Turkish cargo vessel sinks off Istanbul coast
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, according to the transportation ministry.
The ministry stated that a distress signal had been received from the vessel seven miles off the coast of Şile in the early hours of the morning but the vessel and its 10 crew members could not be found.
The vessel had sunk to a depth of 88 meters. Life vests and rescue boats that belonged to it had been found, added the statement.
The crew included Captain Refik Telci, second Captain Cüneyd Yedican, chief engineer Ali Doğan, second machinist Hüsamettin Yazıcı and sailors Mert İlkmen, Nihat Küçük, Aşkın Küçük, Nedim Alicem, Sabri Yıldırım, Engin Selçuk and Vedat Odabaşı, according to the naval news website, Deniz Haber Ajansı.
It had disappeared from the radar off the coast of Şile-Riva. A number of pieces belonging to the vessel and its lifeboat washed ashore.
The coast guard said it dispatched one airplane, one helicopter and three boats to find the vessel and missing crew.
Another five rescue boats from the coastal safety directorate and a submarine rescue ship from the Navy also participated in the search efforts, the ministry said.
Later in the day, the submarine rescue ship TCG ALEMDAR spotted the location where the vessel had sunk, the Marmara coast guard and the Bosphorus command ship said in a statement, adding that search and rescue efforts have been ongoing.
The Istanbul Governor’s Office also stated no crew members had been found on the boats that had drifted ashore.
Şile district governor Salih Yüce also added that none of the crew members had been found and that they were evaluating that the ship had already sunk.
In a speech shortly after the news of the sinking vessel, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım stated the reason it had sunk was unknown, expressing his hope that the rescue works would be successful in finding the crew members unharmed.
The cargo vessel was built in 1974 and has a capacity to carry 2999 DWT, according to Deniz Haber Ajansı.