SS Admiral Nakhimov (Russian: Адмирал Нахимов), launched in March 1925 and originally named SS Berlin, was a passenger liner of the German Weimar Republic later converted to a hospital ship, then a Soviet passenger ship.
On 31 August 1986, Admiral Nakhimov collided with the large bulk carrier Pyotr Vasev in the Tsemes Bay, near the port of Novorossiysk, Russian SFSR, and quickly sank.
At 10:00 p.m. Moscow Time on 31 August 1986, Admiral Nakhimov sailed from Novorossiysk en route to Sochi, its next stop. There were 888 passengers and 346 crew members aboard. Most of the passengers were Ukrainian, with others from Russia, Moldova, the Baltic republics and Central Asia. The captain of the ship was Vadim Markov.
Just minutes into the voyage, the ship's pilot noticed that the large bulk carrier Pyotr Vasev was on a collision course with Admiral Nakhimov. Pyotr Vasev was a Japanese-built, 18,604-ton freighter recently acquired by the Soviet Union, and was carrying a cargo of oats and barley from Canada. The pilot radioed a warning to Pyotr Vasev, and the freighter responded, "Don't worry. We will pass clear of each other. We will take care of everything."
Despite the message, Captain Viktor Tkachenko of Pyotr Vasev did nothing to slow his ship or change course. Convinced that the freighter would pass without incident, Captain Markov of Admiral Nakhimov retired to his cabin, leaving his second mate Alexander Chudnovsky in charge. From 11:00 p.m., Chudnovsky radioed Pyotr Vasev several times, asking about her course and her further actions. Chudnovsky changed the ship's course 10 degrees portside. At 11:10 p.m., Chundovsky cried on VHF to the freighter, "Immediately reverse full astern!" When it was clear that the freighter was headed directly for the ship, Pyotr Vasyov's engines were thrown in reverse. Admiral Nakhimov turned hard to port, but it was too late.
In total, 423 of the 1,234 people on board died.
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