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New Videos Show Severity of Storm That Claimed Two Ships in Black Sea


November 23 ------ The loss of a freighter and its crew off the Black Sea Port of Eregli last weekend is drawing new scrutiny on safety issues in Turkey's domestic fleet. The 3,000 dwt Kafkametler went adrift just outside the harbor in a severe storm, shortly after attempting to take shelter, and drifted onto a breakwater. The vessel sank and no survivors have been found.


Kafkametler had an extensive history of inspection deficiencies, and opposition Labor Party MP Ahmet Sik has asked the government's transport minister to explain whether the ship was in full compliance at the time of the casualty. According to Sik, Kafkametler was known to have hull deformation and didn't meet standards, though his claims cannot be verified. "Who gave the order and permission for the ship to leave the port despite the weather conditions?" asked Sik.


In the weeks before she was lost, Kafkametler visited several Russian ports in the Sea of Azov and northeastern Black Sea, broadcasting AIS intermittently. She returned to Turkish waters early on the 18th and journeyed past Eregli, making for the small port of Karasu. Just as she arrived, she doubled back and returned to Eregli, the nearest port with an enclosed harbor. A major storm was approaching and several ships had sheltered behind Eregli's breakwaters.


Kafkametler stopped outside the harbor instead of attempting to enter. AIS data (provided by Pole Star) suggests that she anchored, then dragged anchor slowly to the north. Between 0620 and 0710 GMT, her position shifted suddenly to the other side of the harbor entrance, and she was on the breakwater. This was the last transmission received. The body of one crewmember, identified as cook Metin Usta, 62, has been retrieved. Divers are searching for the remaining 12 people who were aboard.


Two other vessels in the harbor also dragged anchor or broke free, including the river-sea class freighter Pallada, which broke in half under the force of the waves. A crewmember from Pallada shared a video of the scene on the bridge, showing that the Pallada's deckhouse was no longer connected to the bow.


Source: maritime-executive.com

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