In the early hours of February 6th, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck near the Turkish-Syrian border, causing widespread damage and disrupting operations at many Turkish ports. LimakPort Iskenderun, located in the Mediterranean coastal town of Iskenderun in the southern Turkish province of Hatay, was seriously damaged, compelling the port’s administration to cease operations.
As a result of the enormous earthquakes that struck the region, a fire broke out at the Port of Iskenderun. Earlier on Tuesday, hundreds of shipping containers caught fire at the Port of Iskenderun, sending thick black smoke rising into the sky and prompting freight liners to divert vessels to other ports.
Firefighting water jets from fire trucks were dwarfed by the magnitude of the inferno that broke out on Monday, as shown in footage captured by a drone flying above the scene.
The Turkey defence ministry announced late Tuesday that the fire was extinguished by military helicopters and jets, after efforts to douse the flames from offshore failed on Monday.
The fire at the Port of Iskenderun had been going on since Monday 1400 GMT when one of the containers fell over because of aftershocks from the deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
“In the damage assessment made to our coastal facilities after the earthquake, it was determined that docks collapsed at Iskenderun Port,” the general directorate at Turkey’s transport ministry tweeted.
“Other Turkish ports maintain operations except for Iskenderun,” the general directorate added.
AP Moller Maersk reported considerable damage to logistics and transportation infrastructure around the epicentre of the earthquake, notably the Port of Iskenderun.
The company intends to transfer containers to adjacent hubs or store them at transshipment ports, including the port of Mersin in Turkey and Port Said in Egypt, if operationally feasible.
Maersk stated that it is now unclear when the Port of Iskenderun will resume normal operations. The company also noted that roads have been severely damaged and that suppliers are currently unable to move vehicles across the area.
COSCO Shipping Lines has decided to immediately halt all bookings destined for the Port of Iskenderun until further notice. The Chinese shipping company stated in a statement, “We propose a change of destination for any bookings heading for the port or already on the ocean and will do our best to ensure a smooth direction.”
Similar to Maersk, COSCO declared that all Iskenderun booking modifications and destination changes will be free of charge until the affected ports resume normal operations.