country was bracing for nearly 60,000 reservists from Russia to be called in for reinforcing Moscow’s offensive in the east, where the key targets of Russia were Kharkiv and Mariupol.
The deputy administrator of maritime affairs associated with the registry, Eric Dawicki, mentioned that the vessel had sunk early on Tuesday. He added that the registry had assumed that the sinking would result in environmental impediments. Dawicki also mentioned how a merchant vessel’s indiscriminate shelling with civilian crew members having nowhere to find refuge was the lowest of lows.
The vessel’s operator who was in contact with the crew via email had received the information. A senior official associated with Ukraine’s Maritime Administration mentioned earlier on Tuesday that the ship was hit by a navy missile from Russia, per initial information.
The vessel had reached Mariupol on 23 February and was unable to depart from the Ukrainian waters due to port closure. The Russian military had taken control of waterways around Ukraine when it invaded on 24 February.
Two seafarers were killed while five more merchant vessels were hit by projectiles. One of those sank off the coast of Ukraine from the start of the war. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) mentioned that 86 merchant vessels continue to remain stuck in the Ukrainian ports as of 30 March, with almost 1,000 seafarers failing to sail.
Maritime officials have mentioned that they were low on supplies onboard ships along with multiple dangers including floating mines and missiles.
Pirates of the Sea of Azov. During another barbaric shelling of Mariupol, 🇷🇺 sank a merchant ship under the
🇩🇴 flag. In terms of the number of peaceful ships sunk during last 40 days, 🇷🇺 fleet has already surpassed many Somali pirate captains. pic.twitter.com/aiXxNlBP7k
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) April 5, 2022