A freighter carrying livestock from Romania to Jordan smashed into a Russian military vessel in the Bosphorus Strait, piercing its hull in the collision and forcing it to sink entirely.

The Russian warship, called “Liman”, was part of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea. It was a reconnaissance vessel and was apparently returning from a mission in the Mediterranean Sea. The 17 sailors on the ship were rescued.

Meanwhile, the cargo ship suffered no significant damage in the collision and was able continue its journey once the investigation into this incident was completed. The cargo, under Togo flag, had a crew of 78 and was carrying 8,800 sheep.

The intelligence-gathering ship was part of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. The Russian sailors were taken onboard two motor boats of the Turkish Coast Guard.

The Russian defence ministry confirmed the loss of the military ship. Both Russian officials and the Russian media are hiding the details of the incident and the nature of the freighter and of its cargo. No mention is made of the sheep carried, nor of the Togo flag, in an effort to avoid official embarrassment.

The Bosphorus, which cuts through Istanbul, is one of the world’s most important waterways for transit of oil and grains. The 17-mile waterway connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had a telephone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yidlirim, in the course of which he thanked the Turkish side for the prompt and efficient collaboration and assistance in the rescue of the crew of the Russian military ship.