Turkish authorities said on Friday that they temporarily suspended south-north traffic in the Dardanelles waterway after a product tanker suffered an engine failure.

The 47,000-dwt Sappho (built 2005) was underway in the opposite direction at Canakkale when the malfunction occurred, said Turkey’s directorate general of coastal safety (KEGM).

Authorities immediately dispatched two tug boats to assist the MR, which vessel trackers currently show at the southern mouth of the Dardanelles, at Seddulbahir.

The Kurtarma 13 and Kurtarma 15 tug boats are already by the vessel.

Later on Friday, KEGM said the Sappho had anchored safely further west at Bozcaada anchorage in the Aegean Sea.

The Sappho used to trade as High Valor with d’Amico Tankers, which sold it in December 2021, two months before the Ukraine war began.

The vessel then emerged as Sappho under the registered ownership of Gardsea Shipping, a United Arab Emirates-based affiliate of India’s Gatik Ship Management.

This is the first known vessel in what later became a spectacular acquisition drive that led Gatik to assemble some 60 ships, primarily occupied in Russian tanker trades.

Gatik earlier this year largely disappeared from the radar following the loss of Western flagging, class and insurance services under the threat of G7 anti-Russia sanctions.

The Sappho is currently listed under the registered ownership of India’s Geras Ship Management and the management of Marshall Islands-based Sapphist Shipping.

Vessel trackers show it underway with a load of fuel oil from the Russian Black Sea terminals of Taman or Novorossiysk.

The ship’s journey, however, may have been problematic even before Friday’s engine failure off Canakkale. Vessel trackers show that it stopped for repairs or maintenance at Tuzla recently.

The Sappho’s P&I insurer has not been known since March.