Containership Grounds in the Bosphorus Strait

January 2, 2020

A foreign cargo ship ran aground in Istanbul's Bosphorus strait on Friday, requiring a rescue operation and prompting authorities to temporarily close the picturesque and crowded waterway running through Turkey's largest city.

There were no injuries or casualties, the governor's office said, adding that the ship had reported engine failure shortly before its grounding near the shore.

There was no damage to the concrete walkway running along the shore, Reuters witnesses said.

The Bosphorus, among the world's busiest shipping routes, was temporarily closed to international traffic as boats towed the vessel south towards the Sea of Marmara.

The Liberian-flagged Songa Iridum had come from Ukraine's Odessa and was headed for Istanbul's port of Ambarli, according to Refinitiv Eikon shipping data. Shipping agency GAC said the rescue work had been completed on the vessel.

Such accidents are rare on the Bosphorus, which is vital to Russia and other Black Sea states for shipping and some naval passage.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has warned about such accidents as he has revived plans in recent weeks to dig a massive canal on the western fringes of Istanbul to ease traffic on the Bosphorus.

The city's new mayor, environmentalists and hundreds of petitioners oppose the Kanal Istanbul plan.



(Reporting by Yoruk Isik, Can Sezer, Daren Butler and Ece Toksabay; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Gareth Jones)

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