Russians sink Dominican cargo ship in Ukraine

(MARIUPOL, Ukraine) — The Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration reports that motor vessel Azburg was indiscriminately attacked, sunk and destroyed while at berth in Mariupol, Ukraine.

On April 4, the vessel was heavily fired upon by Russian armed forces after they intentionally shelled the vessel twice a day earlier. Specific characteristics of firing on the vessel remain unknown; crew reported shelling, bombing and repeated hits by missiles, causing a fire in engine room. Further reports of heavy fighting and intensive shelling in the port area by Russian armed forces were received by the administration.

The motor vessel Azburg on fire in the Port of Mariupol. Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration photo

The administration also received information that as a result of the attack and spreading fire, Azburg sank at berth 16 in the port.

The crew managed to evacuate and found refuge on board neighboring vessels. One person was found wounded and received medical assistance. The crew currently remains under an immense amount of fear and stress and needs to be evacuated to a safe area immediately.

No further information is available; communication with people in the area is very difficult.

The Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration urges the Russian Federation to withdraw its forces from Ukraine and respect its obligations under relevant international treaties and conventions. The immediate evacuation of all civilians from the Port of Mariupol, including the entire crew of Azburg, should be organized with the highest degree of priority and urgency.

The administration furthermore wishes to emphatically point out the current risks the crew and the environment are facing. People are facing the risk and reality of loss of life and/or serious injury and are likely to be deeply traumatized by the current events. On top of that, current events are seriously damaging the marine environment. Normal safety requirements and (port) emergency response plans are currently not fully operational or are completely absent. Medical emergencies, firefighting operations, oil spill response, abandon ship and safe navigation is currently not sufficient or not possible at all.

The administration urgently calls upon all relevant United Nations, governmental and industry bodies to take immediate and direct action to address this serious issue for health and well-being of humans, the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.

– Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration


By Rich Miller