Video: Another Volgo-Balt Freighter Sinks, Leaving Two Dead

Image courtesy Ukraine Maritime Administration

Published Mar 11, 2021 6:15 PM by The Maritime Executive

Two seafarers are dead and one is missing after another Volgo-Balt class coastal freighter sank in the Black Sea. It is the third sinking involving a vessel of this Soviet-era class in as many years, and inspection records suggest that - like the first two - this ship had attracted PSC scrutiny. 

At about 0440 hours on Thursday, the Comoros-flagged freighter Volgo Balt 179 sent a distress call at a position about 75 nm off Constanta. Surface conditions were rough, but good samaritan rescue operations began right away, according to Romanian offshore vessel operator Grup Servicii Petroliere. The vessel GSP Falcon received the call and responded quickly to the scene. Her crew pulled ten people on board, including a group of survivors in a life raft. 

The GSP Falcon's crew provided the survivors with medical care, and one was medevaced for hospital treatment.

Ukraine's government has released the names of the casualties: the deceased are Captain Oleksandr Borysenko and electrician Hrohoriy Lysachenko, and chief mate Ramzan Bolatkhanov is missing. 

The Ukrainian-owned vessel was under way from Rostov-on-Don on a voyage to Constanta. At the time of the casualty, winds were blowing about 30 mph, with 13-foot waves. 

Volgo Balt 179 was a Soviet-era coastal freighter built in 1973. Her Equasis records shows a long history of PSC deficiencies and detentions: every port state inspection she had between 2000 and 2021 resulted in deficiency entries, save one in 2014. 

Her last PSC inspection, conducted in Rostov-on-Don eight days ago - just before the casualty voyage - found hull corrosion and improperly secured watertight doors, along with faulty fire pumps. 

A sister ship, the 1978-built Volgo Balt 214, broke up and sank in rough weather in January 2019, with six fatalities. 

Another sister ship, the 1975-built Volgo Balt 189 (renamed Arvin), broke up while at anchor this January. Three crewmembers were found dead, with three more missing.