Crew onboard the Turkish general cargo ship Mehmet Unlu are thought to have staged a mutiny in which the captain appears to have been stabbed in a knife fight, reports say. It is not yet clear what prompted the revolt.
While off the coast of Odessa in Ukraine, the vessel transmitted an SOS signal at 23:25hrs (local time) on Sunday night, in which people were heard screaming and calling out for help, according to reports from Ukraine’s Interfax news agency.
“Apparently, there was a revolt and a knife fight happening. Part of the crew (mainly the Turks) cut off the power onboard the vessel and barricaded themselves inside. The vessel was adrift around the entrance to Yuzhny seaport,” Andriy Stavnitser, the chief of Ukraine’s TIS terminal group, said in a Facebook post quoted by Interfax. TIS is based at Yuzhny port near Odessa.
“The dispatchers at the port called for the Champion tugboat, which came to rescue and towed the vessel away from the rocks. Eyewitnesses say that the vessel was around the entrance to the port at the time. The tugboat’s crew said the entire cabin was covered in blood. The captain lost a lot of blood but is alive,” he went on.
Ukraine’s Alfa special security force and border guards have reportedly boarded the ship. The special unit was deployed after it became clear that part of the crew were being held hostage.
Mehmet Unlu, which is owned by Turkey’s Unlu M Shipping, was en route from Mykolaiv in Ukraine to the port of Aqaba in Jordan when the alleged mutiny took place.