A Russian warship has sunk after colliding with a freighter in the Black Sea off the Turkish coast.
The 78 crew members on board the Russian navy’s intelligence vessel – Liman – were evacuated.
Turkish officials said 15 Russian sailors were rescued after boats and helicopters were dispatched to the area, near the Istanbul coastline.
The crew on the freighter, which was carrying livestock, were also all accounted for and safe.
Shipping agent GAC said the Russian ship and the Togo-flagged vessel – Youzarsif H – collided in fog and low visibility.
Crews had battled to keep Liman afloat, according to the Russian defence ministry, after the crash left a hole in its starboard side.
It said the vessel “sustained a hull breach due to a collision” some 25 miles northwest of the Bosphorus Strait.
It added the crew would all be picked up by a nearby Russian cargo ship, the Ulus Star, and transported to Sevastapol, the home base of the Black Sea Fleet, in the Crimean Peninsula.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s advisers called their Russian counterparts to convey Ankara’s sadness over the collision.
Liman is a former research vessel the Russian navy has transformed into a reconnaissance ship.
In February, military sources told Russian media that it would be observing NATO’s Sea Shield exercise in the Black Sea.
The livestock carrier, built in 1977, has a capacity of 2,418 tonnes and is managed by Nejem Co. Marine Services, according to Thomson Reuters shipping data.
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