Diving teams of the Turkish military safely detonated a floating naval mine present in the Black Sea, the defence ministry informed on Wednesday. This is the third mine of this sort found in its waters from the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
Russian and Ukrainian authorities have been accusing one another of laying mines in the waters of the Black Sea. In late March, military diving teams from Turkey and Romania had managed to defuse stray mines in the country’s waters.
Turkey, a NATO member, borders the Black Sea, similar to Russia and Ukraine, which Moscow invaded on 24 February in a “special military operation”.
The Black Sea has long been used for transporting oil, grains, and oil products. The waters are shared by Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Romania, as well as both Russia and Ukraine.
The Black Sea links to the Mediterranean and Marmara seas via the Bosphorus strait that runs via the heart of Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey with about 16 million residents.
The stray mines inevitably pose risks for vessels that pass via the Bosphorus and could result in damages if they end up hitting the vessels, especially crude oil ships.
Maritime officials suggest that the risks of coming across floating mines in the major Black Sea shipping route are adding to the problems related to merchant ships, and governments must make sure there is safe passage to keep the supply chains running seamlessly.