Three Killed in Poisoning Accident on Iranian Freighter

Along the waterfront at Baku, Azerbaijan, 2012 (file image courtesy Bruno Girin)

By The Maritime Executive 10-19-2018 05:12:17

Three seafarers have been killed and eight poisoned aboard the Iranian freighter Nazmehr during a voyage on the Caspian Sea. The ship was bound from Kazakhstan for Baku, Azerbaijan with a load of grain when an unspecified "chemical substance" sickened the crew. The poison may have been a compound used to protect the grain, according to Parviz Abubekirov, a spokesman for Azerbaijan's health ministry. 

An Azerbaijani patrol vessel responded to the Nazmehr at a position 20 miles off the island of Pirallahi at 0300 hours Friday, and it took the victims aboard to bring them to a nearby port. Three of the crewmembers died before medical help could arrive, according to local media. 

Eight survivors were treated at a toxicology center in Baku, and they will likely be released over the weekend. 

Iranian authorities are investigating the incident, according to Iran's ambassador to Azerbaijan, Javad Jahangirzade. The ambassador told Azerbaijani outlet Trend that the families of the deceased will be compensated. "All crew are Iranians, except for their captain, who is a Ukrainian citizen," Jahangirzade told Mehr News. 

As of Saturday morning the Nazmehr was under way once more, bound for the port of Govzan, according to her AIS signal. 

The 1988-built Nazmehr is a 2,700 dwt freighter. Her last recorded PSC inspection occurred at the port of Astrakhan, Russia in 2015, and officials noted 45 deficiencies. The recorded issues affected firefighting equipment, life rafts, watertight integrity and main engines, among other areas of review. She was sold in 2014 and her current owner is not recorded in Equasis.