MSC, Atlas Air carrying aid to Turkey and Syria


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Aug 13, 2023

MSC, Atlas Air carrying aid to Turkey and Syria

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Mediterranean Shipping Co. and Atlas Air are among the carriers transporting food, clothing and medical supplies to earthquake-devastated Turkey and Syria.

The MSC Aurelia departed the Port of Naples in Italy on Thursday carrying 60 pallets of necessities, including food and first-aid supplies, to the Turkish port of Iskenderun.

The Aurelia normally is used as a passenger and vehicle ferry with a capacity to carry 40 trucks and about 400 cars.

The humanitarian aid was collected by the MSC Group, MSC Foundation and Rava Foundation. The cargo includes 60 pallets of medical supplies, food, hygiene items, warm clothing, blankets, toys and crayons. An additional 50 boxes of thermal shirts are being carried on behalf of the Vatican, MSC said.

The Aurelia is scheduled to arrive at the port of Iskenderun on Monday, according to MarineTraffic data.

MSC said the Aurelia will remain berthed in Turkey to provide more than 1,000 beds as well as leisure spaces, including a restaurant and video game arcade. MSC already has empty containers set up in Iskenderun to house 300 employees and their families who lost their homes in the Feb. 6 disaster, which severely damaged terminal facilities at the port, according to the Switzerland-headquartered company.

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Operations in Iskenderun have since resumed and according to MarineTraffic, 54 vessels were at the port Friday.

MSC, the world's largest ocean shipper, also is arranging the transport of thousands of empty containers to Turkish provinces hardest hit by the earthquake to accommodate displaced families.

In addition, the MSC Foundation is collaborating with the United Nations Refugee Agency to transport 100 containers carrying such items as blankets, mattresses and kitchenware to Gaziantep, Turkey, for distribution to survivors.

"We are a part of a global organization that can set in motion a large-scale operation by involving foundations and associations that we collaborate with all around the world. As soon as the terrible earthquake in Turkey and Syria struck, we immediately took action to collect funds, supplies and food, which we can deliver on our ships within a short period of time," Daniela Picco, executive director of the MSC Foundation, said in a news release.

"The departure of MSC Aurelia from the port of Naples is an initial example of what we are doing, while we keep on working to provide associations and governments with what we can, so that by sea and by land some comfort can reach those who are presently living in dire situations and, in the future, for the rebuilding of cities and the environment," Picco said.

The U.N. said more than 9 million people in Turkey have been directly impacted by what it called a "once-in-a-generation disaster." CNN said Thursday at least 43,885 people in Turkey and Syria have died because of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

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Atlas Air Inc., a subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: AAWW), announced Friday an Atlas Air 747-8F had departed from Washington Dulles International Airport carrying tons of humanitarian and relief supplies for the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria.

Atlas Air and Turkish Airlines worked with the Turkish Embassy to expedite the relief mission. Atlas Air provided the aircraft and crew. Turkish Airlines collected clothes, shoes, medical supplies and other essentials.

"Through our partnership with Turkish Airlines, we are honored to contribute air freight capacity to deliver critical supplies to this region where they are needed the most," John Dietrich, president and CEO of Atlas Air Worldwide, said in Friday's announcement. "We are moved by the heroic work of first responders and humanitarian organizations to provide relief to the communities impacted by this natural disaster. On behalf of our 5,000 Atlas employees around the world, we are grateful for this opportunity to show our support."

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Click here for more American Shipper/FreightWaves stories by Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills.


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