Hundreds of Containers Ablaze at Quake-Damaged Iskenderun Port of Turkey (+Video)
- February, 08, 2023 - 15:01
- World news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Turkish defense ministry said Tuesday that a big fire in the earthquake-stricken port of Iskenderun had been extinguished.
The blaze forced operations to cease and freight liners to divert vessels to other ports.
Footage from the scene showed black smoke billowing from burning containers at the port, which is located on the Mediterranean Sea, Deutsche Welle reported.
It's believed the fire began when containers toppled over during Monday's earthquakes.
The earthquakes also caused other structural damage at the port, Turkey's maritime authority said.
Iskenderun is home to heavy industries such as steel and is one of the two major container hubs on Turkey's southeastern shores.
The world's biggest shipping company, AP Moller Maersk, said it was looking to divert ships as needed, given the "severe structural damage, leading to a complete stop of all operations until further notice."
"We are currently planning to divert containers to nearby hubs within operational feasibility or hold at transshipment ports - including the Port of Mersin (in Turkey) and Port Said (in Egypt)," it said.
Maersk added it was working to assess the potential loss of cargo, but the fire had yet to be controlled by local authorities.
"It's not yet known how long recovery efforts will take and when the port can undergo a full inspection of the damage."
German container shipping line Hapag Lloyd said it was taking shipments from Mersin given the closure of Iskenderun.
Turkish authorities sent a coast guard ship to help put out the fire at the port in Hatay province.
Hatay, on the Syrian border, is one of the most severely affected Turkish provinces after Monday's 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
Turkish maritime authority said on Monday that operations continued at other ports in the region.