Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey thanked the country Tuesday for its search and rescue efforts for missing people after a Palau-flagged cargo ship sank off Turkey's Black Sea coast.
“The bravery and heroism of the Turkish Coast Guard personnel impressed me very much,” Andrii Sybiha said at a press conference held in the Ukrainian embassy in the capital Ankara along with the rescued crew members.
Sybiha said the weather conditions were extremely challenging at the time of the incident and the wave size in the sea was around six meters (19.6 feet).
“Despite these conditions, the Turkish Coast Guard personnel saved our people by risking their own lives. It is not just enough to thank the Turkish side.
“I thank all the staff for their big hearts, generosity and sacrifice. Our sailors got real help there and were rescued,” he added.
On Sunday, the ship, the Arvin, broke into two pieces and sank in the area where it was anchored, according to a statement from the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry.
Of the 12 crew members on board, the bodies of three were recovered and six were rescued. The other three members are still reportedly missing.
The statement added that due to bad weather, the ship had anchored on Jan. 15 in the administrative area of the Port of Bartin.
Before the accident, the Arvin had been heading to Burgas, Bulgaria.
- ‘We still can't believe we're alive’
Rescued crew member Vitali Merezhko also thanked Turkey.
“We still can’t believe we are alive. The rescue team worked fast and professionally. They risked their own lives to save us.”
Oleksadr Perkaty said emergency training is held every week, so everyone is prepared for adverse situations,
“Everyone wore their protective clothes and lifejackets. The important thing was that we stayed calm. We were waiting for someone to come there and the coast guard saved us. We are grateful,” he said.
*Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur
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