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5 Aug, 2023 00:08

Ukraine attacks Russian oil tanker in Black Sea – media

The ship was off the coast of Crimea when its engine room flooded, Russia’s maritime agency has said
Ukraine attacks Russian oil tanker in Black Sea – media

Russian maritime rescue units were deployed early on Saturday to assist an oil tanker off the coast of Crimea. The vessel was left without propulsion after what reports suggest was a strike by a Ukrainian drone.

In a statement on Telegram, Russia’s Federal Agency for Sea and Inland Water Transport said that the oil carrier had its hull breached near the engine room “presumably, as a result of a sea drone attack.” The agency said that the incident occurred south of the Crimean Bridge, which had been targeted by a Ukrainian drone raid last month.

It added that none of Sig’s 11 crew had been wounded and that the vessel remains afloat and is no longer taking on water.

Two tugboats dispatched to help the ship have already arrived and repair works are underway, officials said.

Against the backdrop of an apparent Ukrainian attack, traffic on the Crimean Bridge was stopped just before midnight, with local authorities saying there was a threat of a drone attack. In this vein, Oleg Kryuchkov, adviser to the head of Crimea, said that “loud noises” heard by local residents had nothing to do with the bridge.

Meanwhile, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev blamed the reported attack on Ukraine, accusing Kiev of trying to orchestrate an environmental disaster in the Black Sea.

Vasiliy Malyuk, the head of Ukraine’s Security Service, also hinted at the possible role of Kiev in the incident, describing “all special ops in Ukraine’s territorial waters as completely legal.”

Ukrainian sea drones attacked the Black Sea Fleet base at Novorossiysk early on Friday. Kiev also tried to sink civilian ships sailing towards the Bosphorus on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding that all attacking craft had been destroyed by military escorts.

There has been no official confirmation following rumors that Ukraine had once-again tried to target the Crimean Bridge with maritime drones.

The bridge, connecting Kerch with Taman, has come under attack twice so far. In October 2022, a truck loaded with explosives detonated on one of the spans, killing three people and causing damage that took months to repair. Last month, a drone boat blew up under one of the segments, killing two civilians and a 14-year-old girl. The July attack damaged only one lane of the roadway and authorities restored a partial flow of traffic within a day.

Earlier this week, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Aleksey Danilov, said the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) was involved in both incidents.