Turkey searches Black Sea for lost sailors following deadly storms

A cargo ship sank in the Black Sea amid a burst of stormy weather, killing at least one sailor.

A man tries to protect himself from water while strong winds hit the city of Istanbul on November 30, 2021
Severe storms have killed nine people and caused extensive damage throughout Turkey [File: Yasin Akgul/AFP]

Turkey has launched a rescue mission to hunt for 11 missing sailors after deadly storms sank a cargo vessel, killing one.

The ship sank in the Black Sea amid a burst of stormy weather, killing at least one sailor and leaving the remaining 11 crew members missing, Turkey’s interior minister said on Monday.

The weather front that wrecked the vessel killed at least nine people, including the sailor, over the weekend in Turkey.

The Kafkametler cargo ship went down with 12 crew members on board after hitting a seawall 120km (75 miles) east of Istanbul, Turkey’s Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said.

Turkish rescuers, initially held back by the poor weather, on Monday scanned the waters by helicopter in search of the missing sailors. They have recovered the body of one sailor and are continuing to scour the area for those still lost, Yerlikaya said.

The Turkish-flagged ship was transporting ferrosilicon – an alloy used in steelmaking – from the Russian port of Temryuk to Aliaga in Turkey.

Widespread chaos

The storms that broke out in northwestern Turkey caused havoc over the weekend, destroying another cargo ship, forcing the evacuation of a prison, and killing at least nine people.

A Cameroon-flagged vessel split into two due to the treacherous conditions after weathering 5-metre (16-foot) waves near the coastal city of Eregli, the Maritime General Directorate said. All 13 crew members were rescued.

At Eregli’s prison, rising water levels pushed authorities to transfer inmates to surrounding facilities, Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said.

Storms and flooding meanwhile killed at least four people in the southeastern province of Batman, three people in the northern province of Zonguldak and another person in southeastern Diyarbakir, Yerlikaya said.

The turbulent weather followed an especially dry summer that brought Istanbul’s dams to their lowest levels in nine years.

Much of Turkey has been suffering from an extended drought that scientists attribute to climate change and poor water management.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies