Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ukrainian Ship Sinks Off Bulgaria

A 5,000-ton Ukrainian cargo ship with 13 crewmembers onboard has sunk off the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria in stormy weather. The Tolstoy, which was sailing under the North Korean flag, sank 20 km (12 miles) off Bulgaria's coast. It disappeared from radar screens at 4 a.m. (0100 GMT) on Saturday and all crew were missing, the country's transport minister Petar Mutafchiev was quoted by AP as saying. The vessel, carrying scrap metal to the Turkish port of Nemrut, did not send out a distress signal, the head of the Bulgarian maritime office Nikolai Apostolov said.Following the incident, Bulgaria dispatched air force choppers to search the area for survivors. Military and commercial ships have also joined the rescue mission. Rescue workers have thus far failed to locate the missing Ukrainian crewmembers or the Russian captain of the Tolstoy. Earlier this week another Ukrainian ship, the Faina, was captured by Somali pirates. The pirates later demanded a USD 35-million ransom to release the vessel, which was carrying tanks and munitions to Kenya.

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