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In the Midst of Hurricane and Thunder: The Sinking of Kafkametler Cargo Ship

On 19 November 2023, a Turkish-flagged cargo ship with the name “Kafkametler” sank offshore in Zonguldak. The ship was originally transporting cargo from Russia to Aliağa, where its journey was interrupted off the coast of Ereğli, Zonguldak, due to intense wind and inclement. Although the ship was able to anchor in the Ereğli Port, the adverse weather conditions were too extreme for the vessel to bear. Shortly after going offshore, lightning struck the sea, utterly disrupting the communication between the ship and the port. The Kafkametler ship later collided with the military breakwater and sunk gradually to the depth of Ereğli waters.

Kafkametler Ship

This tragic event occurred offshore of Ereğli, where the Turkish State Meteorological Service declared an orange warning, indicating the high probability of severe damage, injury, and inconvenience. Earlier in the day of the 19th, the region had been hit by many powerful storms. Even before the sinking of Kafkametler, two different ships ran aground. One of these ships, a Cameroon-flagged ship with the name “Pallada” with a crew of 14 non-Turkish individuals crashed into the port’s concrete walls, consequently damaging the amphitheater nearby. Despite the financial damage, all members of the crew were safely saved from the ship and were accommodated in Ereğli Teacher’s Lodge.

After the sinking of the Kafkametler, the aftermath of Kafkametler’s sinking was announced by the Minister of Interior, Ali Yerlikaya. The crew consisted of 12 sailors and it was deduced that all of them were lost since no sign of life was detected from the sunken ship. Soon after Minister Yerlikaya’s statement, as the sun rose, the inanimate body of one of the sailors was found. As the days went on, the search and rescue efforts by many different units such as the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), and the Coastal Safety General Directorate were intensified. Regardless of the unending endeavors to recover the bodies of the crew members, on the fourth day following the tragedy, 10 bodies were still missing. On the 24th of November, five days after the incident, two more bodies were recovered.

Sinking of Kafkametler

Because Kafkametler sank in such a location where many other ships were anchored, many whereabouts arose due to uncertainty. Even after the sinking of Kafkametler, the weather conditions were still inconvenient for search and rescue operations, inhibiting the launching of sea vessels and diver rescue teams. Therefore, until the dawn of 20th of November, the 20th of November, search and rescue operations unfortunately weren’t initiated. Due to this, it is nearly impossible to answer crucial questions such as the reason behind the ineffectiveness of the lifeboats. Furthermore, the last state of the ship’s vessels and body were not seen by anyone, which confused the exact reason for the ship’s sinking. Altogether, the sinking of Kafkametler remains a question for most people, including the global media.

Search and Rescue Teams Working to Find the Kafkametler Crew

As of today, it has been over two weeks since the sinking of the ship, but 7 of the 12 crew members are still not found. The unfortunate events that unfolded as a result of Kafkametler’s sinking highlight the unpredictable and perilous nature of maritime activities, where the integrity of regulations regarding these activities is emphasized.

Works Cited

Bostancı, Selim. "Zonguldak'ta batan geminin kayıp 7 personelini arama çalışmaları sürüyor." Anadolu Ajansı, 29 Nov. 2023, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Coştu, Şafak. "Turkish-flagged Cargo Ship Sinks Amid Severe Storm in Zonguldak." BNN Network, 23 Nov. 2023, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

"5 mürettebatın cansız bedenine ulaşıldı, 7'sini arama çalışmaları sürüyor!" Yirmi Dört TV, 24 Nov. 2023, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.


"Search efforts continue for sunken ship's staff off northern Türkiye." Daily Sabah, 22 Nov. 2023, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

"SON DAKİKA: Zonguldak'ta kuru yük gemisi battı: 1 kişi öldü 11 kişi halen kayıp." CNN Türk, 20 Nov. 2023, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

"Zonguldak'ta batan geminin kayıp 7 personelini arama çalışmaları sürüyor." Yirmi Dört TV, 28 Nov. 2023, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.


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