A Russian intelligence ship sank off the coast of Turkey in the Black Sea on Thursday after colliding with a civilian vessel ferrying livestock.  All 78 members of the Russian crew were safety evacuated from the vessel before it sank, Turkish Coastal Safety authorities said.

According to reports, the Russian intelligence gathering vessel, identified as the Liman, struck the Youzarsif H, a Togo-flagged ship used to transport livestock, as it traversed the Black Sea near the Turkish coast, just north of Istanbul.  The incident is said to have been caused by heavy fog and low visibility.

Immediately upon receiving reports of the incident, Turkish coastal authorities dispatched a tugboat and three fast rescue vessels to aid in the evacuation.  According to local media reports, the Youzarsif H, which was carrying a payload of 8,800 sheep from Romania to Jordan, suffered minor damage to its bow but its crew escaped the incident unharmed.

Russia’s Defense Ministry issued a statement on Thursday confirming that their vessel had gone down, and verifying that all crew members were safely rescued by Turkish authorities are were awaiting transport to a Russian vessel.  According to local media, Turkey’s prime minister, Binali Yildirim, contacted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to express his “sadness” over the mishap.