Listen to this article A Russian Vessel Carrying Military Equipment Enters The Black Sea
Recently, reports emerged that the MV Sparta IV, a Russian vessel, has entered the Black Sea. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has led to the closure of the Bosporus Straits, which fall under Turkish jurisdiction and are located in Istanbul, to warships. This makes the recent sighting of the Russian ship MV Sparta IV entering the Black Sea a significant development. Russia has instead been using auxiliaries and merchant vessels to move war supplies through the straits.
Ship and Cargo Details
MV Sparta IV is one of four ships owned by SC South LLC, a Russian shipping company that is involved in transporting military equipment. The ship has been sanctioned by the U.S. Government under Specially Designated Nationals list (SDN) following the invasion of Ukraine.
Defense analysts have been tracking the ship’s voyage, and it has been photographed by respected ship spotter and defense expert Yörük Işık. The photographs provide valuable information, adding to or confirming other sources.
The ship is expected to unload in Novorossiysk, a base heavily involved in the invasion of Ukraine. Naval News has seen evidence which indicates that this latest ship is carrying military vehicles and/or other war supplies. Shipping containers have been placed on the deck, but the contents are not visible.
Prior to entering the Bosporus, MV Sparta IV was observed on March 1, 2023, sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean away from Tartus. It appeared to be escorted by a Russian Navy Project 20380 Steregushchiy class missile corvette, which reinforces the suspicion that the ship is carrying sensitive cargo.
This latest shipment is part of a pattern. MV Sparta IV is a related vessel to the one that shipped Russian S-300 air defense missiles in August 2022. That shipment, on Sparta II, also set off from Tartus in Syria and was delivered to Novorossiysk. Sparta IV has herself previously been noted conducting similar suspected arms shipments to Novorossiysk.
The ship’s voyage has raised suspicions and caused controversy, particularly because of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The ship’s destination and the contents of the cargo are not yet known, but given the history of the ship and its owners, many are concerned about the potential implications of this latest shipment.