Russian missile strikes Cypriot-owned vessel near Odessa Port
A Cypriot-owned cargo ship, the Kmax Ruler, came under a fatal missile attack as it approached the Ukrainian port of Odesa on Wednesday, resulting in the death of one crew member and injuries to four others. The attack marks a severe escalation in the ongoing conflict, highlighting the risks to commercial shipping in the region.
As reported by the Cyprus Mail, the vessel, managed by Cyprus Sea Lines and owned by prominent Cypriot shipowner Andreas Hadjiyiannis, was preparing to load iron ore destined for China. Sailing under the Liberian flag, the Kmax Ruler fell victim to what Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov describes as one of the 21 deliberate assaults on maritime facilities since Russia withdrew from a UN-mediated agreement that had been in place to protect Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea.
Built-in 2009, the Kmax Ruler is a sizeable bulk carrier, measuring 230 meters long with a 37-meter beam, capable of carrying up to 91,800 deadweight tons. The assault on the vessel underscores the vulnerability of merchant shipping amid the ongoing hostilities and the fragility of export routes that are vital for Ukraine's economy and global supply chains.
Despite the attack's implications for maritime safety and the potential disruption to international trade, the deputy shipping ministry of Cyprus has refrained from commenting on the incident.
*Photo: Cyprus Mai