A Romanian minesweeper ship, the Lt. Dimitrie Nicolescu, tasked on Thursday with neutralizing a war mine drifting in the territorial waters of the Black Sea was hit by the mine during the intervention.
The ship arrived on location on Thursday at around 5:45 p.m., in the area where the sea mine was reported by the pipe-laying vessel GSP Falcon.
“According to the operational procedures for these interventions, a team of EOD divers came on board the ship, with a boat specialized in the research into and collection of information about the object that represents a danger to navigation, in order to neutralize it,” a statement from the Romanian Navy said.
“The hydrometeorological conditions in the maritime district where the war mine was located worsened after the arrival of the minesweeper in the district due to the intensification of the wind speed (10-12 m/s), the sea having degree 4 waves (with a height of 1.5 – 2 meters). This situation did not allow for leaving the EOD boat in the water and carrying out the mission,” the Navy added.
The cited source mentioned the military ship was hit by a sea mine carried adrift by the storm.
“Although safety measures were taken after dark, as a result of unfavorable weather conditions, the military ship was hit by a sea mine, which was carried adrift by the storm,” the Navy explained.
The impact reportedly produced a small hole towards the back of the ship.
“There are no victims or injured as a result of the explosion. The 75 soldiers of the ship’s crew are not in danger, the ship’s buoyancy is not affected, and there are no major damages on board,” the Navy confirmed.
Immediately after the mine exploded, the ship’s crew acted to plug the water hole and limit the effects of seawater entering the compartment towards the ship’s rear.
“By the order of the Chief of Staff of the Naval Forces, the maritime ship with divers ‘Grozavul’ left the port of Constanța to provide assistance and to tow the damaged minesweeper to the port of Constanța,” the Navy said.
Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, 28 sea mines have been detonated in the western Black Sea region — three such operations were carried out by Turkey, two by Romania, one by Bulgaria and 22 by Ukraine.
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) announced on March 19 that the Ukrainian Navy had mined the ports of Odessa, Ochakiv, Chornomorsk, and Pivdenny. According to the FSB, some of the more than 420 sea mines were carried away by storms and now threaten shipping in the Black Sea.