ANKARA (Reuters) – A Palau-flagged freighter sank off the coast of Turkey’s Black Sea province of Bartin, killing two crew members, the coast guard said on Sunday, adding that search operations and rescue for more crew members continued.
Bartin Governor Sinan Guner originally said the vessel, ARVIN, was a Russian dry cargo vessel that sank off the coast of the Inkumu region in bad weather, but then corrected this .
“The ARVIN vessel attempted to take refuge in Bartin harbor due to bad weather conditions while transporting goods from Georgia to Bulgaria,” Guner said, quoted by state-owned Anadolu news agency.
Coastguards said the ship sank after taking on water in severe weather conditions. Six crew members were rescued and efforts are underway to rescue more, he said in a statement.
The Russian state agency responsible for overseeing maritime and river fleets said only two crew members were of Russian nationality and the vessel was owned by Ukrainian company Arvin Shipping Ltd.
A spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry confirmed the incident, saying Ukrainian consuls were providing consular assistance on the spot as operations to locate the four remaining sailors continued.
Guner said earlier that civilian ships were also invited to participate in the rescue efforts, but operations were hampered by heavy rains and winds. Turkey’s Defense Ministry said it had also sent a ship to help with the rescue operations.
“There are high waves, and because of the waves, the (rescue) boat cannot see its surroundings. We try to reach them with directions from the shore, ”Guner said.
Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Additional reporting by Gleb Stolyarov in Moscow and Pavel Polityuk in Kiev; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Toby Chopra and Hugh Lawson