Saturday 24th of August 2019, 17:40 CET
Russia fights Turkey over restricted Bosporus oil transports
May 5, 2003
Moscow Times

Posted by HW on August 23, 2019

Restricted Bosporus traffic
Russia on Wednesday attacked Turkey for restricting shipping through the crowded Black Sea Bosporus strait, crucial to Russian oil exports, saying it should not take unilateral decisions.

PM critics
Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, on a visit to Novorossiisk, Russia"s main Black Sea port, criticized Turkish limits on the transit of most oil tankers through the Bosporus that have been in place since October.

Never alone
"We understand Turkish officials" preoccupation, but we must solve these problems together. Decisions to change cargo transit rules should never be taken unilaterally," Interfax quoted Kasyanov as saying.

October
Kasyanov said he had ordered the Foreign Ministry to hold talks with Turkey about the issue of the Bosporus, which links the Black Sea to the world"s oceans.

Turkey placed new limits on the transit of most oil tankers through the Bosporus last October, effectively slowing transport for the more than 3.5 million barrels per day shipped from Russia"s Black Sea ports to the Mediterranean and world markets.

New rules
The new rule ended nighttime passage for ships of more than 200 meters and ordered those vessels and others carrying dangerous cargoes to request transit 48 hours in advance. The limit had previously been 250 meters with no 48-hour advance request necessary.

The new regulations affect tankers carrying over 50,000 tons -- which includes almost all crude vessels and the majority of oil product shipments. It raised costs for refiners and has hit profits for Russian and Caspian oil exporters.

The rules also ban passage in the opposite direction when vessels of 250 meters to 300 meters are passing through.

55,000 vessels
Russian, Ukrainian and Georgian Black Sea terminals export at least 1.7 million bpd, with another 1.9 million bpd of oil products also leaving the region.

More than 55,000 vessels per year pass through the narrow winding Bosporus, which cuts through Istanbul, a city of more than 10 million people.

Concerns
Increased shipping traffic through the straits from the former Soviet republics around the Black Sea has raised concerns about the threat of accidents and pollution.
 
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