The fire at Turkey’s Port of Iskenderun has been extinguished, although the port remains closed until further notice.
The facility has suffered severe structural damage, and the timeline for restoration of commercial port services is not yet known.
The damage assessment is currently pending as major shipping firms have been forced to divert their vessels to other terminals in the region as a result.
The Turkish air force and army sent aircraft to drop fire retardant in the centre of the terminal’s container storage area, in an effort to contain the blaze.
The fire was caused by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit southern Turkey near the northern border of Syria on 6 February, followed by a 7.5 magnitude aftershock that resulted in more than 16,000 lives with tens of thousands more injured.
The Port of İskenderun is one of two main container ports on Turkey’s southern coast, and the closure of the terminal is affecting the delivery of cargoes bound for the port.
Danish giant Maersk has reported that ships are unable to dock at the port and will instead keeping containers in adjacent ports and centres for a period of three weeks at no extra cost.
To accommodate customers, Maersk is offering a complimentary change of destination service to deliver cargo to any other operational ports in Turkey.
Singapore’s Ocean Network Express (ONE) reported that the Port of Mersin, Turkey’s largest container port, is functioning normally while expected to face yard congestion in the coming days.
The loss of life and widespread destruction from the earthquake in Turkey and neighbouring northern Syria are tragic, and the international community is rallying to provide aid and support to those affected.
Turkish vessels are delivering aid cargoes to İskenderun for use in the emergency relief efforts in the earthquake-damaged region.