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Press; Release Regarding The Explosion At A Gasoline-Laden Oil Tanker In The Marmara Sea (Unofficial Translation) January 25, 1999

The fire that broke out following a series of explosions at a gasoline-laden oil tanker navigating in the Marmara Sea in proximity to the shores of Armutlu town on 22 January 1999 was finally extinguished after intensive efforts. However the PPcooling work on the tanker continues and the situation remains dangerous.

Unfortunately, the threat that arose from this accident, during which two mariners lost their lives and three others were missing, is not only bounded by the loss of these five seamen. The lives and property of those people living in Armutlu and other towns nearby have come under serious threat. In addition to this, the environmental hazards of the leaking fuel may continue for a very long time.

The tanker disaster off the Armutlu coast has once again clearly justified the sensitivity shown by Turkey for safe passage of oil tankers through the Turkish Straits.

Turkey has taken and will continue to take necessary measures in order to reduce the extensive threat caused by the increasing tanker traffic in the Turkish Straits on safety of navigation, life, property and environment. Nevertheless, despite these precautionary measures, the enormous risk posed by the increased tanker traffic in the Turkish Straits will continue. The Armutlu incident was yet another display of this fact. An ultimate solution to this problem lies at the fact that the Turkish Straits and the Marmara Sea should not be converted into an oil pipeline. Turkey will maintain its resolute policy to ensure that the Turkish Straits and the Marmara Sea would not be transformed into an oil pipeline.