This week, the Syrian coast was washed in the black color of mourning, after the shocking news of the Syrian vessel [Georgian flagged, but owned and operated fully by Syrian crew] “Haj Ismail” was hit with the horrendous storm that hit the Black Sea last week, along with another nine ships. Only two out of the 17 crew members survived. All of the seamen were younger than 33 years old.
Abu Fares’, A Tartoussi [from Tartous city on the Syrian coast], who knew many of these sailors and their families, reflects on the tragedy.
This is a repeat and devastating blow we suffer year after year before Tartous goes into a stupefied rendition of mourning. There are no faces to take a last look at, no bodies to bury, no tombstones to sit by and cry. Mothers would go on eternally in a state of animated suspension, staring out of windows, waiting for a phone call or a courier bringing a message of a miracle.
The emotionally charged post attracted a pour of comments and prayers for the lost seamen.
One commenter, Dubai Jazz, asked, “is there anyway these accidents could be avoided?”
Abu Fares’ answer was:
Well, I hate to give an answer when the wound is still bleeding. However, statistically speaking, the sheer number of drowned Syrian ships suggest that something wrong is going on. In particular, vessels sailing to the Black Sea run a much higher risk. These vessels are usually old, ill-maintained or have reached the end of their useful lifespan. They are not allowed anymore to call European ports, and by that I mean Western Europe because they are deemed unsafe. Most of these vessels were never ocean cruising ships to start with so they either retire after serving longer than normal lives or drown in the unforgiving sea.