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15 migrants perish in shipwreck off Turkey's Black Sea coast (Lead, Changing Dateline)

Izmit (Turkey), Sep 22 (IANS/AKI) At least 15 migrants died when a fishing boat, with up to 75 people on board, sank in the Black Sea off Turkeys northwestern province of Kocaeli on Friday, the Turkish coastguard said.

Search-and-rescue teams saved 40 migrants after the boat sank at 5.03 a.m. local time, 64 nautical miles north of the village of Kefken, the coastguard said, reported state-run news agency Analadolou.

The shipwreck survivors were taken to the port of Kefken aboard a Turkish coastguard vessel and treated at a mobile hospital at the port, Anadolou said.

Two survivors who were in a serious condition were taken to the Kocaeli State Hospital, Anadolou said, quoting the Turkish coastguard statement.

Among the casualties was the unborn baby of a pregnant woman who was rescued, doctors said.

The death toll from the shipwreck was expected to rise as search efforts continued to find another 15 to 20 missing migrants.

The nationalities of the migrants were not disclosed, but Turkey’s private Dogan News Agency reported that most were Iraqi nationals.

The boat set sail earlier on Friday from Kocaeli’s coastal town of Kandira.

The Black Sea is a new route for migrants seeking to reach the European Union nation of Romania and other littoral states. The route has emerged since a controversial deal between Turkey and the EU in March last year staunched the influx of boat migrants to Greece from Turkey’s Aegean coast.

Turkish coastguard intercepted 834 migrants off the Black Sea coast between August 13 and September 9 and detained 10 alleged people smugglers, Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper said on its website.

Security forces also prevented 237 migrants from boarding people traffickers’ boats over the period, it reported.

Post Source: Ians feed

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