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Decomposed bodies found in bulker’s ballast tank

Two bodies have been found in the ballast tanks of a Turkey-flagged bulk carrier when it arrived in Taiwan for maintenance, according to local press. Other reports say four bodies were found onboard.

The bodies were found in a “rotten” state when the supramax IDC Pearl, which is owned and operated by Turkey’s Izmir Demir Celik, arrived in Taiwan in late October to undergo repair work after a malfunction.

Turkish press reports suggest the bodies could have been onboard the ship for up to five years. The ship underwent its five-year special survey in September this year, but the bodies were found between tanks in a part of the ship not usually included in the inspection.

The bodies are thought to be those of refugees or stowaways rather than crew or shipyard workers, none of whom have been reported missing during the past five years. Nail marks were reportedly found on the door of the compartment.

Taiwanese authorities refused to take the bodies and the bulker was forced to return to Turkey, where it is now anchored at the port of İskenderun. An investigation has been launched by the İskenderun Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Izmir Demir Celik bought the supramax from Denmark’s Norden in 2009.


Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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