Appalling weather conditions in the Black Sea have proved fatal for shipping near Istanbul.
The coal freighter Volgo Balt 199 sank in heavy seas with the loss of at least one crewmember.
Another cargo vessel, the BBC Adriatic, was foundering nearby in high seas with 14 crewmembers on board after a mechanical failure.
The vessel that sank sent a mayday in the early morning. Two rescuers also died after hitting rocks while answering the distress message. One was a fisherman.
It happened near the northern end of the Bosphorus Strait, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
Four crew were rescued, but seven of the Ukrainian and Russian ship’s company are still missing.
Turkey’s transport minister said rescue efforts by helicopters and coastguard ships were being hampered by increasingly bad weather.
The channel is the only way Black Sea countries can ship their goods out, and that includes Russian oil and grain.
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