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Vessel Hit 23nm ESE Odesa

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Reporting from the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority reported that the Panamanian flagged cargo vessel HELT (IMO8402589) has been struck whilst anchored 23nm ESE Odesa Port.

Reporting stated that the vessel was fired upon and received a hole below the waterline. Images appear to indicate an attack commensurate with a mine strike. The last report from the vessel indicated a list of 70 degrees, with the comments, we sit on the raft. At 12:18hrs local the HELT is understood to have disappeared from radar. The 6 crew members of the vessel are reported to  be in satisfactory condition after being rescued  by search and rescue vessel SAR01 and SAR02. 

The incident is understood to have occurred approximately 6nm South of Mine warning area D as detailed in the NAVAREA III Warning 092/22. 

Reports of the incident involving the HELT follow reporting on the 02 March 22 by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine stating that Russian forces had taken the MV HELT hostage. While tit is unclear what specifically was meant by the term hostage, a statement read, "Yesterday, the Russians killed a citizen of Bangladesh on the Banglar Samriddhi ship, which was on the roadstead near Mykolaiv, and the day before they took the HELT dry cargo ship hostage. At the same time, the Russians use the HELT ship as a shield to hide behind it from Ukrainian anti-ship weapons, because Ukrainians do not shoot at civilian objects," the State Border Guard Service said on Facebook on Thursday.

The reporting comes as a total of 8 other commercial vessels have been involved in incidents since Russia invaded Ukraine. Three vessels have been detained, and another five have been struck by missiles, including the Bangladeshi flagged BANGLAR SAMRIDDHI on the 02 March 22 the NAMURA QUEEN (IMO9841299) and the MILLENNIAL SPIRIT (IMO7392610) on the 25th of February, and the YASA JUPITER (IMO9848132) on the 24th of February.