On October 15, the tanker Ali Najafov detonated on a mine in the Black Sea, informs oglavnom.
The incident, as reported by Sky News, occurred off the coast of Romania. It is known that the tanker, sailing under the flag of Liberia, sustained minor damages, and the crew was unharmed. This is the second vessel in October to encounter a floating mine in the Black Sea. On October 6, the commercial vessel Kafkametler, sailing under the flag of Turkey, detonated on a mine in the Black Sea.
Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has polluted the Black Sea waters with mines. These mines are often carried onto the shores in the southern regions of Ukraine and frequently detonate off the coast of Romania, posing a serious threat to navigation. According to some data as of May 2022, Russians had placed between 400 to 600 mines in the Black Sea waters. In July 2023, Russia laid additional sea mines at the approaches to Ukrainian ports and stated that it could attack civilian vessels in the Black Sea.
During a meeting with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte in Odessa on October 13, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated, «It is important now that the world is united and solidary in the defense and support of Ukraine’s efforts in protecting the ports of the Black Sea, particularly in Odessa and Danube.» In this context, it should be noted that one of the outcomes of the 16th meeting of NATO defense ministers within the framework of the contact group on Ukrainian defense issues, in which Volodymyr Zelensky participated for the first time, was the decision of Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania to create a special unit for demining the Black Sea in November of this year. Officials also added that the initiative would be purely peaceful and «would not bring any new NATO ships to the Black Sea.» One official clarified that the mission’s goal is to demonstrate that the three countries are capable of independently solving such a problem. Additionally, as noted by Bloomberg, the establishment of the demining unit will be the first major joint action by allies in the Black Sea after Russia began a full-scale war against Ukraine. The relevance of creating this unit is confirmed by a statement from the UK Foreign Office on October 4, indicating that Russian forces could attack civilian vessels carrying Ukrainian grain by setting up minefields at the approaches to Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea. London noted that Russia is developing a plan to sink ships with Ukrainian grain in the Black Sea, but the Russians want to do it secretly. After this, Russia, in its accustomed manner, will try to shift all responsibility onto Ukraine.