Turkey restricts supertanker passage through Bosporus, Dardanelles straits

By Judy Clark
Associate Editor

HOUSTON, Nov. 19 -- For years, Turkey has expressed concerns about the increasing tanker traffic passing through its Bosporus and Dardanelles straits between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea—and in the Sea of Marmara between the two straits. Now, Turkey has initiated a policy banning supertanker traffic through the straits and severely restricting the passage of smaller tankers carrying dangerous cargo, including chemicals, LPG, LNG, and explosives.

The Caspian News Agency reported that Turkey has prevented supertankers from Russia and Kazakhstan from exporting oil through the straits for the past month, citing its new regulations limiting tankers to 200 m in length to pass through the narrow, 30 km long Bosporus and to 250 m in length for the Dardanelles.

Turkey's new regulations also prohibit loaded oil tankers from passing through the straits at night and in other instances when visibility is obscured.
Regulations apply to vessels carrying cargo classified by the international agreements as dangerous, including petroleum, its derivatives, and petroleum products

Safety concerns
Fear for the safety of Istanbul's 10 million residents at the southern mouth of the Bosporus and for Turkish citizens living and working along all three waterways was the impetus for the action. Turkey has been concerned about safety in the "critical straits" for years.

Ten years ago, for example, it established a traffic separation program, which the International Maritime Organization in London approved, saying Turkey had the right to suspend traffic in one or both directions whenever a ship larger than 150 m passed through.

And in 1998, the Turkish State Management and Information System project office was charged with developing a monitoring and control system for the straits. It was designed to have eight radar sites in the Bosporus and five in the Dardanelles fitted with TV cameras, night vision cameras, radar beacons, meteorological equipment, direction finders, and current measuring devices.

"The Montreux convention says that in peacetime. . .merchant ships have the right of free passage through the straits," commented retired Admiral Guven Erkays, who presided over the agency at the time, ". . .but we say that 'free passage' should be 'safe free passage.'"

At the time, only 60% of tankers—regardless of size—took on pilots, which were mandatory only for those ships making port calls in Turkey.

New regulations
Since Oct. 3, international tanker owners have experienced substantial delays in transiting the Turkish straits, said Kristian R Fuglesang of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko). As many as "3 ½ delays each way have not been uncommon," he said, with the cost of such delays sometimes running as much as $60,000.

"Some of the main problems are that night sailings are not permitted, there is one hour's gap between transiting vessels in both direction, there is only one convoy daily transiting northbound and one southbound, and there is no set time as to when the northbound or southbound convoys will start or how many vessels will be included in each," Fuglesang said.

By comparison, he said, in the Suez Canal there are set times for both northbound and southbound, so a ship's master can reach the starting point at a certain time and know that the ship will be included in the convoy.

"Intertanko has made representations to the Turkish Maritime authorities and the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs urging an immediate postponement of the implementation as well as a revision of the rules," Fuglesang said. "Intertanko is keen to work with the Turkish authorities to find practical and internationally acceptable solutions to any safety problems that may exist in relation to tankers transiting the straits."

Contact Judy Clark at judyrc@ogjonline.com

Related Articles

Modeling determines solvent applicability in SAGD

02/02/2015

Solvents are used to increase production and reduce steam-to-oil ratio in steam-assisted gravity drainage

Kazakhstan advances refinery modernization program

01/19/2015 Kazakhstan's state-owned KazMunaiGas (KMG) has secured financing from the Development Bank of Kazakhstan JSC (DBK) for the continuing modernization...

BIS lists six condensate export considerations

01/12/2015 The US Bureau of Industry and Security listed six considerations it will use to help determine whether US-produced crude oil condensate is a petrol...

Start-up continues at Abreu e Lima refinery

01/12/2015 Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has initiated the start-up of furnaces in the atmospheric distillation unit at its Abreu e Lima refinery (Rnest)...

Moody's: Russian oil-tax change helps exporters

12/22/2014 A new adjustment to Russian oil and gas taxation will benefit oil companies that export most of their crude oil and high-grade oil products but hur...

Barton introduces bill to remove US crude export limits

12/22/2014

US Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) introduced legislation that would remove US crude oil export limits that have been in place for nearly 40 years.

West Cornwall Township hears from Sunoco Logistics

12/12/2014

Sunoco Logistics Partners outlined its safety systems during a West Cornwall Township meeting in Pennsylvania on Nov. 10.

Cost-benefit believability

12/08/2014 In anticipation of what might become the costliest federal regulation in US history, Congress should join the Supreme Court in reviewing the Enviro...

EPA poses tighter ground-level ozone pollution controls

12/08/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency proposed reducing ground-level emissions limits to 65-70 ppb from its current level of 75 ppb. It also will ...
White Papers

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...

Accurate Thermo-Fluid Simulation in Real Time Environments

The crux of any task undertaken in System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis is striking a balance between ti...

6 ways for Energy, Chemical and Oil and Gas Companies to Avert the Impending Workforce Crisis

As many as half of the skilled workers in energy, chemical and oil & gas industries are quickly he...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Oil & Gas Journal’s Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015

Fri, Jan 30, 2015

The  Forecast & Review/Worldwide Pipeline Construction 2015 Webcast will address Oil & Gas Journal’s outlooks for the oil market and pipeline construction in a year of turbulence. Based on two annual special reports, the webcast will be presented by OGJ Editor Bob Tippee and OGJ Managing Editor-Technology Chris Smith.
The Forecast & Review portion of the webcast will identify forces underlying the collapse in crude oil prices and assess prospects for changes essential to recovery—all in the context of geopolitical pressures buffeting the market.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected