Turkish coast guard teams fired on a cargo ship passing through the Çanakkale Strait on Thursday evening after the vessel failed to comply with a warning to stop and captured some 500 illegal migrants.
The 59 meters long cargo ship, named "Doğan Kartal," ignored the security forces' calls to stop off the Gallipoli peninsula on March 12.
After halting the sea traffic in the Strait, the Coast Guard fired on the engine room of the ship that was fleeing. Security forces boarded ship at 6.30 p.m. and captured some 400 unregistered migrants.
"We want to stop a ship on suspicion of carrying foreign illegal migrants," it quoted the head of the western Canakkale province Ahmet Cinar as saying. "The coastguard wanted to approach the ship but the captain refused permission," added Cinar, whose region includes the Dardanelles Straits.
"The coastguard is currently continuing the chase for the ship inside the Straits," he said.
Turkey has become a transit hub for refugees fleeing parts of the Middle East, North Africa and areas as far away as Afghanistan, hoping to reach Europe. The country already hosts 1.7 million Syrian refugees from the civil war.
Accidents involving ships illegally transporting the refugees and other migrants have cost dozens of lives.