The vessel, which was at anchor, was hit by an explosion below the waterline – consistent with a mine strike, and was reported to be listing at 70 degrees.
The Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority said the six crew from the stricken cargoship were rescued by search and rescue boats SAR 1 and SAR 2 and taken port of Chornomorsk. The rescued crew were reported to be in “good condition”.
The 2,086 dwt, 1985-built, general cargoship is operated by Estonian firm Vista Shipping Agency and flagged with Panama.
The Helt is the fifth commercial vessel to be hit since Russia invaded the Ukraine 8 days ago. On 3 March the Bangladeshi bulker, Banglar Samriddih was hit by missile, as were the Yasa Jupiter on 24 February, and Namura Queen and Millennial Spirit on 25 February.