Dead captain found guilty in Istanbul sea crash
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
The deadly crash on Dec. 4, 2012 took place when Istanbul was hit by a severe storm. Turkish rescue boats also sank. DHA photoAn expert report has found that a rescue boat that sank while trying to rescue another ship was insufficiently prepared, after a prosecutor’s demand to investigate high ranking officials was blocked by the Transport Ministry.
The deadly crash on Dec. 4, 2012 took place when Istanbul was hit by a severe storm. The St. Kitts and Nevis-flagged ship Volgo Balt 199, with 11 Ukrainian and one Russian crew member aboard, sunk off the Black Sea coast of Istanbul while sailing to the Turkish port of Antalya from Russia.
Prosecutor insists for investigation
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 three of the rescuers.
Captain Cemil Özben, engine operator Mehmet Genç, Yağcı Turgay Sarıboğa and fisherman Mümin Akgün were killed, while seaman Ahmet Kasarcı injured.
Şile Public Prosecutor Asena Demirkol subsequently launched an investigation into the incident and waited for the expert report. The 12-page-report, which was prepared by a group of engineers and occupational safety specialists, said Captain Özben was on his off day and had taken on the mission on the insistence of his seniors.
The failure to rescue him also showed that no practices were held before the incident to avoid such a death. The relatives of the dead crew members said Director General of Coastal Safety Salih Orakçı had forced them to set sail for the rescue work despite the unwillingness of the crew.
On April 12, the prosecutor asked for permission to open an official investigation into Orakçı, but the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Audit Services Chair denied the demand.
Prosecutor Demirkol then penned an objection to the ministry that the rejection of her demand was not lawful, and demanded that the obstacle to an investigation be removed.