Turkey seizes defective lifejackets intended for sale to migrants

Click to play video: 'Turkish police bust ring selling defective life jackets to refugees'
Turkish police bust ring selling defective life jackets to refugees
Turkish police bust ring selling defective life jackets to refugees – Jan 7, 2016

A newspaper report says Turkish authorities have raided a workshop in the Aegean coastal city of Izmir and seized more than 1,200 defective life jackets that would have been sold to migrants.

The Hurriyet newspaper said Wednesday the raid on the workshop came at the same time as the bodies of dozens of people who drowned in two separate boat accidents washed up on Turkey’s Aegean coast Tuesday.

READ MORE: 2-year-old refugee becomes 1st known casualty of 2016

Hurriyet said the lifejackets were made of material that doesn’t float but becomes heavy when soaked and causes the wearer to sink.

Turkish police have seized the lifejackets and are investigating.

Turkish media published photos of the bodies, many still wearing the lifejackets which had been of no use.

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At least two of the employees at the workshop were Syrian girls, the newspaper reported.

Shops in Izmir have been doing a brisk business in lifejackets, selling them from about USD$13 each. At that price, they may not meet safety standards.

The International Organization for Migration says 3,771 people drowned trying to reach Europe last year.

Lifejackets used at sea must meet international standards. Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) jackets must:

  • Keep a person afloat.
  • Turn them within seconds so a person’s face is out of the water.

– With files from The Associated Press

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