ANKARA: A cargo ship sank in the Black Sea off Istanbul on Wednesday and a search and rescue operation is underway for the 10 Turkish crew members, the coastguard said. The ship sent a distress signal early on Wednesday, the coastguard command said in a statement. An operation was immediately launched to find the 10 Turkish crew. It said that the ship sank to a depth of 88 metres (288 feet) underwater some seven miles from the shore. Lifeboats, lifejackets and other gear believed to belong to the stricken vessel were found on the surface. -AFP

Dogan news agency said the equipment carried the name of the ship "Bilal Bal".

The coastguard said a submarine was also requested to help search for the missing crew.