Turkey introduces stricter penalties against marine pollution and non-compliance with IMO 2022 sulphur limits


As a country surrounded by seas that include important international straits, Turkey has given marine pollution a special place on its environmental agenda due to the large volume of maritime traffic and the corresponding environmental risks arising from this traffic. Recently, Turkey took another step towards ensuring sustainability in the seas by adopting an amendment to the Environmental Law No. 2872, which was published in the Official Gazette on 15 June 2022. This amendment essentially introduced higher fines and new obligations, and creates new protected areas.

Sulphur cap

Under the IMO 2022 Memorandum of Understanding, to which Turkey is a signatory, a 0.5% sulphur cap on marine fuels will be introduced to reduce premature deaths and cardiovascular disease (due to sulphur oxide or SOx emissions) and to make the air cleaner by reducing about 8.5 million tons of SOx annually. Turkey has introduced a new category of sanctions. Specifically, a new paragraph in the amendment introduces the following tariff for non-compliance with the sulphur cap:

  • 200 TRY (approx. 11.16 EUR) per gross ton for vessels up to 1,000 gross tons;
  • An additional TRY 25 (EUR 1.39) per gross ton for vessels between 1,000 and 5,000 gross tons; and
  • An additional TRY 5 (EUR 0.28) per gross ton for vessels over 5,000 gross tons.

Responsibilities of the facility managers

Entities managing shore facilities such as ports, shipyards, ship recycling facilities and marinas are obliged to inform the> competent authorities of pollution occurring in their administrative area. If the pollution is not reported to the competent authorities by the respective entities, an administrative fine of TRY 25,000 (EUR 1,394) will be imposed on the entities concerned. If the necessary measures for the collection and management of marine litter, waste and sewage are not taken, administrative fines of between TRY 25,000 (EUR 1,394) and TRY 100,000 (EUR 5,578) will be imposed on the entities concerned.

Drainage of waste and sewage

According to the law, administrative sanctions are imposed in the following cases:

  • Dumping of petrol and petroleum products by tankers;
  • Dumping of dirty ballast by tankers;
  • Dumping of petrol/oil products and dirty ballast by ships or other watercraft; and
  • Discharge of waste and sewage by ships or other watercraft.

However, the amendment has clarified the content of "discharge of wastes and effluents". Accordingly, waste water, water mixed with detergents, foam, exhaust gases, wash water and similar wash waters as well as solid waste are now also covered by the term "wastes and effluents". Furthermore, the examples listed in the amendment are not exhaustive.

If sewage or solid waste is discharged into the sea:

  • A fine of TRY 5,000 (EUR 277.85) will be fined to is imposed on vessels weighing up to 18 gross tons;
  • TRY 10,000 (EUR 555.31) will be fined to is due for vessels weighing between 18 and 50 gross registered tons;
  • TRY 20,000 (EUR 1,110) will be imposed on vessels weighing between 50 and 100 gross tons; and
  • TRY 30,000 (EUR 1,665.92) will be due for vessels weighing between 100 and 150 gross tons.

For more information on environmental legislation in Turkey, please contact your CMS client partner or local CMS experts: Döne Yalcin