A Chinese handysize reportedly holed by ice has sunk off Russia.

The 32,500-dwt bulker Yong Xing 56 (built 2008) was lost on 1 March in the Tartar Strait, a week after suffering massive water ingress from a hull breach on 23 February, Russian state maritime agency Rosmorrechflot said.

The crew of 21 Chinese citizens had evacuated the ship by disembarking on to an ice floe before being picked up by Russian owner Sakhalin Shipping’s 80-passenger ferry Sakhalin-8 (built 1985).

The Global Times learned from the Chinese consulate general in Vladivostok that all 21 seafarers were in good condition.

The China-flagged vessel was carrying 29,000 tonnes of cargo from Huanghua in China to the Russian port of Vanino.

Rosmorrechflot personnel found a hole measuring 2 metres by 1.5 metres in its side after the initial incident.

Salvors tried to pump out water in the following days, but ingress continued.

Despite the help of a second rescue vessel, the bulker sank to a depth of 253 meters, the agency reported.

The Interfax news agency said the ship had sent a distress signal last Thursday evening.

Adrift in the ice

The ship and several others had been reported adrift in ice floes, awaiting an ice breaker.

Initial speculation had centred on a collision with another vessel.

The vessel is operated by Ningbo Rongzheng Shipping, which could not be contacted.

The ship has insurance cover through the UK P&I Club.

The bulker was last detained in the US in 2019 with four deficiencies.

Grounds for the detention included problems with the fixed fire extinguishing equipment and pumping, piping and discharge arrangements.