15 oil vessels blocked at Turkish Straits amid EU sanctions on Russian oil

ANKARA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Fifteen oil tankers were banned from passing through the Turkish Straits due to a lack of proper insurance amid the European sanctions on Russian oil, Türkiye's maritime authority said on Thursday.

The Protection and Indemnity (P&I) insurance of these ships is invalid due to the European Union (EU) sanctions and such insurance cannot be compensated in the event of an accident, the Turkish General Directorate of Maritime Affairs said in a statement.

"Crude oil tankers that cannot offer valid P&I insurance are not allowed to pass through the Turkish Straits and this rule has been in effect since 2002," said the statement, adding it would continue to block the passage of oil tankers without appropriate insurance letters.

The authority noted that Türkiye was not obliged to implement sanction decisions of other countries and international organizations, except those taken by the United Nations Security Council.

"However, we do not take the risk that the insurance company will not cover its liability in the event of a catastrophic accident that may occur if a sanctioned ship or a cargo passes through the Turkish Straits," it said.

Since Dec. 1, Türkiye has started to seek confirmation from the insurance companies that the crude oil tankers to pass through the Turkish Straits are fully insured, said the statement.

The EU's sanctions on Russian oil, which came into force on Monday, prohibit tankers transporting Russian crude from accessing European maritime insurance unless the oil is sold for 60 U.S. dollars per barrel or less.

Türkiye announced its own new insurance regulation before the EU price cap decision, and several tankers so far have been stopped from entering Turkish waters.

Türkiye has avoided calls by the United States and its Western allies to join the anti-Russian sanctions over the Ukrainian crisis.

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