At least four sailors have died, four were rescued and eight others remain missing after a cargo ship, a rescue boat and a fishing vessel sank yesterday due to strong storms in the Black Sea near Istanbul’s Şile coast.
The St. Kitts and Nevis-flagged ship Volgo Balt 199, with 11 Ukrainian and one Russian crew member aboard, was sailing to the Turkish port of Antalya from Russiawhen it sank off the coast of Istanbul. The vessel was carrying coal.
Search and rescue teams saved four members of the cargo ship, recovered one body and were searching for seven other crewmen when one of the rescue boats hit rocks and also sank along Şile’s Mendirek shore, killing two of the rescuers, Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters.
Yıldırım said a fisherman whose vessel was accompanying the rescue activity also died.
“The weather conditions are getting worse,” Yıldırım said. Three other rescue team members were missing when the Hürriyet Daily News went to print yesterday.
Tugboats were dispatched to try to help a second cargo ship that was in danger of being overturned by high waves further west off the coast of Istanbul.
Private broadcaster NTV television footage showed the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged BBC Adriatic, with 14 crew members, being battered in the stormy waters.
“The sea conditions are very rough, which is making the rescue operation very difficult,” Salih Orakçı, the head of Turkey’s coastal safety authority, told NTV. “[But] God willing, we will save that ship.”
Orakçı said the Volgo Balt 199 had not sent a distress signal when it disappeared off the radar yesterday.
Şile lies about 40 kilometers east of the northern end of the Bosphorus Strait, the only maritime outlet for cargo from Black Sea countries, including Russian oil and grain.
Some 62 tank ships have reportedly changed their routes due to northeasters that have reached speeds of 80 kilometers an hour.
source: Hurriyet Daily