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Three dead after oil tanker collides with fishing boat off Istanbul

Coast guard boats searching for the three missing crew members of the sunken fishing boat, Jan. 10. 2020. (AA Photo)

PortandTerminal.com, January 11, 2020

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – Three people were killed Friday after a Turkish fishing boat sank off Istanbul’s northern coast following a collision with a Russian oil tanker. Dense fog and reduced visibility are being blamed for the incident.

Moments after the incident, the Istanbul Governorate closed down the Bosporus to maritime traffic due to heavy fog. About 56,000 vessels pass yearly through the Istanbul Strait (part of the Bosphorus Strait), among them 10,000 tankers carrying 145 million tons of crude oil. 

The fishing boat sank after the collision. Authorities were able to rescue three out of the six people on board. The cause of the incident remains unclear, with rescue efforts underway for the remaining victims.

READ: Istanbul Canal – Turkey wants to build a 28-mile sea canal but many don’t want it

This is the second major maritime incident in recent weeks to occur along the heavily trafficked Bosphorus Strait. It is sure to add fuel to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s controversial plan to build a 28-mile canal that would connect the Black Sea to the north and the Marmara Sea to the south.

Erdogan says that once built, the canal would ease traffic and prevent accidents on the natural Bosphorus strait, one of the world’s busiest waterways, which cuts through the city of Istanbul, home to 15 million people.

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