8 missing after ship collision off Albania's coast

AP News
Posted: Oct 20, 2011 10:39 AM
8 missing after ship collision off Albania's coast

A Turkish merchant ship sank and eight of its sailors are missing after the vessel collided with a passenger ferry off the Albania's coast, Albanian port authorities said Thursday.

The 3,300-ton Reina 1, sailing under a Maltese flag, sank immediately after the collision in international waters with the car ferry Ankara, said police spokeswoman Ornela Cako.

The crash happened at about 1 a.m. (2300 GMT) Thursday some 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the Albanian port of Durres. No injuries were reported on the ferry, which had left Durres en route for the Italian port of Bari with about 200 passengers. It later arrived in Bari, Italy.

The head of the ports, Edmond Doraci, initially said one body was recovered and two others were spoted at sea but later said that the eight sailors remain missing.

Police and military ships and helicopters continued a search and rescue operation.

The Reina 1, loaded with grain in the Black Sea Russian port of Novorossiysk, had been headed to Bar, Montenegro, with a Turkish crew of 10, according to Ahmed Soyturk, 38, one of the survivors, speaking from the Durres hospital.

"It took only two minutes for the ship to go down," Soyturk said.

The two survivors were in good health, according to hospital personnel in Durres.

Police gave no information on the cause of the crash and prosecutors have postponed questioning the ship's two survivors due to their health conditions.


Associated Press photographer Hektor Pustina contributed from Durres.