Casualties in the Strait

The Strait of Istanbul is a narrow “S-shaped” channel of complex nature with several sharp turns and headlands, which prevent a proper look-out, and with changing currents. Such geographical and oceanographic conditions make the navigation, open to international shipping, very difficult and risky.

The density of maritime traffic in Bosporus, which link Black Sea to Marmara Sea, has increased eleven-fold from around 4,400 ships passing annually in 1936, when Montreux Convention was signed to regulate transit and navigation in the Straits, to an average of 48,000 vessels per year recently. With 132 vessels transit daily, not including local traffic, it ranks second to Malacca Straits in density.

During the period from 1953 to 2002, 461 maritime incidents occurred in the Istanbul Strait or in its southern entrance at the Marmara Sea. The majority were collisions.

December 14, 1960 “ Yugoslavian flagged M/T Petar Zoranic, carrying gasoline, collided with the Greek tanker M/T World Harmony at Kanlıca Point. 20 ships
officers and crew died, both masters included. 18,000 tons of oil spilled and caused pollution. Fire lasted for some weeks and suspended transit traffic. The Turkish vessel Tarsus collided into the Zorani and burnt with it.

September 15, 1964 – Norwegian flagged vessel Norborn contacted the wreck of Petar Zorani at Kanlica Point. Fire broke out and oil spilled.

March 1, 1966 “ Two Soviet flagged vessels M/T Lutsk and M/T Cransky Oktiabr collided at Maiden’s Tower Point. 1,850 tons oil spilled, caught fire and caused the Turkish passenger ferryboat Kadıköy and the ferry boat terminal of Karaköy burn completely.

July 3, 1966 “ Turkish passenger ferryboat Yeni Galatasaray collided with lumber carrying Turkish coaster Aksaray. 13 people died in the following fire.

November 18, 1966 “ Turkish passenger ferryboat Bereket hit the Romanian flagged Ploesti. 8 people drowned.

July 1, 1970 “ Italian vessel Ancona ran ashore and caused the downfall of a building under construction. 5 people died.

December 27, 1972 “ Two Turkish vessels, the passenger ferryboat Turan Emeksiz and the cargo ship M/V Sönmezler collided. 5 people died.

April 21, 1979 “ Romanian flagged vessel M/V Karpat collided with the Turkish ship M/V Kefeli. 11 people died.

November 15, 1979 – Romanian registered M/T Independenta collided with Greek ship M/V Evriali at Haydarpaşa Point. 43 people died in the exploding Romanian tanker. 94,600 tons of crude oil spilled and the following fire lasted weeks.

April 2, 1980 “ Greek ship M/V Elsa collided with the Soviet vessel M/V Moskovosky. 2 people died.

November 9, 1980 – British vessel Nordic Faith collided with Greek flagged ship Stravanda. Fire broke out.

September 24, 1985 “ Turkish Navy fast attack boat TCG Meltem collided with a Soviet Navy war ship. Meltem sunk and 5 Turkish marines died.

October 29, 1988 “ Maltase registered ammoniac carrier M/T Blue Star contacted the Turkish crude oil tanker M/T Gaziantep, which was on anchor at Ahırkapı Point. 1,000 tons ammoniac spilled in the Marmara Sea.

March 25, 1990 “ Iraqi tanker M/T Jampur carrying gasoline collided with the Chinese flagged bulk carrier M/V Da Tung Shang at Sarıyer Point. 2,600 tons of oil spilled from Jampur and caused severe pollution.

November 14, 1991 – Philippines flagged M/V Madonna Lily collided with the Lebanese flagged live stock carrier

M/V Rabunion XVIII at Anadoluhisarı Point. 5 people died. 21,000 sheep drowned in the Romanian vessel sunk and their corpses caused a major pollution.

March 13, 1994 “ Crude oil carrier M/T Nassia collided with the bulk carrier M/V Shipbroker, both Cyprus registered. 27 people lost their lives. 9,000 tons of petroleum spilled and 20,000 tons burnt four days long affecting the marine environment severely. Traffic in the Strait was suspended for several days and Shipbroker burnt totally.

December 29, 1999 – Russian tanker M/T Volganeft-248 grounded at Florya Point with 4,000 tons of fuel-oil on board and split into two pieces. 1,500 tons of oil spilled to the sea. Clean-up operation of the contaminated recreational beaches took about two years.

October 7, 2002 – Maltase vessel M/V Gotia stranded at Bebek Point. 22 tons oil spilled causing environmental damage to the boats in the marina and the structures at the waterfront.

November 10, 2003 – Georgian flagged cargo ship GGC Svyatoy Panteleymon ran aground off Anadolufeneri and broke into two pieces. Around 500 tons of oil spilled and caused pollution.

Between 1982-2003,  608 accidents occurred, 564 ships did not have a pilot on board

Amount of Casualties
Year Bosphorus Strait Dardanelles Strait
1995 4 12
1996 7 10
1997 11 5
1998 20 7
1999 9 7
2000 9 8
2001 20 9
2002 13 9
2003 13 4
2004 26 4
2005 42 20