Romanian Navy Minesweeper Hit and Damaged by Drifting Mine
On Thursday, a Romanian Navy minesweeper was struck and damaged by a naval mine during a mission in the Black Sea, the service reported in a statement.
At about 1300 on Thursday afternoon, the minesweeper Locotenent Dimitrie Nicolescu was dispatched to neutralize a drifting mine at a position some 25 nm off the coast of Constanta. By the time the vessel arrived on station, conditions had worsened to the point that it was not practical to have divers and a RIB in the water. Wave heights were in the range of six feet and winds were about 20 knots.
After dark, in continued rough weather, the ship was hit by the drifting mine. The detonation made a small hole towards the stern, near the waterline.
No injuries were reported and the ship and crew remain safe, the service said. Buoyancy and stability were not affected. The crew took action to plug the hole and to limit ingress of seawater, and their efforts were successful; an initial Romanian media report suggested that the vessel's engines were disabled, but the service did not confirm a loss of power.
The Romanian Navy fleet tug Grozavul and an embarked dive team were quickly dispatched to meet up with the Nicolescu and provide assistance. AIS tracking data shows that the Grozavul sortied from Constanta Thursday night and returned to port on Friday afternoon.
According to the Romanian Navy's count, this was the 28th drifting sea mine found in the western Black Sea region since the launch of the Russian invasion; the vast majority have been found and neutralized in Ukrainian waters, but three have been spotted off Turkey, two off Romania and one off Bulgaria.