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Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported that a Russian Black Sea Fleet patrol ship fired on a bulk carrier named Apache that was cruising towards the Mariupol port in Ukraine.

In a statement, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov noted that the firing was launched to stop the bulk carrier.

Konashenkov said: “A warship and border patrol ships of the Black Sea Fleet opened artillery fire in the path of the intruder vessel to stop its movement. A direct hit set on fire the stern of the vessel.”

The crew contacted the border ships urging for the termination of fire following the Ukrainian cargo vessel going adrift, according to the minister.

The news agency further added that the bulk vessel’s crew confirmed their willingness to follow the orders of the Russian sailors after this.

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By GlobalData

Meanwhile, Maritime Executive reported that the bulk carrier was damaged in the attack by the Russian military.

Apache started its voyage from Turkey in March and reached the Russian port of Rostov-on-Don on 2 April, reported the news agency, citing automatic identification system (AIS) data provided by Pole Star.

Turkish company Misha Shipping owns and manages the bulk carrier.

Last week, Russian armed forces attacked and damaged a Dominica-flagged motor vessel, dubbed Azburg, at the Mariupol port.

Azburg was hit by two missile shells while at berth in the port of Mariupol on 3 April, after it was previously intentionally shelled two times a day.