A Turkish cargo vessel, the 1971- built Tinaztepe-S has sunk off the coast of Libya, leaving seven crew members missing, as high winds and waves battered the region, the Libyan navy said on March 16.

Eight sailors believed to be Turkish nationals have drowned and 5 others rescued when a Turkish cargo ship carrying marble blocks to Misrata sank off the city’s port on Thursday, local sources reported.

Turkish cargo ship Tinaztepe-S sank off Libya's Misrata, 8 died

General cargo ship Tinaztepe-S - Image courtesy: Ahmet Ünlügil 

Misrata’s Brigade 154 said the ship was waiting to dock at the port to unload its cargo when it suddenly sank due to bad weather conditions.

“Libyan Coast Guard rushed to rescue the sailors despite rough sea and wave heights of more than 4 meters," the Brigade said.

Five or six (various reports) other members of the Turkish crew were rescued after the ship requested assistance several kilometres from the port of Misrata, navy spokesman General Ayoub Qassem said.

He said the Turkish-flagged ship was carrying marble dust and was about 2-2.5 nautical miles from shore when it radioed a call seeking help.

"The search is underway for the seven missing... but the sea is very rough and the waves are high," said Qassem.

He said the ship sunk because of the "bad weather and because the ship is old."

The 81-meters long, Turkish-flagged Tinaztepe-S was built in 1971.

Source: SeaNews Turkey