Cargo ship breaks in half off Turkey

Published on February 2nd, 2021

When Vendée Globe skipper Kevin Escoffier was forced to abandon his IMOCA off of Cape Town this past November when it folded up on a wave at 27 knots, it was hard to imagine a 60-foot boat incurring such sudden catastrophic hull failure.

“It’s unbelievable what happened,” acknowledged Escoffier. I heard a bang, looked at the bow, and it was at 90°. In a few seconds, there was water everywhere. The stern was under water and the bow was pointing up to the sky. The boat split in half in front of the mast bulkhead. It was as if she folded up. I promise. I’m not exaggerating. There was an angle of 90° between the stern and the bow.”

While Esoffier was successfully recovered by nearby competitors, any images of the accident sank quickly with the 2009 VPLP-Verdier designed PRB. However, another recent disaster captured the incident on video.

Onboard cameras captured the shocking moment a 114 meter cargo ship was broken in two by a huge wave off Turkey’s Black Sea province of Bartin. Thirteen crew were onboard when the Ukrainian-owned Arvin sank in heavy seas on January 16 after the wave snapped its keel near the bow. Only six of the crew were rescued.

The Turkish Maritime Authority released the video, which also recorded crew members making a mayday call for help on the voyage between Georgia and Bulgaria. Built in 1975, the survivors reported the ship sank in about five minutes.

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