That’s why some oil tankers can’t get through the Bosphorus

Russian oil tanker

Some oil tankers are currently prohibited from passing through the Bosphorus Strait.

(Photo: dpa)

Istanbul Ships are piling up on the Bosporus – and there are no signs of easing. 15 ships are currently waiting to pass through, but Ankara does not want to be put under pressure by this. the United States and Great Britain call on the Turkish government to rethink. But what exactly is the background to the conflict?

As a result of EU oil price cap and the new regulations that come with it, some oil tankers are currently being prevented from passing through the Bosphorus Straits in the Turkey prohibited. A regulation has been in force since Monday that is intended to force Russia to sell oil to customers in other countries for a maximum of 60 dollars per barrel (159 liters).

Since then, Western insurance companies have only been able to insure shipments of Russian oil if the upper price limit is observed. Otherwise they have to reckon with sanctions. This is what the sanctions provisions say. The G7 countries and Australia support the oil price cap.

Actually, every ship is allowed to cross the Bosphorus, since it has been classified as an international waterway since 1936. However, after several tanker accidents in the past century, Turkish authorities are allowed to ask some tankers whether they have taken out special liability insurance for ships, a so-called P&I insurance.

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Normally, a ship’s insurance cover can be viewed on the insurers’ websites. But the latest round of sanctions stipulates that a ship transporting Russian oil will only receive industry-standard coverage if its cargo was purchased at $60 a barrel or less.

According to the Ministry of Transport, the Turkish authorities are therefore checking whether the insurance on the ships is still valid. Only insured tankers are allowed to pass through the more southern Dardanelles straits.

Turkey fears that a possible accident while transiting Turkish waterways will not be compensated if the insurance company does not confirm the protection of this cargo. The Bosphorus, for example, runs through the 16 million metropolis of Istanbul.

Turkish authorities insist on insurance

“It is considered unacceptable that P&I insurance companies do not issue their commercial customers (shipowners) with a confirmation letter citing their legislation as part of the insurance policies they issue, because it is said to involve a great deal of effort,” complained the Turkish Navy Authority.

According to the authorities, it is not a question of the insurers issuing policies for ships even if they break the oil embargo, as initially reported. “The confirmation letter requested merely states that the named ship’s insurance is valid for passage through the Strait and we are not requesting a confirmation letter to be submitted for a ship whose insurance policy includes sanctions evasion.”

For the USA, on the other hand, the case is clear, at least with the stuck deliveries from Kazakhstan. “We have stated that they are not capped at all,” said US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “There is absolutely no reason why they should be subjected to any procedures,” she said, adding that the US is in talks with the Turkish authorities to “try to manage the situation.”

More: Despite the price cap – oil prices are rising again.

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