2 dead, 4 missing after coal ship sends distress signal off Turkey's Black Sea coast

ISTANBUL (REUTERS) - Two people died and another four were missing on Monday (Jan 7) after a ship carrying coal sent a distress signal off the northern coast of Turkey, the coast guard and the local governor's office said.

The Panama-flagged vessel, which departed from Russia's Azov port, sent out a distress signal around 148km off the north-eastern Black Sea province of Samsun, the coast guard said.

Thirteen crew members were on the bulk carrier, including nine Ukraine nationals, two Azerbaijan nationals and two Russians, the Samsun governor's office said.

The coast guard said the distress signal was received regarding a "possible sinking" of the ship.

Seven members of the crew had been rescued so far, while a search and rescue operation continued for the other four, the coast guard said.

The operation was being carried out by a plane, two helicopters and two boats, it said, adding that one air force helicopter was also joining as back-up.