Coastal police with tugboats prevent maritime accident by taking control of drifting Greek-registered oil tanker that suffered engine failure on its way to Black Sea.

Crude oil tanker M/T Militos was taken under control by tugs, turned around and towed back to Marmara sea after it suffered an engine failure in southern Bosphorus, on April 12 [talasexpresshaber.com]
Crude oil tanker M/T Militos was taken under control by tugs, turned around and towed back to Marmara sea after it suffered an engine failure in southern Bosphorus, on April 12 [talasexpresshaber.com] ()

A possible accident in Bosphorous was averted by Turkish coastal authorities after a Greek-registered oil tanker suffered engine failure causing it to drift in the narrow water channel in Istanbul before being tugged into safety. 

The 274-metre M/T Militos crude oil tanker suffered engine failure during its journey from the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea.

Turkish coastal police teams arrived at scene in less than 10 minutes after the alert was sent.  

The rescue vessel Mehmetçik and tugboats, which are on stand by 24/7 to respond to any possible call for help in various parts of the Bosphorus, repositioned the tanker and prevented it to drift.

Difficult to navigate 

Bosphorus is one of the most difficult water routes in the world for large ships and vessels. 

Around 50,000 vessels pass through Istanbul's 30-km and 700 metres wide Bosphorus every year, with some 9,000 vesseles carrying dangerous goods such as crude oil. 

About 2.4 million barrels of oil passes through Bosphorus every day, and accidents keep occurring in the strait. Some of them have caused major environmental disasters. 

Major accidents

On December 29, 1999, 1578 tonnes of fuel oil spilled into the sea after a river tanker Volgoneft-248 cracked and divided into two parts because of its age and condition. 

After three years of cleaning effort of the oil, only 31 percent of the pollution was removed.

On March 13, 1994, Cyprus-registered two tankers M/V Shipbroker and M/T Nassia collided. Both vessels completely burned after 20,000 tonnes of oil spilled into the sea.

In 1990, Iraq flag M/T Jambur and Chinese flag M/V Datton Shang collided because of a route error. About 2600 tonnes of oil spilled into the sea in the accident. 

On October 15, 1979, oil tanker M/T Independenta collided with Greek-registered cargo vessel M/V Evriyali near Haydarpasa area, near the strait.

The collision caused fir and  some 94600 tonnes of oil spilled into the sea. This accident is considered to be the biggest oil pollution accident in the world. About 43 sailors died in this accident.

Two soviet ships M/T Lutsk & M/T Cransky Oktiabr collided on March 1, 1966, in Bosphorus strait causing oil pollution in the water body. The accident also burned Kadikoy port and one passenger ship halted there. 

On October 14, 1960, Greek-registered M/T World Harmony and Yugoslavia-registered M/T Peter Zoranic collided, causing an oil fire that couldn’t be controlled for weeks, leading to long-term environmental pollution in the water body. 

Alternate waterway 

Turkey's now in the process of building a second commercial waterway called the Istanbul Canal. 

It's scheduled to open in 2023.

Authorities say the main objective of the new canal is to reduce risks posed by ships carrying dangerous materials, as they pass through the Bosphorus. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies