Ship Sinks Off Istanbul; Some Crew Still Missing

December 5, 2012

Turkish rescuers recovered a body and saved four members of the crew of a cargo ship that sank in a storm in the Black Sea on Tuesday and were searching for seven other missing crewmen, officials said. A second ship was in danger of being overturned by high waves.

The St. Kitts and Nevis-flagged ship, Volgo Balt 199, with 11 Ukrainians and one Russian crew member aboard, was sailing to the Turkish port of Antalya from Russia when it sank off the coast of Istanbul, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. The vessel was carrying coal.

Istanbul’s Gov. Huseyin Avni Mutlu and the Coastal Safety authority said rescue boats and a helicopter found four of the crew alive and recovered the body of a fifth. Seven others were still missing.

Tug boats meanwhile, were dispatched to try and help the second ship, the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged BBC Adriatic, further west off the coast of Istanbul.

Private NTV television footage showed the second ship with 14 crew members being battered in the stormy waters.

“The sea conditions are very rough which is making the rescue operation very difficult,” Salih Orakci, who heads Turkey’s Coastal Safety authority, told NTV television. “(But) God willing, we will save that ship.”

Orakci said the Volgo Balt 199 had not sent any distress signals and disappeared off the radar on Tuesday.

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