ISTANBUL (Reuters) –
Turkish rescue teams searched on Monday for 11 missing crew members of a cargo ship which sunk off the Black Sea coast amid storms that claimed the lives of at least nine people, including one from the ship, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said.
He said the Turkish-flagged Kafkametler, with 12 crew on board, had sunk off the coast of Eregli in northwest Turkey’s Zonguldak province and that the body of one crew member had been retrieved.
The ship’s captain had reported on Sunday morning that the ship was drifting toward a breakwater at Eregli and Yerlikaya. The vessel possibly hit the structure after that.
The region was hit by powerful storms on Sunday, and inclement weather prevented air and sea vessels from carrying out searches until Monday morning.
Yerlikaya told reporters that storms and flooding across Turkey over the weekend had resulted in the deaths of four people in the southeastern province of Batman, three people in Zonguldak and another person in Diyarbakir, also in the southeast.
The storms that broke out in northwestern Turkey caused havoc over the weekend, destroying another cargo ship, forcing the evacuation of a prison, and killing at least nine people.
A Cameroon-flagged vessel split into two due to the treacherous conditions after weathering 5-metre (16-foot) waves near the coastal city of Eregli, the Maritime General Directorate said. All 13 crew members were rescued.
At Eregli’s prison, rising water levels pushed authorities to transfer inmates to surrounding facilities, Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said.
The turbulent weather followed an especially dry summer that brought Istanbul’s dams to their lowest levels in nine years.
Much of Turkey has been suffering from an extended drought that scientists attribute to climate change and poor water management.