|A Matter of International Law
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A Matter of Transiting International Waters Through A Sovereign State
Among the navigational chokepoints of maritime commerce, the Bogaz and
Canakkale are among the worlds busiest.
Under international law, the Montrose Treaty of 1936 designated the passage as
such. The straits throw some nasty conditions at ships such as severe course
changes and seven knot currents. At one point in Canakkale, the width is only 700
meters. This makes it almost incomprehensible under international law and
maritime law how the no pilot necessary rule emerged. However, the legacy of
ship accidents in the straits makes it clear that even if international attorneys can
argue that the legal rule is the product of a treaty, it might not necessarily be sound
The Bogaz Straits handle about 50,000 ships a year. If you live in one of those
charming yalis near Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge that everyone envies, you have
ships passing under your nose. And if you consider that such ships are not
required to carry a pilot onboard to assist the regular deck officers on watch, it can
be an unnerving thought. As bizarre as this may seem, it is like this because the
straits are regarded as international waters.
Despite being legally classified as international waters, the contiguous waters of Istanbul are
among some of the busiest seaways in the world, swelling with their traffic load of about
50,000 ships a year.
Although the charm of a yali as a home is undeniable, it is one of the few places in the world
where a ship can collide into your living room.