ANKARA (Reuters) – A tanker crashed into a historic mansion on the shores of Istanbul’s Bosphorus on Saturday after its steering equipment became locked, broadcaster CNN Turk said, adding that traffic in the strait had been suspended in both directions.
Towboats and coast guard vessels were sent to the area after the crash and the “Vitaspirit” tanker, carrying a Maltese flag, was pulled back from the crash site and brought to shore, CNN Turk said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, but footage from the crash showed extensive damage to the historic seaside mansion located under the Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge, one of the three crossings between Istanbul’s Asian and European sides.
The Hekimbasi Salih Efendi Mansion has stood on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait since the 18th century and is used to host weddings and concerts, according to the mansion’s website.
The Bosphorus is one of the world’s most important choke points for maritime oil transports, with more than 3 percent of global supply – mainly from Russia and the Caspian Sea – passing through the 17-mile waterway connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.
It is also used by vessels carrying grain from Russia and Kazakhstan to international markets.
(Reporting by Umit Bektas; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Hugh Lawson)