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Severe storms hit Turkey, leaving 9 dead and 11 missing from sunken cargo ship

Severe storms hit Turkey leaving 9 dead, 11 missing from sunken cargo ship

In the wake of destructive storms that hit northwestern Turkey on November 19, 2023, search efforts are underway for 11 missing crew members of the Kafkametler, a cargo ship that sunk off the Black Sea coast. The Interior Minister, Ali Yerlikaya, confirmed the recovery of one body from the ship, which was among several maritime and land emergencies caused by the severe weather. These incidents have led to at least nine fatalities, including deaths from flooding and structural damage in various parts of the country.

Turkish rescue teams initiated a search operation for the 11 missing crew members of the cargo ship Kafkametler, which sank off the Black Sea coast near Eregli, Zonguldak province, on November 20. The Turkish-flagged ship, with 12 crew members aboard, encountered severe weather conditions about 200 km (120 miles) east of Istanbul. One body from the crew has been recovered thus far.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya reported that the ship’s captain had signaled distress on the morning of November 19, noting that the vessel was drifting towards a breakwater at Eregli. The search and rescue operations were delayed until Monday due to the adverse weather conditions.

The storms also led to the grounding and subsequent break-up of another cargo ship, the Cameroon-flagged Pallada. All 13 crew members of the Pallada were rescued. Additionally, the severe weather necessitated the evacuation of a prison in Eregli, as informed by Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc.

The storms resulted in fatalities in different regions of Turkey. Four people were reported dead in Batman province, three in Zonguldak, and one in Diyarbakir, according to Yerlikaya.

The storm system extended to neighboring Bulgaria, where two fatalities were reported. Officials declared a state of emergency in the Black Sea city of Varna due to the extreme weather conditions, which included gale-force winds and heavy rain and snow.

Turkish authorities are continuing with the search for the missing Kafkametler crew members.

References:

1 Nine dead amid storm in Turkey; 11 missing from sunken ship – Reuters – November 20, 2023

Featured image credit: Alexandre (stillshot)

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