Turkey shuts Bosphorus strait to shipping after vessel collides with villa
A cargo ship ran aground and smashed into a villa on Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait on TuesdayJuly 21, 2015, forcing maritime authorities to close the key waterway to transit traffic, shipping agency GAC said. The 105 metre Sierra Leone-flagged Majed & Randy had no pilot on board when it suffered a rudder malfunction before hitting the villa, located on the Asian side of the waterway near Istanbul’s Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, GAC said. No one was hurt in the incident, which occurred at 12:48 p.m. (0948 GMT), it said. The narrow, winding Bosphorus bisects Europe’s largest city between its Asian and European sides and serves as the only maritime outlet for Russian oil and other commodities from the Black Sea. An estimated 10,000 tankers carry 150 million tonnes of petroleum products through the strait each year. The Coast Guard deployed tugboats and a pilot to assist the Majed & Randy, which remained anchored in the area of the collision, GAC said. It was not immediately clear when the Bosphorus would re-open to transit traffic.
According to the Turkish State Meteorogical Service, strong N–NE winds are expected today (28 May) which could lead to the closure of the Turkish Straits and berthing cancellations at Turkish ports, GAC reports.
Port operations in Turkey were facing disruption as a result of a massive power cut that had hit dozens of provinces across the country on Tuesday 31 March. Although the Turkish Straits and ports were not closed, husbandry operations (crew changes, spares, etc.) have been negatively affected. The cuts affected power stations and public transport, including Istanbul's tram and metro systems. A crisis centre has been set up at the energy ministry.
By early afternoon the Turkish Electricity Transmission company said only 15% of Istanbul and Ankara had power.
Turkey shuts Bosphorus Strait due to bridge construction
Turkey on Thursday, March 26 closed the Bosphorus Strait, a key shipping channel for Russian oil and other commodities, to allow for construction work on a bridge, shipping agent GAC Turkey said. The strait, which bisects Europe’s largest city Istanbul, was shut at 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) and was scheduled to re-open at 7 p.m.