At Least Six Dead as Ship Packed with Migrants Sinks off Turkey
At least six people were killed and 50 were reported missing after a Georgian cargo ship, packed with illegal immigrants and caught in stormy weather, ran into a reef and sank off the southern Turkish coast Monday, officials said.
It was not immediately known if the six dead were members of the crew or illegal immigrants.
Some 32 people were saved, said Nazmi Gunlu, a police official at the Turkish resort of Kemer, revising an earlier figure of 39 rescued.
According to survivors, there were about 80 immigrants from India and Pakistan on board, Gunlu told Anatolia news agency, adding "we are trying to find around 50 people reported missing."
The ship, the Pati, which had set out from the Israeli port of Ashdod, docked at the southern Turkish port of Antalya on December 27, on its way to the Greek port of Piraeus.
It was supposed to take on board a cargo of cement but had been unable to do so because of the combination of celebrations marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and bad weather.
The Greek skipper, Polizois Galanis, decided to leave Antalya although had been informed of the weather conditions. There are thought to have been up to 10 crewmembers onboard, the governor of Antalya, Ertugrul Dokuzoglu, told NTV television.
Rescue efforts were interrupted because of bad weather Monday but were to resume, using military aircraft, as soon as possible.
Turkey is one of the main routes used by Asian nationals trying to get to western Europe in search of a better life -- ANKARA (AFP)