Report: Abandoned Tanker Sinks Off Yemen

Lavant settles low in the water, June 22 (Sovcomflot)
Lavant settles low in the water, June 22 (Sovcomflot)

Published Jul 4, 2024 3:41 PM by The Maritime Executive


The aging tanker Lavant, which sustained uncontrollable flooding off the southeastern coast of Yemen in June, appears to have disappeared and has likely sunk, multiple intelligence sources have confirmed to Reuters. The 30-year-old ship's loss is considered a conventional marine casualty, not one of the many attacks perpetrated by Yemen's Houthi rebel movement. 

UKMTO, which first reported the flooding incident aboard Lavant, has not confirmed the vessel's sinking. The organization's last security update for the region was released Sunday. 

On the morning of June 22, the Lavant reported uncontrollable flooding at a position about 100 nm southeast of Nishtun, Yemen. The master ordered the crew to abandon ship, and they were rescued by a Gabon-flagged vessel, the ex-Sovcomflot crude oil tanker NS Africa. 

Lavant was abandoned and left adrift at 14 31 N 053 08 E, about 130 nautical miles due south of the Yemeni-Omani border. It may have sunk by the end of June, according to previous press reports.

Lavant was a 30-year-old product tanker with an uncertain record. The vessel had no known flag state after January 2023, no known call sign, and no port state inspections after 2017. Its last listed class renewal survey occurred nine years ago, and its last two known flags were the Paris MoU black list registries of Comoros and Tanzania. It was operated by a single-vessel shipmanagement entity with a P.O. box address in Dubai. 

According to Russian media reports, Lavant was under way to Somalia when the crew made their distress call.

NS Africa is operated by Dubai firm Stream Ship Management, an entity identified by Ukrainian researchers as a compliance vehicle for semi-sanctioned Russian state shipping firm Sovcomflot. Though Sovcomflot is no longer legally linked to NS Africa after a series of ownership and management transfers, it claimed responsibility for NS Africa's SAR response.