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Massive tanker crashes into mansion on Istanbul's Bosphorus

Maltese-flagged ship pulled back from Bosphorus crash site near Istanbul, leaving extensive damage to mansion.

A massive tanker has crashed into an historic mansion on the shores of Istanbul's Bosphorus Strait after its steering equipment became locked, according to Turkish state media, briefly suspending the traffic in the strait in both directions.

Towboats and coastguard vessels were sent to the area after the crash on Saturday afternoon and the Maltese-flagged tanker Vitaspirit was pulled back from the crash site to be brought to shore, state-run Anadolu Agency said.

There were no casualties in the collision, according to Turkish media.

The tanker was stranded under the Second Bosphorus Bridge, near Anatolian Fortress, in Istanbul's Asian part, Anadolu said, adding that the hit damaged the shore and the mansion.

The bridge, also known as Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, is one of the three crossings between Istanbul's Asian and European sides divided by Bosphorus.

The Istanbul governorate said that the ship was anchored to stop, but it still hit the shore at 3:30pm local time (12:30 GMT).

Footage from the crash showed extensive damage to the historic seaside mansion located under the bridge.

The building's roof and upper floors collapsed and videos showed the basement slumping into the water.

The Hekimbasi Salih Efendi Mansion has stood on the shores of the Bosphorus Strait since the 18th century and is used to host weddings and concerts, according to the mansion's website.

Such waterside mansions are among the most historic and expensive properties on the Bosphorus.

The Deniz Haber maritime news agency said that 225-metre Vitaspirit was heading from Egypt to Ukraine.

The Bosphorus is one of the world's most important choke points for maritime oil transports, with more than three percent of global supply - mainly from Russia and the Caspian Sea - passing through the 27-kilometre waterway connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.

It is also used by vessels carrying grain from Russia and Kazakhstan to international markets.

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