28 Oil Tankers Logjammed in Turkish Waters

On Friday, 28 oil tankers were waiting to cross the Bosporus and Dardanelles, with Turkey citing the ships' lack of insurance papers as the reason for the logjam.

28 Oil Tankers Logjammed in Turkish Waters
Image credit: Reuters

Facts

  • On Friday, 28 oil tankers were waiting to cross the Bosporus and Dardanelles, with Turkey citing the ships' lack of insurance papers as the reason for the logjam.
  • This comes as the G7 countries, EU, and Australia have all agreed to bar shipping services, such as insurers, from allowing Russian oil exports unless it's sold at a low or capped price to deprive Moscow of wartime income.
  • The US Department of the Treasury says the cap applies only to Russian oil and doesn't necessitate additional checks on ships crossing Turkish territorial waters. Turkey says it's part of a separate insurance measure since the start of this month requiring ships to give proof of insurance for transit through the Bosporus strait or when calling on Turkish ports.
  • Ankara also stated that it's unacceptable to pressure Turkey over what it called "routine" insurance checks, adding that it could remove the tankers from its waters or require them to furnish new insurance letters covering their journeys through Turkish territory.
  • US Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen said that since most of the tankers are carrying Kazakh oil, there's no reason the shipments should be subject to Turkey's new rules. The EU said the delays are unrelated to the price cap and Turkey should continue verifying insurance "exactly the same way as before."

Sources: Reuters, Money Control, and Marine Link.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Splash 274. While the US and Europe seek to pressure Turkey into obeying their rules rather than its own, the truth is that this new insurance verification procedure is aimed at preventing Russia from circumventing sanctions. If Western powers want to deprive Putin of oil revenue, they should be applauding the prudent move by Ankara.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Yahoo! Finance. Since this is Kazakh oil and not Russian, there should be no issue here. With shipping companies claiming Turkey is asking for above price cap commission — putting them at risk of facing sanctions — the US and its allies have stepped in to resolve the issue and get oil moving westward again.