Photos: Russian Spy Ship Sinks in Black Sea

Russian state media / Turkish Embassy in Moscow

By MarEx 2017-04-28 21:58:09

On Thursday, the Turkish Coast Guard rescued the crew of the Russian Navy reconniassance ship Liman, which had collided with the livestock carrier Youzarsif-H in the Black Sea.

The Youzarsif was under way from Romania carrying a load of sheep to Jordan. She encountered the Liman about 20 nm to the northwest of the entrance to the Bosporus, and for reasons that are not yet fully known, she collided with the Russian vessel’s starboard side. The Youzarsif’s bow penetrated "two compartments of the engine room” beneath the waterline, according to a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense. The Liman sank about three hours after the collision. The Turkish military and the Russian consulate in Istanbul said that heavy fog was a factor in the accident. 

The Youzarsif rescued 15 of the Liman's crew, and the Turkish Coast Guard rescued the remaining 63. A Russian transport aircraft returned the Russian sailors to the Black Sea Fleet's headquarters in Crimea, along with "all detachable special equipment, documentation, arms and ammunition," according to Russia's defense ministry. 

Turkish social media outlet EHA News obtained photos from the scene of the sinking, showing first responders and sailors aboard the stricken vessel (below). 

Images courtesy EHA News / Twitter

The Youzarsif suffered only slight damage to her bow, and her crew and cargo were unharmed. As of Friday, her AIS signal showed her back at the pier in Midia, Romania, her port of departure. 

The Liman was built in Gdansk in 1970 as a research vessel and was converted into a signals-intelligence surveillance ship for the Russian Navy in 1989. She was fitted with equipment for collecting both underwater acoustic signals and radio transmissions. 

The 1977-built Youzarsif-H is flagged in Togo, one of three “medium to high risk” flag states at the bottom of the Paris MOU blacklist. The vessel has been detained twice since 2015, including a four-day detention last year for missing charts, inoperable SCBAs and improperly maintained SOLAS equipment. During the vessel's latest port state control inspection, officials in Cartagena found sanitation problems, MARPOL deficiencies, out-of-date publications and a lack of fire-and-boat drills.