Plans Laid For Aircraft Carrier Bosphorus Transit

Tuesday, January 09, 2001
Turkish shipping experts will meet soon to discuss how to safely sail a giant aircraft carrier without engines through the Bosphorus that bisects the country's biggest city, Anatolian news agency said. It said the panel had already met once and denied passage through the straits to the 300-m (1,000-ft.) Varyag, a decommissioned aircraft carrier, citing security concerns for the city of Istanbul. The Varyag has been idling in the Black Sea since July. Passage through the Bosphorus, the narrow, busy and winding waterway that links the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and the world's oceans, is not normally restricted for commercial ships in peacetime under the 1936 Montreux treaty. But Turkey fears the vast platform, which must be guided by a flotilla of tugs, could present a danger to the waterway and the city of 10 million people through which it runs. Officials say the vessel was purchased from Ukraine by a Chinese group which aims to convert it into a floating pleasure palace off China's seacoast. Anatolian said the issue was raised during a recent visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and the panel of shipping experts would meet again to examine plans for the passage. - (Reuters)

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