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Tanker clears Turkish shipping logjam with Russian insurance letter


(Reuters) — A letter provided by Russian insurer Ingosstrakh enabled the first oil tanker to sail through Turkish waters in recent days after tougher regulations were imposed by Turkish authorities, a document showed.

This has led already to at least 20 oil tankers backed up in the Turkish straits as they do not have the right paperwork.

Turkish authorities introduced new requirements, effective Dec. 1, that every ship must have insurance cover in place for all circumstances when sailing through Turkish waters or when calling at ports.

Ingosstrakh provided the requirements for the Liberia flagged Vladimir Tikhonov tanker, which included insurance for pollution risks throughout the period in Turkish waters, according to a letter issued to the authorities on Nov. 29 by the insurer and seen by Reuters.

The world's leading Western ship insurers say they are unable to provide cover for all circumstances, arguing they cannot be liable for payouts if, for instance, there are sanctions breaches with a ship's cargo.

Vladimir Tikhonov completed sailing through the Bosphorus on Dec. 3, ship tracking data showed.