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The BBC's Chris Morris in Istanbul
"The Georgian-registered vessel has become a sealed tomb"
 real 56k

Monday, 1 January, 2001, 17:16 GMT
Many drown in Turkish shipwreck
The Pati on rocks off the Turkish coast
The ship split in two when it hit the rocks
Turkish authorities say 51 people are missing in high seas with little chance of survival after a cargo ship carrying illegal migrants sank off the Turkish coast.

At least six people are reported to have died when the ship, the Georgian-registered Pati, hit rocks near the near the resort of Kemerport and split in two on Monday morning.


There is little hope of finding them alive

Rescue official Can Karaca

The ship, carrying an estimated 82 passengers and crew, had set sail from the port of Antalya.

Thirty-two people, including six crew members, were pulled to safety and taken to hospital as a huge rescue effort swung into effect, but officials say it is unlikely anyone else will be found alive.

Nationalities

High winds and big waves forced the rescue teams to suspend their search for more survivors on Monday afternoon.

"There is little hope of finding them alive," said Can Karaca, in charge of the rescue operation.

Map of Turkey
He said that, as well as the crew members, 10 Iranians and 16 Pakistanis had been rescued.

Most of the migrants are reported to have come from Afghanistan and Pakistan, though survivors say Bangladeshis and Moroccans were also on board.

Many of the missing were believed to have been locked in a cargo hold in the sunken half of the ship, said Mr Karaca.

Illegal immigrants are known to use routes through the Aegean and Mediterranean seas to reach Europe.

Reports say the ship was supposed to have been carrying a cargo of cement, but was unable to do so because of the combination of celebrations marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and bad weather.

The governor of Antalya said prosecutors had begun an investigation into where the people were picked up and who had organised their passage.

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