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41deg/01min N 029deg/00 min E

Northwestern Turkey is divided by a complex waterway that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Sea. The channel passing between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara is named the Istanbul Bogazi, more commonly called the Bosporus. Istanbul is positioned at the south end of the Bosporus. The Sea of Marmara is connected to the Aegean Sea by a channel called the Canakkale Bogazi, also known as the Dardanelles.

Sixth Fleet ports of call are also located throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Ship visits ensure continued access to essential bases and infrastructure. Engagement capitalizes on naval strengths of mobility and sustainability, using the inherent prestige of U.S. flagged warships. Formative engagement is further enhanced by incorporating the full range of naval assets -- including Seabees, the chaplaincy, the Judge Advocate General corps, and civil affairs units -- during port visits.

Greater Istanbul is situated on both sides of the Bosporus and both sides of the Golden Horn, a waterway extending westward near the south end of the Bosporus. The western side of the Bosporus is commonly referred to as the European side, and the eastern side is alternatively called the Asian or Anatolian side. The port of Istanbul technically encompasses the entire length of the Bosporus.

The old, walled city of Istanbul, located on the south side of the Golden Horn, stands on the site of the old Greek settlement of Byzantium. The relatively new cities of Beyoglu and Galata on the north side of the Golden Horn are the commercial and modern shopping centers of Istanbul. A third section of greater Istanbul, Scutari, is located on the Asian side of the Bosporus.

The topography of Turkey varies from the lowlands of coastal regions to mountains exceeding 16,000 ft. The country is interspersed with lakes and is divided in the west by the Dardanelles, Sea of Marmara and the Bosporus. East of Istanbul the Pontic Mountain Range is oriented east-west along the north coast of Turkey and extends in some areas to the shore of the Black Sea. Much of central Turkey south of the Pontic Mountain Range is a relatively high area known as the Central or Anatolian Plateau. The Taurus Mountain Range extends east - west south of the Anatolian Plateau. The Aegean mountains, with some elevations exceeding 8,000 ft, lie roughly north-south on the western side of Asian Turkey.

The southern approach to the Bosporus is approximately 990 yd wide. All maritime traffic must stay to the starboard side of the channel. Charted depths in the channel vary between 11 to over 27 fathoms between the pilot pick-up point and the anchorage adjacent to Dolmabahce Palace. Pilotage is compulsory for all U.S. Navy vessels entering the Bosporus. They can be picked up either at the Black Sea entrance for southbound entry, or south of the entrance to Istanbul for northbound entry.

A bridge crosses the Bosporus approximately 3.5 nmi north of the southern entrance to the channel between Beylerbeyi on the Asian side and Ortakoy on the European side. The bridge has a vertical clearance of 210 ft over the central 1,312 ft of its total span of 3,524 ft.

Although other facilities are located on both sides of the Bosporus and in the Golden Horn (inner harbor), a large part of the Port of Istanbul is located on the Asian side of the Bosporus at Haydarpasa. Haydarpasa's quays total 6,522 ft in length. The port is protected by two breakwaters with an overall length of 5,607 ft. Up to six medium sized vessels may be accommodated simultaneously, and cargo operations may be made direct to and from wharves or railway trucks. Depth alongside quays varies from 19.7 to 32.8 ft. Other berthing facilities at Istanbul, located on the European side of the Bosporus, include passenger vessel piers about 1/2 nmi northeast of the Galata Bridge, a coal handling facility, and a cargo terminal.

Since U.S. Navy ships do not use any of the previously described berthing facilities, the areas of primary interest to the U.S. Navy are the anchorages at the port. Three anchorage locations are identified for U.S. Navy ships:

(1) The preferred anchorage for aircraft carriers is located on the Sea of Marmara just south of Istanbul near 40 deg 59 min N 28 deg 57 min E. Holding is good on a mud bottom in depths of 82 to 95 ft.

(2) Good anchorage for large vessels is also available off Haydarpasa.

(3) There are nine anchorage positions and four mooring buoys located on the west side of the Bosporus Channel adjacent to Dolmabahce Palace, approximately 2-1/2 nmi north of the southern entrance to the Bosporus. Good holding on a mud bottom is reported in depths of 82 to 115 ft.

Local authorities state that the fleet landing is located just south of Dolmabahce Palace on the west side of the Bosporus. It is common practice for U.S. Navy ships to rent water taxis to use for personnel and supply runs to/from ships in the anchorages. Run time from the aircraft carrier anchorage to the fleet landing is about 45 minutes, but the return trip takes only about 25 minutes. The difference is due to the strong southwesterly setting current. During difficult boating weather, ships may use the president's boat harbor, about 1,500 ft south of Dolmabahce Palace near a mosque, a location essentially coincident with the fleet landing described by local authorities.

