An investigation has begun after two Russian crew members died on a dredger off a Bulgarian port.

The seafarers, aged 32 and 58, were found in the cargo hold of the 2,000-dwt trailing suction hopper ship Milford (built 1983) near Varna on Monday night, according to Bulgarian maritime officials.

The cause of death is not yet known.

The BNT television channel said the Milford’s master reported the deaths on the Belize-flag ship.

The local prosecutor’s office is working on the case, the broadcaster added.

A forensic examination was also underway, and the dredger was due to stay in the port of Varna while the probe continued.

The vessel had left Burgas in Bulgaria on 3 July and arrived in Varna on Tuesday. The ship is due to head to Constanta in Romania.

Maritime Bulletin said the dredger stopped on Monday evening and started to drift around 2030 local time for a short period, and then headed into Varna.

There was a crew of 14 Russians on board.

Deficiencies found in Cyprus

The vessel is operated by Glanford of Varna, which could not be contacted.

The Milford has insurance cover through the Shipowners Club in the UK.

The Equasis database shows no port state control detentions for the dredger.

The most recent check in Limassol, Cyprus, in February found three deficiencies, involving a missing ship’s certificate, inadequate bunker delivery notes and a lack of information in the voyage plan.