Turkish government delivered a vital medication for a sailor stranded on a cargo ship off Malaysian cost on a coronavirus lockdown more than 8 thousand kilometers away from homeland. The costly intercontinental operation of Turkish authorities to save a single citizen on the opposite side of the world riveted Ankara’s image on how much it values its citizens.
42 years old Turan Altun has been working on Cargo ships as an electrician for years. He has a life threatening illness and needs regularly take a certain medication. So he buys his vital medication at ports in each country when his cargo ship docks to unload since he is always on a nautical journeys. But this time, things were not the way they were supposed to be. The Marshalls Island flagged Nilufer Sultan on which Altun works, uploaded chemical cargo 12 days ago in China. It was bound for Malaysia. Altun had enough medication to last until the cargo ship arrived at Port Klang in Malaysia. But then unthinkable happened. While the ship was sailing through East China Sea towards its destination, the whole world was rocked with coronavirus. Malaysian authorities did not allow Nilufer Sultan to dock in at Port Klang and no crew was allowed to leave the ship either. It was a dead or alive situation for Turan Altun as his medication was about to run out.
Altun’s wife in Turkey contacted Foreign Ministry to notify them that her husband life was depending on his medication. Turkish Foreign Ministry officials launched an operation against the clock to deliver Altun his medication. Turkey’s Kuala Lumpur mission also worked around the clock to clear the formalities for the delivery of the medication. Meanwhile, Turan Altun was running out of time.
Turkish Foreign Ministry procured Altun’s medication and flew it to Malaysia on a diplomatic flight since commercial flights has long been cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak. The medicine arrived in Malaysia on Sunday. Kuala Lumpur Embassy officials took over the operation from there and delivered the medicine to Altun at the port.
Turan Altun and the cargo ship captain Emre Algul expressed their appreciation to the Turkish authorities following the delivery of the medicine. Altun said the operation just made us feel that being a Turkish citizen matters matter how far away you are from Turkey.
Turkish Health Ministry recently flew a patient from France to Istanbul on a air ambulance, which shocked the staff of the hospital in Lyon where the patient was staying.