On August 7, an explosion occurred in the harbor of Kocaeli, western Türkiye. The blast, heard over the entire region, took place in grain silos located in the port of Derince. 12 workers were injured.
First reporting presented as reason the pressure on grain, which develops certain gases. Investigation is still ongoing. But the Director General of the Turkish Office for Agricultural Products (TMO) stated this explosion was the first of its kind in the country.
Authorities keep the investigation going on, including checking human failure, mismanagement or technical issue. The possibility of a possible act of sabotage is also not excluded – and there is indeed a suspicious aspect in the explosion.
Turkish media reported that the explosion happened during the debarkation of grain from a ship. Later on, it was reported the there was also “Russian grain” in the silos.
We have investigated further details. The ship that was being unloaded when the explosion occurred came from Russia: the harbor of Novorossiysk.
According to maritime traffic data, its name is Lotus G. It is currently still at the harbor, without any damage after the explosion.
The harbor of Novorossiysk came into the news few days ago, when Ukrainian naval drones attacked a civilian cargo ship here.
Whether any human interference caused the explosion in the Turkish port is unclear still. But it comes in the context intense diplomacy around the Black Sea grain deal.
Russia has withdrawn from the agreement on July 17. Ukraine proposed to Türkiye to continue the agreement, the transport and export of grains via the Black Sea, excluding Russia.
Especially the grain needs of African countries were on the agenda. In that context, Turkish President Erdoğan declared on Friday to be “on the same line” with Russian President Putin. Erdoğan stated that “Russian grain would be delivered to Türkiye, processed here and sent afterwards to African countries in need”. The President added that the Ministry of Agriculture was “already working on it”.
Erdoğan’s statement kept the door open for Russian grain exports via Türkiye, while those of Ukraine are still in jeopardy. The recent explosion in the grain silo in Türkiye’s Derince port while Russian grain was being unloaded caused new questions.
In his press conference at Wednesday night, President Erdoğan warned of the “spread of the war to the entire Black Sea region” and called the West to fulfill “its promises” given to Russia within the deal.
Cover photo: Moment of the explosion in the grain silo, security camera recording, source: IHA news agency