P&I club warns of sea mine threat in Black Sea

Written by Nick Blenkey
sea mine adrift in Black Sea

Romanian Navy released this photo of sea mine that it subsequently detonated

Adding to the growing threats to shipping following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there are increasing reports of threats from sea mines.

Initially, NATO warned of mine danger areas in the northwest Black Sea. Now, it seems, some of those mines are simply drifting. Who laid them? According to Ukrainian sources, the mines are of a type seized by Russia in Sevastopol following its illegal seizure of Crimea in 2014.

LONDON P&I CLUB ALERTS MEMBERS

Meantime, the London P&I Club is warning that vessels navigating in the Black Sea should note that there have been three recent reports of sea mines drifting in the area.

In relation to this incident, a London Club correspondent and law firm, Cavus & Coskunsu Law Firm in Istanbul, Turkey, has provided the additional information:

On March 26, says the club, an unidentified floating object similar to a mine or a bomb was sighted by a Turkish fishing vessel reported at the vicinity of anchorage area for bulk carrier vessels at Istanbul Strait north anchorage area. A correspondent in Turkey, Vitsan Mumessillik ve Musavirlik A.S. has advised that the Ministry of National Defense of Turkey reported that this out to be an old type of mine, which was defused by the Turkish Navy.

Ukraine says Russians seized mines after invasion of Crma

TURKISH SHIP OWNERS ADVISORY

“Turkish Ship-Owners Association published a detailed warning and advisory regarding the drifting mine danger for mariners. In brief Turkish Ship-Owners Association advised that the Northern Istanbul Strait entrance should be deemed as a risky area, that NAVTEX messages and broadcast of Channel-16 should be monitored carefully, that sharp and effective lookout should be performed, that any suspicious objects should be reported to Channel-16 along and vessels at the vicinity, that the coordinates of suspicious objects, wind direction and force, current direction and force should be recorded and reported.

In addition, night fishing on the area is now forbidden by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry General Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture from March 26, 2022, until further notice.

Reportedly, the Turkish Navy has deployed two specialized ships as a precaution and for a safe navigation. Under the circumstances, we strongly recommend vessels on the Black Sea coasts of Turkey to be on alert and closely monitor notices about sea mines and to keep look-out while it may not be possible to observe sea mines during night time.”

On March 28, a London Club correspondent in Turkey, Vitsan Mumessillik ve Musavirlik A.S. reported a sea mine off Igneada (Black sea side of Istanbul and close to Bulgaria Border), which was deactivated by the Turkish Navy.

On March 29, a sea mine was sighted 39 nautical miles ENE of Constantza Cape Midia, Romania. A London Club correspondent in Romania, Interservices S.A, reported that the location was promptly attended by a Romanian naval vessel that destroyed the mine.

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