Bulgaria sea coast

Romania defuses drifting mine off Black Sea

A tanker moored in a gas and oil quay at the port of Constanta in Romania.

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The Romanian army carried out a controlled explosion of a naval mine that had drifted near the Black Sea coast on Sunday evening, the defense ministry said.

Mines began floating in the Black Sea after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, and military dive teams from Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey defused those drifting in their waters.

Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of planting them.

The Black Sea is crucial for shipping grain, oil and petroleum products. Its waters are shared by Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Turkey, as well as Ukraine and Russia.

The Romanian Defense Ministry said the mine defused on Sunday, the second handled by the Romanian military since March, was drifting about 2 nautical miles off the Romanian coast.

Lost mines pose risks to merchant ships and supply chains.

Insurance costs for tankers crossing the Black Sea have skyrocketed.

A new Romanian offshore gas platform in the Black Sea which started operating in June had to be launched without insurance because it is unavailable due to risks posed by the war in Ukraine, including mines detected in the waters at proximity.