Fears continue to rise for the ships caught in the fighting in Ukraine with additional reports of vessels coming under attack or being stopped in the region. On Thursday morning, reports from Bangladesh indicate that a third engineer was killed by an artillery or missile attack near Mykolaiv.
The bulker Banglar Samriddhi, a four-year-old bulker registered in Bangladesh was reported stranded at the anchorage off the Port of Olvia, located in the Mykolaiv region on the northern Black Sea coast. The 38,800 dwt vessel said that it had a crew of 29 with supplies to last no more than two weeks. After the beginning of the war, the crew reported that they were stranded when Ukraine closed its seaports. They called on the Bangladesh government to take the steps necessary to rescue them, and the Bangladesh Shipping Corporation said that its chartering department was working to move the vessel to a safe location.
The Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority is reporting that the vessel was struck earlier today by one Russian missile hitting the superstructure of the vessel. The Ukrainian authorities reported that two tugs were sent to assist the vessel and that they believed there were no injuries among the crew.
However, two Bangladeshi newspapers, The Business Standard and the Financial Express, report that the third engineer of the vessel was killed during the attack. The reports said that the crew was able to control the fire after the vessel was hit and that the other crew members were uninjured.
International organizations have been attempting to aid the crews of the vessels while Ukraine and members of the European Union are calling on the International Maritime Organization to take action to aid the vessels caught in Ukrainian ports. The IMO has not yet responded to the calls, but at the beginning of the Russian attack, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim issued a statement that in part read, “The security situation in Ukraine is impacting trade by sea. The safety of marine personnel including seafarers is vital. I urge all parties to take steps to ensure the protection of seafarers, vessels, and cargo. IMO will continue to evaluate the developing security situation.”
Security analysts Dryad Global is reporting that three other vessels had previously come under attack by Russian missiles or bombs in the past week. One of the incidents reportedly set a small product tanker on fire but there were no confirmed deaths in the previous attacks. One of the vessels that was struck by a missile, the Japanese-owned bulk carrier Namura Queen left the Odessa area after the attack last Friday and has arrived safely in eastern Turkey for repairs. The vessel had been loading corn near Odessa when the war began. Dryad also reports that three other commercial vessels were detained by the Russians.
The UK charity Stella Maris is one of the organizations seeking to aid the seafarers. The charity reports that its chaplains and ship visitors are working to support all seafarers during the current crisis. They have been providing support to both Ukrainian and Russian seafarers and those seafarers whose ships have had to navigate areas affected by the conflict, including making phone cards and data SIMs available to seafarers free of charge.