Cargo Ship Knocks a Sea Mine Off Romanian Coast, Ukraine & Turkey Deny Reports
On Thursday, a general cargo ship bearing the Turkey flag knocked a sea mine while traversing the Black Sea off the Romanian coast.
Beware of the Sea Mine
This is one of the initial occurrences for some months consisting of a ship crashing into a sea mine. Insurers consider the Black Sea area an extremely dangerous zone where floating mines cause so much trouble.
“The vessel reportedly experienced an explosion at approximately 0920 UTC (GMT). The vessel dropped anchor for a short period to assess the damage,” said Ambrey, a British maritime security company.
It added the cargo ship hit the mine at 11 nautical miles north of Sulina, Romania. At 1210 GMT, the vessel started sailing. No casualties have been reported and the crew are safe.
Moreover, Ambrey noted that the incident happened on the same day the company notified its clients of a probable additional sea mine placed by the Russian navy. Moscow wants to disrupt Ukraine’s grain export and its economy.
In July, Russia withdrew from a UN-backed deal allowing Ukraine to ship grains via a safe shipping channel. The latter established a temporary “humanitarian corridor” for cargo ships. Since August, numerous ships have departed the Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
Russia could turn to sea mines to deter cargo ships from traversing to the Black Sea to bring down Ukraine’s economy. They could place them near Ukrainian ports according to an Intelligence report.
A Ukrainian government insider confirmed the incident. The source said that it could be a World War II mine or the landing mines left last year.
According to the Bosphorus Observer Consultancy head, Yoruk Isik, the cargo vessel was Kafkametler Maritime, based in Istanbul. It dropped its anchor in the Danube Channel near the Ukrainian terminal of Vylkove.
Turkey and Ukraine officials denied a report about Kafkametler Maritime’s cargo vessel hitting a sea mine off the Romanian coast. They said the ship sustained no damages and the crew were safe without injuries. According to the General Directorate of Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure for Turkey, the said explosion didn’t transpire on the ship.
The 31-year-old cargo ship in question was a dwt vessel registered in Turkey with an unidentified load. Turkish authorities said that it was sailing from Batumi to Izmail. However, it slowed down before approaching the Sulina Canal due to congestion.
Ukraine Naval Forces spokesperson, Dmytro Pletenchuk said they inspected the ship and found no damage on the ballast tank. The captain and the shipping company also confirmed the vessel didn’t hit a sea mine.
What are Sea Mines?
Sea mines are self-contained explosive devices deployed underwater to damage or destroy surface ships or submarines, similar to naval mines but designed specifically to do this task. A sea mine can either float on the surface or submerge beneath it. Its trigger mechanism typically activates when detected near targets like ships or submarines.
Sea mines are commonly employed in naval warfare to create defensive barriers or perimeters, restrict enemy ship movement or defend harbours and coastal areas from potential enemies. Deployed via aircraft, ships or submarines, sea mines feature various trigger mechanisms. It includes magnetic sensors, pressure sensors, acoustic sensors or contact sensors that detect target presence before initiating their explosion.
These mines pose serious threats to naval and commercial ships alike, so efforts must be taken to detect and neutralize them to ensure safe maritime operations. A variety of technologies including mine-hunting ships, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and underwater sonar systems are employed in order to detect and dispose of sea mines that might pose risks to maritime activities.