Bodies being recovered from cargo vessel that sank off Istanbul
The 78-meter Turkish-flagged vessel named Bilal Bal set sail from the Gemlik district of the northwestern province of Bursa to the Karadeniz Ereğli district of the Black Sea province of Zonguldak, carrying cast iron. However, a distress signal had been received from the vessel seven miles off the coast of Şile in the early hours of Nov. 1. The vessel and its 10 crew members could not initially be found.
The Turkish coast guard said in a statement on Nov. 3 that the submarine rescue ship belonging to the Navy TGC ALEMDAR’s diver personnel recovered the bodies of three crew members during a rescue dive with special equipment.
The bodies were identified to have belonged to Nihat Küçük and his son Aşkın Küçük.
They were later brought to the Şile coast to a forensics institute, as efforts to reach the remaining crew members have been ongoing.
Separately, the relatives of the missing crew members also arrived at the scene, mourning for their relatives who had been aboard the ship.
In addition, Şile district governor Salih Yüce, Şile mayor Can Tabakoğlu, chief public prosecutor Arif Cemil Özkurşun and the chief medic of Şile State Hospital arrived at the scene to monitor the rescue efforts.
Meanwhile, the Transport Ministry said in a statement that there was no captain on duty on board the vessel, adding that an investigation has been launched into the incident.
It had previously been determined that Bilal Bal had sunk to a depth of 88 meters as life vests and rescue boats that belonged to it had been found.
In addition to the captain, the crew included its second captain, chief engineer, second machinist and seven sailors.
One coast guard plane, one coast guard helicopter and three coast guard boats had been dispatched to the area for rescue works.
Five rescue boats from the coastal safety department and the TCG ALEMDAR had also participated in the rescue efforts.
The submarine rescue ship had later spotted the location where the vessel had sunk on Nov. 1.
The cargo vessel was built in 1974 and has the capacity to carry 2999 DWT, according to the naval website Deniz Haber Ajansı.