05 December 2023
The blaze at Iskenderun Port is under control, three days after Turkey suffered a massive earthquake which has flattened much of the port city with the death toll rising exponentially.
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A number of ports are still out of action in Türkiye more than 24 hours after the southeast of the nation was rocked by a massive earthquake which has killed more than 15,000 people.
Iskenderun, a major port on the Mediterranean, suffered structural damage, as well as a severe blaze as containers caught fire on the 6th of February. Aerial images show box stacks collapsed across the port, and a blaze in the middle of a container yard, which spread fast.
“The port has unfortunately been subject to severe structural damage, leading to a complete stop of all operations until further notice. Roads have also been heavily affected, and at this time vendors are not moving any trucks in and around the area,”Maersk
Elsewhere, pipeline oil flows through the Turkish port of Ceyhan were temporarily suspended as inspections get underway to check the state of the pipelines. Operations at Mersin International Port have also been suspended while inspections take place.
Iskenderun Port Fire
Despite combined aerial and sea efforts, the blaze at Iskenderun Port is ongoing, two days after Turkey suffered a massive earthquake which has flattened much of the port city with the death toll rising exponentially.
Turkey’s airforce was deployed yesterday to try and douse the blaze at the wrecked container terminal, but the fire continues to rage in the morning of 8th February.
The fire along with the severe structural damage at the port is expected to result in insurance claims running to hundreds of millions of dollars in what is likely to be the largest port desecration since the explosions registered in Beirut in 2020. The stench of the blaze can be smelt across the city, with much of Iskenderun also suffering from floods of seawater.
As a result, maritime transporters are rerouting ships to alternative ports in the eastern Mediterranean with the port expected to be out of action for months.
Many container stacks topped over at Iskenderun when the earthquake hit on Monday morning sparking the fire, which then spread rapidly.
Note that, the port handles around 40,000 teu a month. It is located on the Mediterranean coast in the southern province of Hatay where more than 1,200 buildings have been destroyed from the magnitude 7.8 earthquake. The city lies around 120 km from the epicenter of the quake.
Firefighting continued this morning at the severely damaged container terminal, three days after the site was hit hard by the massive earthquake.
Turkey’s Maritime General Directorate yesterday announced that the fire at Iskenderun Limak Terminal had been brought under control after efforts from sea, air, and land. However, TV images this morning show there’s still plenty of dark plumes of smoke billowing from the terminal.
All cargo operations have been suspended at Iskenderun Limak Terminal and vessels are being diverted to the nearest terminal in the same region. Moreover, the site has suffered structural damage from the earthquake, and links to the port have also been damaged.
“We will need to perform a change of destination for all bookings bound for the port or already on the water. We are currently planning to divert containers to nearby hubs within operational feasibility or hold at transhipment ports – including Port of Mersin (in Turkey) and Port Said (in Egypt).”Maersk
The company will hold containers in nearby ports and hubs for three weeks at no extra cost while it plans next steps and final deliveries.
Shipping lines are rallying to help out. Japanese firms Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) have donated USD76,000 and USD23,000 respectively.
A broke out fire in the engine room of the container vessel Cape Kortia on last Monday morning, 30 January in the Panama Canal.