Ship queue lengthens in Turkey as forest fire rages on, states a Trade Wind News source.
Sea of Marmara
Immoblised vessels are piling up in the Sea of Marmara and the northeastern Aegean but traffic is to resume soon
An unrelenting blaze in Turkey’s Canakkale region has been blocking ship traffic for a third day at the Turkish Straits.
The MarineTraffic vessel tracker shows about 60 dry cargo ships and 30 tankers waiting for traffic to resume at Bozcaada, a Turkish island just south of the Dardanelles — the narrow waterway linking the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara.
About 50 dry cargo ships and 15 tankers appear stuck in the Sea of Marmara at the northern mouth of the Dardanelles.
Forest fires blocking ship traffic is a highly unusual occurrence but it can be explained by the particular geography of the area.
Firefighting planes and helicopters
Firefighting planes and helicopters collecting seawater in mid-flight and then dumping it from low heights on the raging Canakkale flames have no other access to water than the Dardanelles.
If ships had been allowed to cross the waterway, there would be high risk of collision with the firefighters.
Turkish authorities first suspended ship traffic in the area in the evening of 22 August.
Late on 23 August, Turkish coastguards announced plans to open Dardanelles traffic in the north-south direction from 10pm local time (20:00 GMT).
They backtracked just a few hours later to allow firefighting planes to start operating again in the dawn.
Early on Thursday, however, they said that one-way traffic would resume soon.
“Canakkale Strait ship traffic, which has been temporarily suspended in two directions due to the forest fire… is planned to be opened as one-way south-north from 11:00am,” they said in a tweet.
A separate incident
Meanwhile, a separate incident that briefly blocked traffic on Wednesday at the northern end of the Turkish Straits was successfully dealt with.
An aframax loaded with crude from Russia suffered a engine failure off the Turkeli Lighthouse near the Bosphorus — the north entry of the Turkish straits.
Two tugboats were promptly directed to assist the 109,900-dwt Guanyin (built 2005) — a Koban Shipping vessel they said was underway from Russia to China.
As of early Thursday, ship traffic in the Bosphorus strait, which links the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea, appeared normal.
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Source: Trade Wind News