At least 12 dead as boat capsizes in Ukraine

At least 12 dead and one missing after boat capsizes off coast of Odessa

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Ukrainian Coast Guard vessels are docked in the Black Sea port of Odessa, May 7, 2014.

At least 12 people were killed when a boat sailing off the southern Ukrainian coast of Odessa capsized in the Black Sea on Saturday.

Twenty-three of 36 people on board the boat were rescued, according to the BBC. One person is still missing.

“This morning the small boat 'Ivolga' departed for a goby fishing trip on the Dniester Estuary, with 33 passengers and three crew members on board,” the deputy head of the Odessa regional administration, Vladimir Zhmak, announced in a statement.

“At about 3:30pm [local time] on the return trip, the boat overturned, about 1 kilometre from shore,” the statement added.

It is not clear if the boat, which overturned near the town of Zatoka, was carrying passengers or fishermen, but an investigation has been launched by the Kiev government into what caused the accident by order of Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

However, a report in Russia Today cited local authorities saying the boat had set sail despite weather warnings and lacked life vests for those on board.

The report also stated that the boat was overloaded as its maximum capacity was 25 people, including three crew members.

Odessa governor and former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili cancelled his visit to western Ukraine upon receiving news of the tragedy.

Saakashvili plans to visit the scene of the incident, and has declared Sunday a day of mourning in Odessa.

TRTWorld and agencies