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  • 2017 April 19 15:50

    Worn dry cargo ship Geroi Arsenala was sold by Ukrrichflot (Ukraine) to Gunes Shipping (Turkey) 4 years ago

    The Ukrainian shipping company Ukrrichflot was the previous owner of the Geroi Arsenala cargo ship (Project Volgo-Balt 2-95A/R project, flag of Panama flag). As IAA PortNews was informed, the dry cargo ship, which required significant expensive repairs, was sold about four years ago by the Ukrainian company to the Turkish shipping company Gunes Shipping. According to unconfirmed information, the Turkish shipowner did not perform the required scope of repair works. The ship is currently in the class of the Shipping Register of Ukraine.

    Experts say age-related problems are typical for vessels of mixed sea/river class when they are about 30 years old. Although the maximum service life of such vessels is 45 years, the costs of repair often make their owners opt for selling them. If a ship is not decommissioned for scrap, her new owner often continues her operation without repair.

    This problem was brought up by Professor Gennady Yegorov on 25 January 2017, at the hearings held by the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation for discussion of measures to implement the decisions of the Presidium of Russia’s State Council aimed at the development of inland water ways through long-term state support to domestic construction of civil ships: “An essential trend has been revealed – scrapping of old ships of mixed river/sea ​​navigation is performed  beyond the jurisdiction of Russia, since, amid the toughening requirements of RS and RRR, it is not profitable to operate vessels under the flag of Russia. Therefore, they are sold to foreign shipowners (usually Turkish ones), reflagged and after changing their class to a less demanding one, continue to carry the same cargo as earlier (from the southern ports of Russia). In fact, new owners "finish off" those vessels before they are scrapped. With new flags and classes, such ships provoke various incidents and accidents. Casualties are actually caused to a great extent by such "gray" mode of operation. Ordinary analysis does not reveal such “career ending” of sea/river going vessels. The actual age of decommissioning for such vessels is about 45-50 years. Meanwhile, about 10% of ships are lost in disasters by that age. "

    According to him, 44 out of 73 Volgo-Balt ships of Project 2-95 built in Czechoslovakia (the first series) have been written off (10% - 7 ships - lost in disasters, 51% - 37 ships – scrapped in the 21st century, and 1 vessel - by 2000). 27 vessels with average age of 46.4 years are in operation including only 9 ships sailing under the flag of Russia.

    On 18 April 2017, the Geroi Arsenala loaded with of 3,500 t of grain left the Russian port of Azov after undergoing a port control procedure. The ship master did not report any problems before the disaster.

    Rescue operation is underway in the Black Sea to save crew members of the Geroi Arsenala, which transmitted the signal "SOS" 14 nautical miles off the shore.

    One survivor in life jacket with signs of severe hypothermia was found and taken on board the Armada Navigator, four more were found in the water.

    The rescue operation is involved in the aviation of RF Ministry of Emergencies: a helicopter with three rescuers on board left Rostov-on-Don at 06:57 (Moscow time). This work is complicated by unfavorable weather conditions - a strong south-west wind gusts up to 20 m / s, and sea waves up to 4 points.

    The vessel was carrying 12 crewmembers including 9 Ukrainian citizens, 2 Russian citizens and one citizen of Georgia.

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