Update on sea pollution fines in Turkey

Steamship Mutual has published a Member notice from Istanbul-based Metropole Maritime & Trading Co which notes that, in Turkish waters, significant fines are now applicable to vessels that violate Turkish anti-pollution regulations. The administrative fines will be imposed in accordance with the Turkish Environmental Code 1983, Law no. 2872. With fine amounts revised annually. The pollution fines between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017 are as follows:

1) Pollution from petroleum tankers and derivatives (raw petroleum, fuel oil, bilge, oil mud, refined product oil waste etc)

Up to 1000 GT TRY84.91 ($23.60) per Ton

Between 1000 and 5000 GT Additional TRY21.18 per Ton

Over 5000 GT Additional TRY2.03 per Ton

2) Dirty ballast discharged to sea by tankers

Up to 1000 GT TRY63.67 per Ton

Between 1000 and 5000 GT Additional TRY12.70 per Ton

Over 5000 GT Additional TRY2.03 per Ton

3) Pollution from ships and other sea vessels that release petroleum derivatives (Bilge, oil mud, freight mud, fuel oil, oil waste or dirty ballast)

Up to 1000 GT TRY42.44 per Ton

Between 1000 and 5000 GT Additional TRY8.45 per Ton

Over 5000 Gross Tons Additional TRY2.03 per Ton

4) Garbage and sewage discharged to sea by vessels or any other sea vehicles

Up to 1000 GT TRY21.18 per Ton

Between 1000 and 5000 GT Additional TRY4.18 per Ton

Over 5000 GT Additional TRY0.79 TL Ton

The amount of the fine amount will double for a repeat offender and triple on subsequent recurrences of pollution by the same vessel within three years. In the event of any hazardous substances and waste being disposed into the sea, the fine will be calculated at 10 times of the amount calculated as per the category of Petrol and Petroleum Products fines.

Ship owners are entitled to lodge an appeal before the Administrative Court within 30 calendar days from the fine notification date. However, appealing the fine decision will not result in the lifting of the arrest order of the fined vessels. Metropole Maritime warned that “generally there are very low prospects of success in the appeal proceedings”.

The EPA is also entitled to ask for cash payment of the fine amount and generally they do not accept any form of security to release the ships. On an exceptional basis, they may accept bankers’ draft and/or payment guarantees to be issued by the ship agents payable within a maximum of one to two days and without any conditions.

In previous cases the authorities confirmed that they would release a vessel against an LOU issued by the P&I Clubs or insurers recognised by the Turkish Government. However, they asked for the original LOU and its notarised official translation. Metropole Maritime noted that “considering the time taken to deliver the original LOU and its notarised translation, the vessel may delay unnecessarily”.

Metropole Maritime generally recommends that owners affect payment of the fine amount less 25% so that the vessel would be able sail without any delay. It added that remitting the fine amount will not be considered as an admission of liability and the Owners may still appeal the fine decision. https://www.steamshipmutual.com/Downloads/Articles/Turkey%20-%20Pollution%20fine%20circular%202017.pdf