As she sailed to Turkey from the Russian Port of Azov laden with a cargo of grain, the 2,850 dwt Geroi Arsenala managed to send a distress signal before she disappeared from radar and foundered at around 0400. Rescue crews were dispatched immediately to her location but high winds and rough seas have hampered the operations. Nine Ukrainians, two Russians and a Georgian made up the 12 man crew of the Geroi Arsenala. According to reports, three of the crew members have been found alive though some are suffering from hypothermia, with two found dead with others sighted but with no chance to reach them before they disappeared.
After the distress call was received by the Marine Rescue Coordination Service (MRCC Novorossiysk) at least six ships, reportedly 5 merchant vessels and a rescue boat, and a helicopter have been engaged in the search and rescue attempt, which so far has involved up to 200 people in the operation. Russian officials have reported that there is no visible oil spill at the scene. The ship is owned and operated by Gunes Shipping, a Turkish company based in Istanbul.