ANKARA (Reuters) -Turkish military diving teams safely detonated a floating naval mine in the Black Sea, the defence ministry said on Wednesday, the third such mine found in its waters since the Ukraine war.
Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of laying mines in the Black Sea, and in late March, Turkish and Romanian military diving teams defused stray mines in their waters.
NATO member Turkey borders the Black Sea, as do Russia and Ukraine, which Moscow invaded on Feb. 24 in what it describes as a “special military operation”.
The Black Sea is used for shipping grain, oil and oil products. Its waters are shared by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, and Turkey, as well as Ukraine and Russia.
The Black Sea links to the Marmara and the Mediterranean seas via the Bosphorus strait, which runs through the heart of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city with 16 million residents.
The stray mines pose risks for ships passing through the Bosphorus and could cause damage if they hit vessels, especially crude oil ships.
Maritime officials say the risk of coming across floating mines in the major Black Sea shipping route is adding to perils for merchant ships in the region, and governments must ensure safe passage to keep supply chains running.
(Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Daren Butler, Hugh Lawson and Barbara Lewis)