At least two crew members have died and six remain unaccounted for after a Ukrainian-owned cargo ship sank in bad weather in the Black Sea off Turkey.
A Ukrainian government spokesman on January 17 said that “five people have been rescued and two bodies have been recovered” from the wreck of the bulk carrier Arvin, which is registered under the flag of the country of Palau.
The ship was heading for Bulgaria from Georgia when it sank, officials said. The Black Sea region has been hit by heavy rains, snow, and strong winds in recent days.
Reports differed on the number of people aboard the ship when it sank. Russia’s Interfax news agency said 12 people were aboard, including two Russians, while a Turkish official put the number at 13.
Sinan Guner, governor of northern Turkey's Bartin Province, said five seamen had been rescued. He added that weather conditions were hampering rescue efforts.
"There are high waves, and because of the waves the [rescue] boat can't see its surroundings. We are trying to reach them with directions from the shore," Guner was cited as saying by Turkish news agencies.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko told AFP that the ship was owned by a Ukrainian firm. He tweeted that five Ukrainians and one "foreigner" had been rescued so far and were hospitalized in satisfactory condition.
Tensions remain high in the strategic region. Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea has not been recognized by a vast majority of nations and has led to U.S. and EU sanctions against Russia.