Mystery of Turkish ship accident in Crimean waters, Black sea. Update
Feb 4 Update: More evidence favoring version of unusual character of BERG accident:
Area where BERG was sailing is known to be Russian Navy drills groundings;
MB was informed, that Feodosia locals reported, independently from MB analysis, and prior to it, shooting sounds heard in Chauda Point area at the time of an accident, and when news came on BERG accident, and they saw the ship grounded near city, they smelled something fishy, wondering where and how could the ship sustain three holes;
BERG was towed to shallow waters by a Navy tug – not all that exceptional event, but rare indeed;
BERG crew just disappeared - according to official statement, the crew were evacuated and “taken to hotel in Feodosia”, and this is it, no interviews, no social networks posts from crew members – virtually nothing, they disappeared, kind of.
All listed facts lead to a conclusion, that somehow, Russian Navy were involved in the accident, or are directly responsible.
That’s why the crew are locked off somewhere, until the dust settles down, that’s why the first version, claiming accident took place on river Don, is already forgotten and not mentioned by Russian media and authorities.
We don’t know yet what happened there, if Russian Navy were the cause of an accident – either the ship came under fire and was hit, or it was collision, most probably with submarine. It can’t be excluded at this stage, that some crew could be injured, or worse.
On Feb 2 distressed Turksih general cargo ship BERG was towed to shallow waters and grounded to avoid sinking, by 1540 Moscow time operation was successfully completed. As of Feb 4, salvage understood to be underway, salvors said to be busy with pumping out water and siphoning fuel.
There’s no understanding, no detailed description of an accident itself. Soon after accident Russian media said, that according to Emergency Agency data and story told by ship’s crew, freighter suffered hull breach while proceeding from Azov port downstream Don river, prior to Jan 31, with cargo of offals bound for Turkey. It was said also, that the breach was in fore ballast tanks area, and remained unknown to crew until the ship crossed Azov sea, transited Kerch Strait and was already sailing in Black sea (initial MRCC report http://portnews.ru/news/252865/).
According to latest media reports, including official governmental newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta rg.ru, freighter somehow was breached during the night Jan 31 – Feb 1, being 3.5 nm off Chauda Point, Feodosia Bay, Crimea, Black sea, and contacted Feodosia authorities, requesting permission to anchor. Divers later found three underwater holes in the hull, and judging from photos and video, at least two of them are in cargo holds and stern areas, so much for fore ballast tanks story.
Where did the ship get those holes, how and under what circumstances? What was encountered by BERG in Black sea south of Crimea, with average depth of about 80 meters? Did the ship collided with underwater object, and if did, what was that object, and why officials don’t mention it at all? Was this object military, and if military, was it a submarine?
February 4, 2018
Turkish freighter breached, crew evacuated, Crimea, Update
Feb 1 Update:
General cargo ship BERG sustained hull breach in fore ballast tanks area while proceeding on river Don, date and circumstances unknown, prior to Jan 31. Water ingress was noticed at night Jan 31 when the ship transited Kerch Strait and was already in Black sea, vessel developed fore tilt and portside list 3 degrees. Pumps couldn’t control water ingress, Master contacted Feodosia port authorities via VHF and asked permission to proceed to Feodosia anchorage, permission was granted. At 0120 Moscow time Feb 1 BERG issued distress signal and requested crew evacuation. At 0205 BERG was brought to anchor 6 nm off Feodosia, at 0223 all 12 crew went to tug and were transferred to Feodosia. Owner is fixing salvage operation.
Turkish freighter BERG suffered hull breach under unknown circumstances on Jan 31 in Crimea Peninsula waters, while en route from Kerch, Crimea, to Bandirma, Turkey. The ship changed course and headed for Feodosia Bay, Crimea, where, according to Russian Emergency Agency, she was brought to anchor. 12 crew were evacuated, divers were to survey damages. As of 0600 UTC Feb 1, the ship was off Feodosia, at anchor, according to Russian authorities.