Turkey: Pollution fines and criminal proceedings
The new tariffs for Turkish pollution fines have been published and the tariffs have increased significantly compared to recent years.
As earlier advised the local authorities who detects a pollution incident are under an obligation to report the incident to the public prosecutor immediately. Subsequently, the public prosecutor will commence a criminal investigation which is usually followed by criminal proceedings brought against the master of the vessel.
Members are encouraged to contact our local correspondents in case of an alleged pollution situation.
As in many other countries environmental protection causes significant fines against vessels violating pollution regulations.
In Turkey the fines will be imposed in accordance with the Turkish Environmental Code 1983, law no. 2872.
Every year the rates on the fines are revised in a declaration made in the Official Gazette and our local correspondents, Omur Marine, have kindly provided us with the attached circular advising the new rates applicable from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016.
It is worth noting that the fined amount for a repeated offender will be doubled and tripled on subsequent recurrences of pollution by the same vessel within three years.
The circular also contains information about the latest amendments to the Turkish Criminal Code (TCC) where two new articles were inserted regulating situations where pollution is caused "intentionally" or by "negligence", cf. TCC article 181 and 182.
In 2009 the Ministry of Environment and Forestry authorised and instructed port authorities, coast guards, commanderships and metropolitan municipalities to file a criminal complaint to the public prosecutors if pollution is deemed to be caused "intentionally" or by "negligence".
According to the circular the relevant authorities are obliged to file the criminal complaint without losing time and therefore most probably the public prosecutors will initiate criminal proceedings against the master of the vessel when the pollution is discovered. Payment of the pollution fine will not prevent criminal proceedings against the master.
Our local correspondent recommends all members to take immediate contact with them to avoid delay and complications in connection with an alleged pollution. Pictures and/or videos may assist in defending a fine issued due to alleged pollution and further loss prevention recommendations can be found in the attached circular.
The Association is grateful to Omur Marine for contributing to this update.
The above article has been produced by or in co-operation with correspondents or other external sources and is reproduced here with their kind permission for general information purposes only. Reference is made to the Legal disclaimer governing use of this website.