Another location, called Admiralty Landing, is located just east of the Galata Bridge on the north side of the Golden Horn. It is not a designated fleet landing, and is available for use only in severe weather conditions that would make landing at the designated fleet landing unsafe.

There are five dry docks at the port. Mechanical handling facilities at the cargo terminal include six floating cranes with 10 to 60 ton capacities, two 5-ton and eight 3-ton electric cranes, 12 5-ton and three 3-ton mobile cranes, as well as several forklifts, and other, smaller freight handling equipments. Tug boats of 110 to 2,500 hp are available at the port.

The Port of Istanbul is open and exposed to wind extremes. But, due to the lack of extreme winds and relatively short fetch exposure, it experiences only minimal problems. The aircraft carrier anchorage, located west of the south end of the Bosporus, occasionally experiences south to southwesterly winds to 60 kt and seas to 8.2 ft. These conditions occur in advance of low migratory pressure systems approaching the area from the southwest. The same winds are felt at the anchorage in the bosporus adjacent to Dolmabahce Palace. However, according to local authorities, waves at that location are limited to only 1.5 ft. A sortie from the port is recommended when winds are forecast to reach 50 kt regardless of vessel location.

Although the southerly winds and south-setting currents generate a choppy sea, especially at the south end of the Bosporus, boat runs by rented water taxis are seldom canceled. To facilitate small boats coming alongside, local authorities state that camel barges are used at all times at the fleet landing and at anchored ships when water taxis are operating. Sizeable wakes produced by ferries passing close aboard at high rates of speed pose an additional hazard to small boat operation.

Another factor to be considered at Istanbul is the existence of strong currents in the Bosporus. Two ships occupying positions closest to the channel in the anchorage area adjacent to Dolmabahce Palace experienced swirling currents and moderate winds that required one ship to pay out additional anchor chain, and the other ship to relocate her position. The currents shifted direction frequently, resulting in one ship's heading being as much as 180 deg different from the other. The need for adequate swinging room was stressed.

Local authorities state that the major boating hazard in the region is considered to be the density of traffic through and across the channel. More than 500 accidents, including collisions, groundings, and other incidents, have been recorded over a 30-year period.

An extraordinary city' the only one in the world built on two continents, Istanbul straddles the Bosphorus Strait with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia. Its history and atmosphere are as rich and varied as its unique geographical situation would suggest. The former capital of great empires, present-day Istanbul (population 7.4 million) is the commercial center of Turkey. It is ancient and modern - a city of palaces and street hawkers, mushrooming mosques and luxury highrise hotels. The frenetic activity of Its teeming bazaars is mirrored on the water, too. Fleets of tankers and cargo ships ply the tricky waters of the Bosphurus daily, somehow avoiding the dozens of ferries scuttling back and forth between the European and Asian sides, while others criss-cross the narrow bay of the Golden Horn. Vehicle traffic goes trans-continental via the kilometer-long Bosphorus Bridge, one of the world's longest suspension bridges, poised 64 m (290 feet) above the Strait.

So the story goes, the city was founded by a Corinthian, Byzas, whose ship (in typical legendary style) sheltered from a storm in the protected waters of the Golden Horn. He named the settlement Byzantium, and it flourished as capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire for over a thousand years. The city was conquered by the Romans in the late 2nd Century AD, and renamed Constantinople by Constantine the Great in 330. After a period of decline, during which time the Crusaders even found time to take and abandon the city in the 13th Century, Mehmet the Conqueror, leader of the powerful Muslim Action, rode his horse into the Aya Sofia basilica in 1453. This heralded the arrival of the Ottoman Empire which would survive right up until World War I.

Istanbul can be divided into three sections. The two most important areas (for visitors), the Old Town and the New Town, lie on the European (west) side of the Bosphorus, divided by the Golden Horn. The Old Town, south of the Golden Horn, contains most of the major sightseeing attractions such as the Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofia and the Covered (Grand) Bazaar. The New Town, where the ancient settlements of Galata and Pera once stood separate from old Istanbul, is on the north side of the Golden Horn. Fleet Landing will be established here, next door to the Dolmabahce Palace. The third section is the Asian side, across the Bosphorus, which largely comprises residential suburbs with their own shopping and entertaining areas.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:51:11 ZULU