Grain Ship, Damaged off Coast of Ukraine, Likely Hit Sea Mine: Sources

November 20, 2023

A merchant ship transporting grains was lightly damaged off the coast of Ukraine and was likely to have been hit by a floating sea mine, according to maritime specialists and a Ukrainian government source.

This is the latest incident affecting commercial ships sailing in the Black Sea.

War risk insurance premiums have risen to as much as 3% of the value of a vessel after a missile damaged a merchant ship in the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi last week, industry sources said.

Four maritime and trade sources said the Liberia-flagged Georgia S bulk carrier laden with a wheat cargo was sailing from Pivdennyi when it was hit in the open sea on Thursday.

A Ukrainian government source told Reuters on Friday that it was likely that a floating sea mine hit the vessel.

Greece-based Seagate Navigation, which was listed on its website as the vessel’s manager, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The vessel’s last position on Friday was heading towards the Romanian port of Constanta, according to data from ship tracking and maritime analytics provider MarineTraffic.

After withdrawing from a U.N.-backed deal in July that guaranteed safe shipments of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea, Ukraine says Russia has repeatedly attacked Ukrainian port infrastructure and also laid sea mines.

Kyiv has since opened what it says is a temporary humanitarian corridor in a bid to break Russia’s de facto blockade.

Insurance broker Marsh, Lloyd’s of London insurers and Ukrainian state banks launched a program [last week] to cut the cost of claims for damage to ships and crew transporting grain through the Black Sea corridor.

(Reporting by Jonathan Saul in London and Gus Trompiz in Paris, editing by William Maclean)