Turkish Fishing Vessel Sustains Blast Damage in Possible Mine Strike

Hole in the side of a ship's hull
A low-resolution video frame showing the hole, located below the vessel's deckhouse on the starboard bow (via Turkish social media)

Published Nov 10, 2022 11:49 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Wednesday, a Turkish fishing vessel was damaged in an explosion off the coast of Igneada, and the crew believes that they may have struck a naval mine. If true, it would be far from the first drifting mine encountered in the southwestern Black Sea this year. 

The Ahmet Mollaoglu 2 was fishing a few miles off the coast of Igneada on Wednesday night when the crew were startled by the sound of an explosion towards the bow. A blast of unknown origin had ruptured the hull and created a substantial hole in a forward compartment, right at the waterline.

The crew signaled to other nearby fishing vessels and attracted their help. Two boats rafted up with the Ahmet Mollaoglu 2, one on each side, giving the stricken vessel extra stability as they towed it into port. Though a forward compartment was flooded, Ahmet Mollaoglu 2 made it safely back to the pier. 

Luckily, no one had been asleep in the forward berthing area, and all 13 members of her crew were unharmed.

"While we were drinking tea, we suddenly hit the ceiling and landed. The [mate] shouted, 'We are sinking.' When we heard the smell of gunpowder, we realized . . . that a mine had exploded," crewmember Hasan Bicakci told Turkish outlet Aksam.   

The cause of the blast has not been definitively established and an investigation is still under way. 

“Since the source is uncertain, it is too early to say anything about what happened. However, I will explain in more detail at the end of our investigations," promised Birol Ekici, governor of the Kirklareli region. 

Multiple drifting naval mines have been found in the southern Black Sea since the start of the war in Ukraine, including one off the coast of Igneada on March 28 and another off Kiyikoy - about 15 miles south - on October 19.