On May 29, the 80 meter long cargo vessel Xingyun 789 broke-in-two and sank in Bohai Bay near the Tianjin Caofeidian oil field, China. The Xingyun 789 had been proceeding with a cargo of gravel/sand in Bohai Bay. The vessel had been battling rough conditions with strong winds and waves reaching 4 meters. Waves continuously swept over the decks allowing water ingress into the holds. A short time later the vessel was flooded and in danger of sinking. The vessel sent out a distress call requesting urgently to be rescued. Their call was received by the oil field authorities who dispatched two offshore supply vessels to the scene.
The offshore vessels arrived on scene and found the Xingyun 789 low in the water. As the rescuers got closer to the Xingyun 789, a large bang could be heard as the Xingyun 789 suffered structural failure at one of the cargo holds splitting the vessel in two. The hull failure was so sudden that 2 crew fell into the sea while 3 more were just able to hang on precariously to the stern section. The rescue boats pulled the two crew from the water and were able to rescue one off the stern. However, conditions were just too difficult to reach the remaining 2 crew on the stern. Authorities dispatched a rescue helicopter which was able to hoist the 2 remaining crew to safety. All the crew of the Xingyun 789 were receiving medical care. No further details reported.
The 80 meter long self-propelled barge Nawa 9 broke-in-two and sank on the Elbe at Hamburg, Germany. The Nawa 9 was loading a cargo of iron silicate near the Norder Elbe Bridge when the vessel suffered structural failure in the cargo hold.
The hull cracked and quickly flooded forcing the three crew to jump overboard. The Nawa 9 partially sank with only part of the bow and wheelhouse above water. No reports of injuries.
The local fire brigade was alerted. The brigade placed booms around the wreck to contain any pollution released. Reports state the water police halted traffic around the wreck.
The 114 meter long 2457 dwt cargo vessel Geroi Arsenala broke-in-two and sank south of the Kerch Strait some 50 kilometers from Anapa, Russia. The Geroi Arsenala had departed from Rostov-on-Don with a cargo of grain bound for Turkey. There was a storm in the area with strong winds and , but not severe to keep the cargo vessel in port. As the Geroi Arsenala passed the Kersch Starit the vessel suffered structural failure after struck by a five meter wave.
The vessel was able to send out a distress call alerting authorities the Geroi Arsenala was breaking up and sinking. The vessel remained afloat long enough for some of the 12 crew to don lifejackets and launch the ship’s lifeboat. Authorities launched a search and rescue operation deploying Russian Coast Guard and Navy vessels along with helicopters to the scene. A rescue helicopter reported seeing five crewmen in the water, but conditions prevented hoisting them to safety. One crewman, a mechanic, was later pulled from the water suffering from severe hypothermia. Additional reports state at least two bodies were recovered. Reports state the water temperature was no more than 10 degrees above freezing.
Built in 1980, the Geroi Arsenala now rests some 14 kilometers off the Kerch Strait in 100 meters of water. Authorities are concern that the cargo vessel had some 30 tons of fuel oil on board at the time of the sinking and could cause environmental damage.
Several reports suspect the Geroi Arsenala had not been sufficiently maintained for it’s advance age. Others have suggested that improper loading of cargo could have lead to the structural failure. Russian authorities have not yet stated the cause of the sinking, but have launched a criminal investigation into the incident.