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Cleanup begins for leakage from crushed ship

ISTANBUL -Daily News with wires | 1/20/2010 12:00:00 AM |

Istanbul authorities responded to a number of maritime accidents and situations near the Bosphorus in recent days.

Teams have begun cleaning up fuel leaked from the Orçun C, the Moldovan cargo ship that was stranded near Kilyos and split in two at the northern end of the Bosphorus on Tuesday. Officials said there were no sightings of mass deaths of birds or fish in the area due to the leakage.

The Istanbul Governor's Office and the Maritime Secretariat are coordinating the cleanup effort.

“Even a simple fisherman knows the weather conditions around here, how is it that a ship crew do not know and do not take the appropriate precautions,” said Sinan Kayaci, a restaurant owner and fisherman who has lived in the area for 30 years.

“I do not think the restaurant will make a loss from this incident. It has happened before. A portion of the sand has been cleaned up and I think it will be totally clean by the summer, which is our peak season,” said Kayaci.

Mesut Demiroğren, who works for a firm that specializes in open-sea cleanup efforts, said it is diffcult to judge how long the cleanup will take. “I have no idea how much petrol was in the tank after the accident therefore I cannot tell you how long the cleanup will take. There are 55 staff members from the company working on cleaning up the bay. Tomorrow there will be 120.”

Turkish tanker Oruç Reis was also stranded near Kilyos on Tuesday. The ship called for help at 1:55 p.m. and a rescue fleet of 10 speedboats and two tugboats were sent as the seven crewmembers were rescued.

Also on Tuesday, four ships and nine rescue speedboats were sent to help Piper, a Maltese cargo ship, which radioed that it was under threat of sinking due to engine failure near the northern entrance to the Bosphorus. The crew managed to repair the engine and the vessel was escorted back to the strait. But when the engine failed again, the Piper had to be towed to safety to Büyükdere, where it was able to anchor.

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