Severe storms in Turkey’s Black Sea coast have hindered a search-and-rescue mission for 12 crew members of a cargo ship that sank. Ali Yerlikaya, Turkey’s Interior Minister, announced on Monday that rescue operations were postponed due to the adverse weather conditions. The Turkish-flagged vessel, Kafkametler, collided with a breakwater outside the harbor near Eregli, approximately 200 kilometers (124 miles) east of Istanbul. Yerlikaya assured the press that rescue teams were prepared and waiting for improved weather conditions to commence their mission.
Yerlikaya expressed his disappointment, stating, “Unfortunately, we could not carry out search-and-rescue activities for the 12 Turkish crew members. As soon as conditions improve, the search-and-rescue operations will begin immediately.”
The severe storms not only resulted in the sinking of the Kafkametler but also caused widespread damage and disruption in northwestern Turkey. Another cargo ship, the Cameroon-flagged Pallada, broke into two pieces after running aground amidst 5-meter (16-foot) waves off Eregli, as reported by the Maritime General Directorate. Fortunately, all 13 crew members were safely rescued.
Due to rising water levels, prisoners from Eregli’s prison were transferred to nearby facilities, according to Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc.
In addition to the maritime incidents, heavy rains in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakir and Batman claimed the lives of two individuals who were swept away by flood waters. Yerlikaya revealed that 50 people were injured in the floods.
Across the border in Bulgaria, gale-force winds, heavy rain, and snow resulted in two fatalities and disrupted power supplies. In response, officials declared a state of emergency in the Black Sea city of Varna.