A cargo ship collided with the shore in Istanbul’s Bosphorus strait on Dec. 27, according to the governor’s office and a witness, prompting authorities to close the picturesque and crowded waterway running through Turkey’s largest city.
There were no injuries or casualties, the governor’s office said, adding that the ship reported engine failure shortly before the collision. The Bosphorus was temporarily closed to traffic and the ship was to be towed, it added.
The Liberian-flagged Songa Iridum had come from Ukraine’s Odessa and was headed for Istanbul’s port of Ambarli, according to Refinitiv Eikon shipping data.
The cargo ship is 191-meters long and weighs over 23,500 gross ton.
Such accidents are rare on the Bosphorus, which is among the world’s busiest waterways for shipping, and is vital to Russia and other Black Sea states.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has revived plans in recent weeks to dig a canal on the western fringes of Istanbul to ease traffic on the Bosphorus.
Erdoğan said on Dec. 26 Kanal Istanbul will be built, despite widespread criticism on the project that’s expected to create land rent and massive environmental damage, as he also slammed Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu for opposing it.
“With this project, we are opening new areas for breathing and life for Istanbul that’s already jammed,” Erdoğan told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Dec. 26, as he referred to İmamoğlu’s remarks.
One of the main arguments of Erdoğan in his insistence on building Kanal Istanbul is the busy maritime traffic on the Bosphorus, as well as ship accidents on the strait.