Ukranian cargo ship breaks in half

Pretty terrifying video here.

Given that LOA / Beam ratio I wonder if that ship was intended to be used in open seas.

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The front fell off!


The ship is the M/V Arvin built in 1975. Her length overall (LOA) is 114 meters and her beam is 14 meters. Flagged in Palau.

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So it’s just a small ship.

Maybe too many bending cycles.

Arvin (ex-Volgo-Balt 189) belonged to a diverse class of river-sea cargo ships built for the Soviet Union in great numbers. They are not designed for unrestricted navigation and a few have sunk in heavy weather.

edit: For example Volgo-Balt 214 in 2019:


She was USSR/Russian from 1975 to 1997, Maltese from 1997 to 2013, Cambodian from 2013 to 2016, and lastly under Palau from 2016. My guess is that the ship had some structural issues and the last owners shopped flags for the least scrutiny.

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You so do not want to see that when you look out of the window.
Sympathies to the poor sods onboard.

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It is the structure in the double bottom that fails first (big noise), then the sides P&S are fractured from bottom up, while the main deck plate is intact acting like a hinge. Bow flips up/down. One hold is flooded but the ship floats on intact hull parts fwd and aft. I wonder what they did then. Aha - proceeded to Turkish port of refuge and is still floating.

Spooky for sure.

Was that supposed to be a joke? Seven people died.


I was told that M/V Arvin managed to reach the Turkish coast yesterday with all aboard safe in calm weather. Ship managed to send a video of the incident. Strange case. I wonder why they couldn’t use the lifeboats.

Here’s some footage filmed from other ships:

edit: Noted that similar footage was already in @Klaveness’s link to @ombugge’s thread.

The last 1/2 a second or so of the very first video showed that the Bridge Team had their survival suits on so maybe they were already aware of impending disaster?
Or they get changed an awful lot quicker than her indoors does.
The recorded conversation prior to the catastrophe doesn’t give any hint of heightened tension though.
Pretty much the standard ‘Whoah, here comes a biggie’ kind of chat.

Not dissimilar to the Derbyshire.


The ship seemed to go down quite quickly, it doesn’t look like they had time to launch the lifeboats they still look in the stowed position in the video.

It didn’t sound like the person making the mayday call on the radio could speak sufficient English to get the appropriate request for assistance quickly. Maybe there was a clearer distress message later after the video cuts.

My father sailed in the great lakes after the second world war with a group called Cliffs, he always spoke about the old boats that snapped in half. This video is terrorfying to see.

High length to beam ratio boats like the Ukrainian.

You were told wrong.

The biggest problem with inland freighters in open waters is that they have no decks to speak of, only a narrow strip running each side of the coaming where you can shuffle along. There are usually no hold subdivisions, at least not below 136m LOA. The hatches are usually lightweight covers placed loosely on top and secured with pins or rods to the coamings, and provide no stiffness. These ships are essentially open topped tubs with no rigidity, and you can watch them twist and bend just from passing a ship’s wake if they’re unladen. It is not uncommon to see older ones at the end of their service life have several cracks at the deck edge, which will quickly propagate down the hullside if the ship is kept in service.

When converting self propelled barges to yachts, weather survivability can be improved by orders of magnitude through welding on a deck and installing stanchions below (or better yet fully welded bulkheads). There are also some new build yachts of similar proportions that are rated RCD C, and they seem to have no issues. My experience is only with smaller craft (motoorspitzen and the like), but I think the principle applies here, even though the footage shows the Arvin at least having proper hatches.

Another thing to be kept in mind is that the Black Sea winter weather is predictably unpredictable. I got caught out along the very same stretch of coast in January 2019, in a boat whose heavy weather capabilities I was not comfortable with. This was after weeks spent waiting in Constanta for what seemed like a promising weather window, only to get hit by rising swells and freezing spray. 500 NM of fetch and deep mid-sea water coupled with a very gently sloping bottom and brackish water can make for an extremely uncomfortable situation.

How someone in his right mind could take an inland freighter into this fray is beyond me. There are few if any places to hide, and once conditions worsened, this only really had one outcome for the Arvin. Poor guys :frowning:

Here, ten months ago, we discussed another similar ship broken in two.
The (empty) tanker ‘Lady Sandra’, at the Malta anchorage.