On Thursday 11th March, 2021 around 0440 hrs local time the vessel VOLGO-BALT 179 with 13 crew sent out a distress call while she was on her way to Constanta, Romania from Russia in a storm with 4 metres swell.
One of the vessels that deployed in response to the call was the diving support vessel (DSV) GSP FALCON operated by Romanian offshore services company Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP). Minutes after the first distress call was sent, VOLGO-BALT 179’s crew sent out a radio call saying that they were abandoning ship. The DSV arrived at the scene and eventually pulled 10 survivors and two deceased crewmembers out of the water. Crew were all Ukrainian Nationals including a female who was also among the rescued survivors. One crew member is missing
Below image is of the vessel WELLSERVICER entering Grand Harbour, Malta on 20th September, 2015 before she was acquired by GSP and renamed GSP FALCON in 2018.
VOLGO-BALT 179 was a Soviet-era coastal freighter built in 1973 at Slovakia. Her Equasis records shows a long history of PSC deficiencies and detentions with every port state inspection she had between 2000 and 2021 resulted in deficiency entries, save one in 2014. Her last PSC inspection, conducted in Rostov-on-Don eight days ago just before the casualty voyage, hull corrosion was found and improperly secured watertight doors, along with faulty fire pumps. She was homeported at Moroni at Comoros (COM) of which before she was homeported at Freetown in Sierra Leone (SLE).
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Published – Tuesday 16th March, 2021.