Bids have been invited from a short-list of nine ventures for a contract valued at around $20 million to install traffic control radars for shipping in the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits. New urgency has been attached to the long-discussed project by the introduction of stricter regulations for shipping from 1 July (MEED 15:7:94; 24:6:94).

Bidders are to submit two alternatives, one only for the Bosporus, and the other for a system covering the two straits with the intervening Sea of Marmara. They are: Alenia of Italy, Deutsche Aerospace and Atlas Electronics both of Germany; Nissho Iwai and Mitsui both of Japan; the Netherlands’ Signal Aparaaten; Raytheon Corporation of the US; DGB Systems of Canada; and the UK’s Marconi. The client is the Turkish Maritime Organisation.

Russia has protested against the regulations, but the government says they do not contravene the 1936 Montreux convention providing for free passage of shipping through the straits.

At stake is rivalry for export routes for the transport of central Asian crude to world markets. Turkey says export via the Russian Black Sea terminal of Novorossiysk would lead to unacceptable environmental dangers from potential shipping collisions in the Bosporus; as happened this spring with a tanker carrying Russian crude.

Ankara has lobbied for the construction of a export pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan to Ceyhan in the Gulf of Iskenderun. However, Moscow has been considering a pipeline project to bypass the straits through Bulgaria and Greece.