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The BBC's Chris Morris
"The Turkish authorities are leaving nothing to chance"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 8 December, 1999, 02:29 GMT
Y2K bug to close sea lane
Tens of thousands of ships use the Bosphorus Strait every year


By Turkey correspondent Chris Morris

The Turkish Government says it will prevent big ships travelling through the Bosphorus Strait for 12 hours on 31 December because of millennium bug fears.

Bugtown UK
Bugworld
The Bosphorus, one of the world's busiest sea lanes, runs through the middle of Istanbul - a city of more than 10 million people.

Navigating through the Bosphorus is hazardous enough at the best of times.

There are vicious currents and several sharp turns in a narrow channel which is used by tens of thousands of ships every year.

So on a day when no one quite knows which computers will work and which will fail, the Turkish authorities are leaving nothing to chance.

Ships of more than 3,000 tonnes will be banned for 12 hours and ships over 200 metres in length will only be allowed through the Bosphorus if they can produce a certificate proving their computers are millennium compliant and that their cargo is not dangerous.

'Turkey is behind'

The residents of Istanbul live in fear of the day when a major disaster could be caused by a shipping accident in the Bosphorus.

They do not want it to happen on the day when they welcome the year 2000.

Independent analysts say Turkey is behind many of its European neighbours in preparing itself to deal with the complications caused by the millennium bug.

Power and water supplies could well be affected.

The authorities believe they will be ready in time but the government has prepared a national contingency plan to deal with emergencies and it may order all financial institutions to close on New Year's eve.

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See also:
02 Dec 99 |  Europe
Y2K nuclear link unveiled
22 Sep 99 |  Americas
US and Y2K: Inconvenience not tragedy
08 Sep 99 |  Sci/Tech
Millennium bug: 'Last chance' warning

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