From 1st January 2000 the level of fines imposed by the Ministry of the Environment in Turkey for pollution are:
(a) Dirty ballast discharged from tankers between 1,000 and 5,000 GRT - Turkish Lire 29,887,650,000 (approximately US$44,764 ) and dirty ballast discharged from tankers over 5,000 GRT - Turkish Lire 149,438,250,000 (approximately US$223,819).
(b) Any pollutant in liquid or solid form discharged from any ship including tankers and dirty ballast from ships other than tankers over 1,000 GRT - Turkish Lire 29,887,650,000 (approximately US$44,764).
Members will note that even though the Turkish Lire continues to devalue rapidly these fines are substantial in U.S. dollar terms. We expect the amount of the fines to increase from January 2001 but no increase has yet been published by the Ministry of the Environment.
Further, if a ship is observed to cause pollution, however minor, by the Environmental Protection Authority a notice will be served to the master and agents that the ship will not be allowed to sail by the authority until payment of the relevant fine. The relevant laws and regulations are very strict and although there is a reference in the regulations to the acceptance of a bank guarantee or bond instead of the cash payment what the authority understand by a bank guarantee or bond is an unconditional cashable guarantee. Club letters of guarantee and insurance companies guarantees are not acceptable by law. Opposition to the fine is possible by filing a case with the Administrative Court within seven days of the incident although if the pollution has been observed/established by the authority there is no chance of reducing the fine however minor the pollution. Filing of a case with the Administrative Court does not stop the execution and collection of the fine.
Members are therefore advised, if they are to avoid any delay to their ships as a result of a pollution fine in Turkish waters they should establish a quick method of payment of these fines through their agents. The Club and the local correspondents will assist the Member as much as possible but, because of the cash payment demand before the ship is allowed to sail delays are possible.
Source of information:
David Clark (L6), Tony Kennedy (Specialist)