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Strait of Otranto facts for kids

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Strait of Otranto
Gulf of Taranto map.png
Map showing the location of the Strait of Otranto
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Basin countries Italy, Albania
Average depth 18 m (59 ft)

The Strait of Otranto connects the Adriatic Sea with the Ionian Sea. It separates Italy from Albania. Its width at Punta Palascìa, east of Salento is less than 72 kilometres (45 mi). The strait is named after the Italian city of Otranto.

During World War I, the strait was of strategic importance. The Allied navies of Italy, France, and Great Britain kept the Austro-Hungarian Navy from freely entering the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1997 and 2004, nearly 100 people lost their lives trying to illegally cross the strait. This was following the 1997 unrest in Albania and poor economic conditions in the Tragedy of Otranto and the Karaburun tragedy.

In 2006, the Albanian government said that motor-powered sailing boats could not sail on all lakes, rivers, and seas of Albania. This was to prevent organized crime. Government owned boats, foreign owned boats, fishing boats, and jet boats are still allowed. In 2010, the rule was extended for 3 more years, until 2013.

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