Knock-off oil lubricants keep killing on roads
Sefer Levent / Burak Coşan HÜRRİYET / ISTANBUL
The most likely culprit of such accidents is '10 numara' oil lubricant, which is still being used as diesel fuel in many buses and trucks in Turkey.The young man takes a 16 kg tin full of lubricant on his back. He starts to carefully pour it into the gas tank of a bus by using a large funnel. His uneasiness is clearly seen from the way he keeps checking to see if there is anybody around. He puts away the emptied tin and takes another one that is full.
This is not a scene from a novel or a movie. It happened in Istanbul’s Esenler bus terminal and was filmed by daily Hürriyet July 30. Similar scenes were photographed by daily Radikal two years ago. Nothing changes, despite the fact that the knock-off oil lubricant, known as “10 numara,” keeps causing disasters.
At least 108 people have been killed and 4,002 injured in crashes across Turkey since July 26, as hundreds of thousands of citizens hit the roads to mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday. On July 27, four people were burnt to death when a public bus, which was traveling from Tuzla to Topkapı, caught fire as it was proceeding on the TEM highway in Kavacık on the Asian side.
A bus travelling from Istanbul to Çanakkale with 52 passengers caught on fire near the Keşan district of the province of Edirne early July 30. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Passengers warned the driver when they noticed a smell coming from the motor. The driver stopped the vehicle and everyone was able to get off of the bus, preventing a possible disaster.
The most likely culprit of such accidents is “10 numara” oil lubricant, which is still being used as diesel fuel in many buses and trucks in Turkey.
The additional taxes on “10 numara,” which is normally used in printing presses and heavy industry, have made it more expensive, but it continues to be used as seen in Esenler.
Transformer oil is even more popular nowadays, as it is even cheaper because no new taxes have been imposed on it.
Both types of oil shorten the lifetime of the engine, but high diesel prices encourage many operators to use them anyway, despite the safety risks. The 450-liter tank of an average bus is filled with regular diesel for 2,000 Turkish Liras, while transformer oil or “10 numara” lubricant fill the same tank for approximately 1,000 Turkish Liras.
The Energy Market Regulation Board (EPDK), Turkey’s energy watchdog, regularly inspects the sulphur levels in oil that is being sold at gas stations. There are cases where gas stations that sell oil with more than 10 ppm of sulphur are being fined and even shut down. However, as the latest photographs have shown, this illegal form of filling ones car up continues in secret elsewhere.
The most effective solution to prevent more “10 numara” disasters could be inspecting the vehicles on road.
“Most passengers don’t know that they’re travelling on a bomb. They can only be protected by inspecting them not only at gas stations, but while the vehicles are on the road,” a fuel industry insider told daily Hürriyet.