TURKISH maritime authorities have reopened Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait to transiting tankers after shutting it earlier on Saturday for several hours following what the government said was an attempted coup by a faction in the military.
The Bosphorus is one of world’s most important chokepoints for the maritime transit of oil with over three percent of global supply – mainly from Russia and the Caspian Sea – passing through the 17-mile waterway that connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. It also ships vast amounts of grains from Russia and Kazakhstan to world markets.
On Saturday, forces loyal to the Turkish government fought to crush the remnants of a military coup attempt, following violence and clashes in Ankara and Istanbul.
Shipping agent GAC said traffic had reopened after being shut for several hours for security reasons and ships were now being able to travel again through the Bosphorus which divides Istanbul into European and Asian sides.
A spokesman for Russia’s pipeline monopoly Transneft said the main Black Sea port of Novorossiisk was operating normally and had enough tankers near the port to continue loading operations uninterrupted until July 25 regardless of what happens in the Bosphorus.
Reuters ship tracking data showed that around 10 oil tankers were anchored off the coast of Istanbul on the southern side of the strait, still waiting for instructions to sail through the narrow passage.