More than 3% of the world’s oil supply passes though the Turkish Straits and the publication of OCIMF’s latest guidance on the Turkish Straits arrived as Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal, raising the profile of chokepoints worldwide
The Turkish Straits consists of Istanbul Straits (also known as the Bosphorus) and the Cannakkale Strait (Dardanelles), through which around 130 vessels per day pass: around 20% are tankers.
The Turkish Straits is a shipping chokepoint that presents a more difficult navigational challenge than the Suez Canal. The Straits is 17 nautical miles long, only 700 m wide at the narrowest point, includes sharp turns that obscure oncoming traffic and course alterations of up to 80°.
Like the Suez Canal, strong winds can be a problem: a northerly wind can increase the current from an average of 4 knots to over 7 knots and this can be reversed by powerful winds from the south.
To help develop risk assessments for companies operating in this area, OCIMF has updated the Guidelines for Transiting the Turkish Straits (published in 2007) and provided additional guidance. This information paper considers new and updated regulations and traffic systems, outlines risks of, and recommendations for, transiting the Turkish Straits and safe navigation.
OCIMF managing director Robert Drysdale said, “It’s difficult to imagine a more congested stretch of water with the potential to cause serious environmental impact in the event of an incident. Preparation and implementation of a robust transit plan is critical for the Turkish Straits. These updated guidelines will provide some assistance to operators in planning their transit.”
Riviera Maritime Media will provide free technical and operational webinars in 2021. Sign up to attend on our events page