Row grows over missing men in Marmara after ferry passengers’ witnessing
Fırat Alkaç ISTANBUL
AA PhotoA row over five men who went missing in the Marmara Sea has been growing after reports suggesting passengers travelling on a ferry sailing toward Istanbul saw the men fluttering in the sea, but the captain failed to rescue them.
Şükrü Kahraman, 28, Mikayıl Çelik, 30, Yusuf Büyükizgi, 29, Serdar Demir, 25, and Doğan Demir, 21, were sailing on sea bicycles along the shores of the Kumburgaz neighborhood in Istanbul before they went missing on Aug. 17.
While the search operation has failed to find the men so far, it has been revealed that passengers notified the captain of a ferry run by the Istanbul Fast Ferries Co. Inc. (İDO), travelling from Avşa Island to Yenikapı, that they saw people struggling in the sea on the day the five men went missing.
IDO released a statement Aug. 21 confirming the incident, adding the captain performed all necessary procedures and notified the Coastal Safety Department, giving the coordinates of the scene reported by the passengers.
“According to a passenger’s report delivered to the captain by ferry staff, the passengers said they saw something moving in the sea, suspecting it could be a small boat or something else containing people,” the statement said. “In response, despite the voyage performed despite the severe weather conditions, the captain checked [the scene] with a radar system, as well as with field glasses and the naked eye. The captain did not discover a finding and immediately called the Coastal Safety Department and related the location based on the reports from the passengers, notified the ferry and scene’s coordinates and affirmed that they received a report.”
Following IDO’s statement, officials from Regional Coastal Safety Command of Marmara and Straits said the IDO personnel should have moved to rescue the men according to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
“IDO personnel should have intervened when they saw the men, according to the rules of SOLAS. According to the reports, the men waiting for help in the sea were seen and Coastal Safety units were informed. IDO fast ferries are capable of an emergency intervention. It should have intervened instead of leaving them. Our investigation is continuing concerning the [passengers’] report,” officials said.