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Accident date
Bosporus strait
Accident area
Bosporus strait
Spill area
Cause of spill
Nature of pollutant
crude oil
Quantity spilled
95, 000 tonnes
Ship / structure type
Oil tanker
Built date
276.51 m
40.06 m
Lemar Shipping Co, Ltd

The accident

On Friday 13 March 1994, the Nassia was travelling from Italy to Russia when she was hit by a cargo ship, the Shipbroker, in the Bosporus strait.
A crack immediately appeared in the vessel, causing the release of 95,000 tonnes of crude oil. 3 of the 10 tanks were damaged. The oil quickly ignited, causing 5 successive explosions.

The fire spread to the Shipbroker, sparing only the skeleton of the vessel. The incident had a severe impact on human lives: between the two ships, 24 crew members were killed, 29 injured and 10 reported missing.

The Nassia after the fire
The Nassia after the fire


The fire was difficult to control and it took the fire service several days and nights to put it out.

On 18 and 19 March, overflights of the area showed that several hundred tonnes, or possibly as much as 2,000 tonnes, of crude oil had been spilled. The situation evolved rapidly for the better. The slicks dissipated at sea. Only some sheen remained visible. Navigation in the strait was cut off and floating booms and skimmers were used.

Crude oil slick
Crude oil slick

New directives

Bosporus is a crossroads for large tankers and other vessels transporting toxic substances. Some 50,000 vessels pass through the strait every year. The narrowest part of the strait is around 700 m wide and increasingly subject to currents and counter currents which make navigation particularly delicate for the largest ships.

Between 1982 and 1994, over half of the accidents occurring in Bosporus were collisions. During the first half of 1994, over ten accidents occurred. The government therefore decided to alter the navigation rules in this strait and to implement a traffic separation scheme. Many measures entered into force, such as a ban on the use of automatic pilot, the need for special permission for certain vessels and the possibility of obtaining assistance at the entrance to the strait.
From 1st July 1994, the Turkish authorities, supported by the International Maritime Organization, decided to impose assistance by professional pilots on the largest vessels entering the strait. This assistance is paid for by the vessels wishing to pass through the strait.

Last update: 10/04/2007