Turkey on alert against naval mines floating in Black Sea: Minister
Turkey’s minehunter vessels and maritime patrol aircraft are closely monitoring waters off Turkish coasts in the Black Sea to detect and defuse drifting sea mines, the country’s defense minister has said.
Following a cabinet meeting held in Ankara late on March 28, Hulusi Akar answered reporters’ questions regarding the drifting sea mines believed to be moving toward Turkish coasts from Ukraine.
When asked about the measures taken against the sea mines, the minister pointed out that the fight against sea mines was a technical issue and emphasized that it is part of the work and concept of the Turkish Armed Forces.
“Our minehunter vessels and naval patrolling ships are all vigilant. Every tip-off received is immediately evaluated and necessary action is taken,” Akar said, adding the detected mines would be eliminated immediately.
Regarding the number of sea mines that were reported to have been detached from their equipment, Akar said that there were contradictory statements on the subject.
The minister also noted that efforts to identify the source and the number of drifting mines were still underway.
Turkey’s authorities said on March 28 that a second mine, which could have come from Ukraine, was discovered near its coastline, while Romania also said a mine had been found off its Black Sea coast.
Russia had warned more than a week ago that some aged mines that Ukrainians had deployed in the Black Sea against its invading troops had become dislodged from their cables by storms and could drift as far as the Bosphorus and the Mediterranean Sea.
Several days ago, Turkish authorities warned via the NAVTEX maritime alert system that there was a risk of mines floating from Ukrainian waters after being dislodged from their anchors by storms.