ISTANBUL, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Turkey shut its Bosphorus Strait, a key shipping channel for Russian cargo, to tanker traffic on Wednesday after a snowstorm reduced visibility and strong winds affected currents, shipping agent GAC said.
Southbound vessels less than 200 metres long were allowed to pass but traffic had still slowed sharply, an agent at GAC said. Maritime authorities barred all northbound traffic because of the northerly winds.
Poor winter weather conditions frequently force closures of the Bosphorus, which bisects Istanbul and is the only outlet to the world’s oceans from the Black Sea.
The strait is one of the world’s major energy shipping routes, with about 10,000 vessels carrying 150 million tonnes of oil and petroleum products on the waterway every year.
Tanker traffic in the Dardenelles Strait, located at the other end of the Sea of Marmara, was unaffected, GAC said. (Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Nick Tattersall and David Goodman)
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