Turkey's state-run news agency says authorities have launched a search and rescue mission after a ship sunk off the Black Sea.

Anadolu Agency, citing Interior Ministry officials, says the operation was launched Monday after authorities received a distress signal from a Panama-flagged ship off the Turkish coast of Samsun.

It said at least three crew members have been rescued, and that a coast guard boat and a helicopter are searching for other crew members.

Details about the ship and the cause of its sinking were not immediately available.