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Video: Coastal Freighter Breaks Up at Anchor

Published Jan 31, 2021 10:08 PM by Paul Benecki

A new video attributed to the Turkish Ministry of Transport shows the moment that the general cargo ship Arvin broke up at an anchorage off the Black Sea coast of Turkey. 

At the time of the casualty, the Arvin was making a stopover on a voyage from Poti, Georgia to Burgas, Bulgaria. The Turkish Foreign Ministry reported that the ship had sought shelter at the Bartin anchorage on January 15 after encountering rain, strong winds and heavy seas. 

On January 17, as the 46-year-old vessel lay at anchor off Bartin, her hull broke in half in heavy waves. The bridge team made a mayday call, but video evidence suggests that they did not immediately sound the general alarm within the first minutes of the incident. The Arvin split in two and sank shortly after; in video taken from another nearby ship, the chain of her port anchor is intermittently visible as the bow goes under (below).

There were 12 crewmembers on board, including two Russian nationals and 10 Ukrainian seafarers. The initial search was hampered by heavy weather, but six survivors were rescued. The bodies of three more were recovered from the wreck and three crewmembers remain missing.

"In this video, we see how the lives of seafarers are played with by going through surveys even though the sheet metal of a 46-year-old ship has reached the breaking point. Just as it was certain that the MV Bilal Bal ship would sink four years ago, it was certain that the MV Arvin would sink," said the Turkish maritime union Platform of the Sea Workers.

A port state control inspection in Georgia last year found extensive deficiencies on board the Arvin, including deck corrosion and ill-maintained weathertight hatches, according to her Equasis record. 

A survivor brought ashore in Bartin (Image courtesy Turkish Coast Guard)