The Bulgarian ship, Vanessa, carrying a cargo of iron, with 11 crew members, of whom 10 are Bulgarian citizens and one a citizen of Ukraine, sank at 6.00 a.m. Moscow time (3 a.m. GMT) in the Sea of Azov, about 30 miles away from the Kerch Strait.
"Four bodies were lifted on board of rescue vessel Mercury, the fifth crew member is alive, but he is frost-bitten," a spokesman from the naval rescue service in Novorossiisk said.
The relief operation has been currently stopped due to bad weather conditions and will be resumed as soon as the storm in the area settles down, he added.
Last November a storm in the Kerch Strait sank four ships and an oil tanker. At least six sailors died. The incident resulted in about 2,000 metric tons of fuel oil spilling into the sea