MOSCOW - A rescue operation was underway in the Black Sea on Wednesday after a cargo ship sank with 12 crew members on board, three of which have been located alive, Russian authorities said.
The "Geroi Arsenala," a dry-cargo ship under Panamanian flag carrying grain from the Russian port of Azov to Turkey, sent a distress signal some 14 kilometers (8.6 miles) off the Crimean Peninsula coast, said Russian transport officials.
"According to investigators in the area, rescuers were able to pull three sailors out of the water. The whereabouts of the remaining crew is yet to be established," Russia's Investigative Committee told Interfax news agency.
The vessel broke in half and capsized amid heavy seas around 3:40 am local time, the Russian federal agency for maritime and river transport(Rosmorrechflot) said.
Rosmerrechflot told Interfax that on board the vessels were two Russians, including the captain, nine Ukrainians and one Georgian.
Search and rescue operations, involving several ships and a helicopter, were being hampered by adverse weather conditions.