Watered-down Bosporus rules apply

03 June 1994

The UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO), under pressure from Turkey, has approved new rules to improve the safety of ships passing through the Bosporus, but the measures fall short of Turkey's demand for more stringent curbs. The rules will come into effect on 24 November.

The IMO's Maritime Safety Committee agreed on the package in London on 25 May, about two months after a collision in the Bosporus between a tanker and a freighter killed 13 seamen and spilled oil, polluting the waterway.

The rules include recommendations that all vessels entering the straits take part in the Turkish reporting system, that masters use a qualified pilot and that ships over 200 metres long navigate the area in daylight. They also require ships to observe traffic separation schemes.

Turkey had demanded tougher rules, including a possible ban on larger vessels, but there was strong opposition from Russia and other nations dependent on the straits for exporting oil and other commodities.

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