20 OCT 2011 – Three sailors have died and five others are missing after the small Maltese registered bulk carrier Reina I (3,400 tons) sank in Albanian waters overnight after a collision with a passenger ferry.

The 3,000-ton Reina 1, sailing under a Maltese flag, sank immediately after the collision in international waters with the car ferry Ankara, said police spokeswoman Ornela Cako.

The crash happened at about 1a.m. local time on Thursday, 20 miles from the Albanian port of Durres.

One body was taken aboard the ferry while two others have been spotted but not yet recovered due to rough seas, ports head Edmond Doraci said. Two sailors were rescued.

The Reina 1 had been heading to Montenegro with a Turkish crew of 10.

No injuries were reported on the ferry, which had left Durres en route for the Italian port of Bari with about 200 passengers. The ferry remained at the scene of the accident.

Police gave no information on the cause of the crash.

Police and military ships and helicopters are carrying out a search and rescue operation.

Since this morning, the Marine Safety Investigation Unit is in constant contact with the International Safety Managers of the Maltese general cargo in Turkey and the Turkish maritime authorities in Ankara.

Transport Malta said it will be deploying officials to investigate the accident and will be liaising closely with the Turkish authorities in their investigation of the accident.