Sovcomflot Tanker Reports Crew Rescue from Sinking Vessel Off Yemen

sinking tanker
Lavant was abandoned due to uncontrollable flooding (Sovcomflot)

Published Jun 26, 2024 12:18 PM by The Maritime Executive


The Russian state tanker operator Sovcomflot released information and photos of a crew that was forced to abandon its vessel south of Yemen over the weekend. Neither Sovcomflot nor the UK Maritime Trade Organizations mentioned an attack by the Houthi or the reasons the ship was in distress. Security analysts are saying they are uncertain if the vessel was the victim of a Houthi attack while the UKMTO classified it as a SOLAS incident.

The crude oil tanker NS Africa (111,682 dwt) was reported sailing from India back to Europe after delivering Russian oil when it received the distress call from a vessel Sovcomflot identified as the Lavant. The NS Africa is one of the tankers Sovcomflot transferred to Dubai-based management and from the Liberia flag to Gabon at the beginning of 2024.

The Lavant appears to be a mysterious vessel that is reported to be registered in Comoros without a valid IMO identification number. Russian media reports state the ship was sailing from the UAE to Somalia when the distress call was issued.

According to Sovcomflot, it took them just an hour to reach the position which was 96 nautical miles southeast of Nishtun, Yemen. They reported that the 19 crewmembers, who are from India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, had already left the tanker and were floating in a life raft. 


Rescued crew aboard the Russian tanker (Sovcomflot)


The crew of the NS Africa retrieved the 19 individuals and provided food and water. The media stories are saying the Lavant sank off the east coast of Yemen on June 23.

Sovcomflot’s said that the NS Africa was proceeding to the Suez Canal. They report the rescued individuals will be disembarked at Suez on June 29. 

The UK Maritime Trade Organizations on June 23 said it had received a report from an unnamed vessel in the same location reported by Sovcomflot. They confirmed uncontrolled flooding on the vessel and said the master had informed them that they were abandoning ship.