Snowstorm shuts Turkey's Bosphorus Strait
Istanbul, December 20, 2012
Turkey shut its Bosphorus Strait to northbound traffic on Thursday after a snowstorm reduced visibility in the major shipping channel, maritime officials said.
Four vessels were waiting south of Istanbul to pass through the strait, shipping agent GAC Turkey said in an e-mail.
One southbound vessel in the Black Sea was scheduled to pass on Thursday, it said.
A Turkish Coast Guard official said the Bosphorus may re-open overnight, weather permitting.
The Dardanelles Strait at the other end of the Sea of Marmara remained open to both directions, despite a strong gale warning, an official in the western city of Canakkale said.
Poor weather frequently forces the closure of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles in winter, disrupting the flow of one of the world's major energy shipping routes.
Each year, some 10,000 vessels carrying 150 million tonnes of oil and petroleum products use the waterways, which are the only maritime outlet for Black Sea countries shipping oil and other commodities. – Reuters