Tanker Ship Hit by Missile Off Coast of Ukraine, Injuries Reported: Officials

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Moldova’s national naval agency said that a ship “neutral waters” of the Black Sea was struck by a missile, leaving two crew members seriously injured.

The country’s Naval Agency said in a statement that it’s not clear what country fired at the Moldova-flagged Millennial Spirit on Friday.

“A fire broke out onboard the ship; the equipment and lifeboats were destroyed,” the agency said in a statement. “The ship’s crew left the ship equipped only with life jackets.”

Vadim Pavalachi, the head of the Moldovan naval agency, said that “we just heard 10 minutes ago that all the crew were saved but two were seriously injured and are on the way to [the] hospital,” reported UK media. Pavalachi said that the ship was a a chemical tanker.

The firm that operates the tanker is a Ukrainian legal entity, the agency added, and the crew members are Russian nationals.

Ukrainian authorities carried out a rescue of the sailors, the Moldovan agency said.

Ukrainian officials said that it was a Russian warship that shelled the Moldova-flagged ship, adding that Russian vessels also struck a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship near Odessa, Reuters reported.

“The ship flying the flag of Panama was heading to the Pivdennyi port (ex. Yuzhny) to load grain … There was a fire on the ship, the P&O STAR tug moved to the rescue. The situation is under control,” Ukrainian shipping agent Stark Shipping said in a statement.

The incident came more than a day after Russia mounted an invasion of Ukraine. Officials in Kyiv on Friday evening said they are fearful that Russia would invade the capital city.

On Thursday, Turkish officials said the Turkey-flagged Yasa Jupiter cargo ship was hit by a bomb near Odessa.

“Upon information that the Marshall Islands-flagged Turkish-owned Yasa Jupiter ship was struck by a bomb off the coast of Odessa, it was learned that the ship has no request for help, is en route to Romanian waters, has no casualties, and is safe,” the Turkish Maritime General Directorate wrote on Twitter.

Earlier in the week, Kyiv called on Turkey, a member of NATO, to block the passage of Russian ships from entering the Black Sea—a move that would certainly escalate tensions between Moscow and the bloc.

“Turkey will evaluate the requests and respond as soon as possible,” Ukraine’s ambassador to Ankara, Vasyl Bodnar, told reporters, Reuters reported. “We expect solidarity to be shown.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jack Phillips


Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.

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