Istanbul's Bosphorus straits were closed to shipping for several hours on Monday to allow a massive pipeline laying platform owned by Saipem to pass through into the Black Sea, shipping officials said.
The Saipem 7000 entered the straits at around 9:45 am (0645 GMT
) on its way to lay an undersea gas pipeline in the Black Sea as part of the Blue Stream pipeline that will carry Russian gas to Turkey. Officials expect the platform to exit the Straits early Monday evening. The Blue Stream project is a partnership between Turkey's Botas, Eni of Italy and Gazprom of Russia. - (Reuters)