Many accidents have occurred in world waters, the echoes of which continued for many years. Unfortunately, one of these accidents, which caused the death of many people and significant environmental damage, occurred in our country, in the Bosphorus, in November 1979. On November 15, 1979, the Independent tanker, carrying 96,000 tons of crude oil, and the Greek ship Evryali collided off the coast of Haydarpasha. The incident, the traces of which have not been erased for many years, was recorded as the worst tanker accident in the Bosphorus.

The accident, which killed 43 crew members of the tanker, seriously damaged many buildings in Istanbul and destroyed countless species of animals in the Bosphorus, went down in history as the disaster of the tanker “Independent”. Let’s look at the details of the worst accident in the Bosphorus, the disaster of the tanker “Independent”.

Exactly 44 years ago, the Bosphorus became the site of one of the largest accidents in the history of civil navigation.

The tanker “Independent” under the Romanian flag, which was supposed to transport 96 thousand tons of crude oil from Libya to the Romanian port of Constanta, reached the Bosphorus on November 15, 1979. The tanker cruising near Haydarpasha collided with the Evriali vessel flying the Greek flag, which entered the Bosphorus from the Black Sea!

The Independent, carrying 96,000 tons of crude oil, exploded with a loud noise!

So much so that the windows of many houses in the coastal areas of Istanbul were broken, and some buildings were seriously damaged. In early December, a second major explosion occurred on the tanker.

Successive explosions and flames that could reach a meter height caused the disruption of fire fighting and garbage collection.

independent tanker disaster

An expert report prepared after the accident reported that the Greek ship had a “major malfunction” while the tanker was found to have a “minor malfunction”.

In addition, the absence of a pilot on both ships was cited as one of the important causes of the accident.

The fire that arose after the explosion of the tanker “Independent” lasted about a month!

Residents of Istanbul have long witnessed the vivid traces of this terrible accident close by. On the other hand, after the accident, the Bosphorus was at the center of terrible ecological destruction due to the oil spill.

In order to prevent the leakage of oil from the tanker from spreading to a wider area, a 1-kilometer barrier brought from the United States was installed in the strait.

independent tanker disaster

However, the Bosphorus was the victim of a rare environmental disaster. According to studies conducted after the accident, 96 percent of the creatures that lived in the depths of the Bosphorus died due to pollution. It took many years for the fishermen of Istanbul to meet again with the masters of the Bosphorus…

After a terrible accident in the Bosphorus, all 43 members of the crew of the Independent tanker were killed.

independent tanker disaster

The material damage caused by the disaster of the tanker “Independent”, which was one of the worst accidents in the history of civil maritime navigation and had a huge impact on the whole world at that time, is estimated at 40 billion lire in the money of that period!

The crash of the tanker “Independent”, which caused a multi-day fire in the Bosphorus and clouded the sky with black smoke, caused long-term trauma to the residents of Istanbul.

independent tanker disaster

The wreckage of the Independent, which had fallen into disrepair after the accident, was removed only in 1987!

independent tanker disaster

The wreckage of a huge tanker, which for many years could not be removed due to various problems, continued to exist in the Bosphorus until 1987 as the most vivid reminder of the terrible accident to Istanbul residents. The wreckage of the Independent was towed to Tuzla in 1987, 8 years later…

This tanker accident in the Bosphorus has gone down in history as one of the biggest environmental disasters in Turkey.

independent tanker disaster

After the disaster that killed 43 people, 30,000 tons of crude oil were burned, causing Istanbul to be covered in black smoke, and 65,000 tons of oil mixed with the blue waters of the Marmara Sea caused the extinction of countless living creatures.

In short, the crash of the tanker “Independent” went down in history as one of the worst accidents in the history of civil navigation and one of the largest environmental disasters in our country.

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