US-sanctioned Russian ship loaded with military cargo enters Black Sea – media reports
Russian cargo ship Sparta IV (Photo:twitter.com/YorukIsik)
The Russian cargo ship Sparta IV, sanctioned by the U.S. government slipped quietly through the Bosporus Strait into the Black Sea during the hours of darkness with a suspected load of war supplies for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Naval News outlet reported on March 5.
As noted, the ship was loaded in Syria and sailed with a Russian Navy escort. It is expected to unload in the city of Novorossiysk, Russia, a base heavily involved in the invasion of Ukraine.
The Bosporus Straits, which run through Istanbul and are Turkish sovereign waters, is closed to warships due to the war in Ukraine. Russia is instead using auxiliaries and merchant vessels to move war supplies through the straits.
According to Naval News, the Sparta IV is one of four ships owned by SC South LLC, a Russian shipping company which is involved in transporting military equipment. The company and the ship have been sanctioned by the U.S. government under Specially Designated Nationals list (SDN) following the invasion of Ukraine.
Russian media previously reported that the ship arrived in the city of Tartus in Syria carrying humanitarian aid. This followed the devastating earthquake on Feb. 6. The aid was carried in shipping containers on deck. After that, the vessel was loaded in the Russian naval base at Tartus.
Prior to entering the Bosporus, the ship was observed on March 1, 2023, sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean, away from Tartus. It appeared to be escorted by a Russian Navy Project 20380 Steregushchiy class missile corvette.
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