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The oil tanker logjam in the Turkish straits could ease in the coming days as four tankers are expected to cross the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul on Monday while another five were removed from Turkish waters via the Dardanelles Strait, the maritime authority of Turkey said on Sunday.
Since December 1, Turkish authorities have requested that all oil tankers passing through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles Strait crossing Turkish territorial waters have proof-of-insurance papers. The new Turkish regulation has created a traffic jam of a dozen tankers waiting to cross the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits, the main waterways linking the Black Sea with the Mediterranean.
Many oil tankers have dropped anchor near the key Turkish straits connecting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean, waiting for clearance from Turkish authorities who now demand new proof of insurance cover for tankers as the EU embargo and the EU-G7 price cap on Russian crude came into effect on December 5.
As of Friday, December 9, the number of oil tankers idling in the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Strait waiting to enter Turkish waters had swelled to 28, compared to 20 on Monday.
On December 11, the Turkish maritime authority said in a statement carried by Reuters that four tankers were set to cross the Bosphorus on December 12, having provided the requested proof-of-insurance documents, while five other tankers – which couldn’t provide such insurance information – were removed from Turkish waters via the Dardanelles Strait.
Most of the oil now sitting on tankers off Turkey is from Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan ships its crude from Russian ports on the Black Sea and oil from Kazakhstan is not subject to the EU embargo or the price cap.
According to the International Group of P&I Clubs, which provides protection and indemnity cover to about 90% of the global shipping trade, the new Turkish request of proof goes “well beyond” the information that is usually necessary, according to the Financial Times.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.