Obligations And Sanctions For Marine Within The Scope Of Changes In Environmental Law
On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, the "Law on Amending the Environmental Law and Some Laws" was published in the Official Gazette numbered 31867. Except Article 15, all other articles of the law entered into force with its publication.
Within the scope of the law change, many laws have been amended such as the Construction Zoning law, the Agriculture Law, the Cooperatives Law and some penal sanctions, which are very closely connected to the maritime sector. The law entered into force with immediate effect and it is vital that the owners, operators and shipyards to apply relevant changes through immediately in order to avoid penal sanctions.
A gradual transition was implemented in ship tonnage with the 4th subparagraph of the (ı) paragraph of the of the first clause of Article 20 of the Environmental Law, which regulates administrative penalties. However, the issue of trash will be interpreted more broadly than the old text because of the way it’s drafted.
The relevant text with the amendment is as follows:
“An administrative fine of 5,000 Turkish liras for ships and other marine vessels up to eighteen (inclusive) gross ton, 10,000 Turkish liras for those between eighteen and fifty (inclusive) gross tons, 20,000 Turkish liras for those between fifty and one hundred gross tonnage, 30,000 Turkish liras for those between one hundred and one hundred and fifty (inclusive) gross tons; shall be imposed in the event that discharge of domestic wastewater, detergent water, foam, exhaust gas washing system waters and similar washing waters or solid waste into the sea. 100 Turkish liras for per gross ton for those between one hundred and fifty and one thousand (inclusive) gross tons, this amount and additional 20 Turkish liras for per gross ton for those between one thousand and five thousand (inclusive) gross tons, and the above amounts and additional 10 Turkish liras for per gross ton for those with more than five thousand gross tons.”
Fine for ships up to 18 gross ton: 5.000-TL
For ships of 18-50 Gross ton: 10.000-TL
For ships of 50-100 gross ton: 20.000-TL
For ships of 100-150 gross ton: 30.000-TL
For ships of 150-1000 gross ton: 100 TL for per gross ton
For ships of 1000-5000 gross ton: additional 20 TL for per gross ton
For ships heavier than 5000 gross ton: additional 10 TL for per gross ton
The paragraphs “ğğ” and “hh” have also been added to the relevant article. With the "ğğ" paragraph, an obligation of notification has been imposed for coastal facilities such as ports and shipyards.
As follows, if the ports and shipyards do not report the pollution occurring in their management areas, they will be punished with a fine of 25,000-TL, and if the wastes are not collected or the necessary measures are not taken, they will be fined between 25,000 and 100,000-TL. However, these sanctions will be applied at a rate of 1/3 for fishing port.
ğğ) “25.000 Turkish liras fine is imposed to the coastal facility managements if coastal facility managements such as port, shipyard, ship maintenance-repair, ship dismantling, marina do not notify the competent authorities of the pollution occurring within their management areas in violation of this Law and the regulations in accordance with this Law; 25.000 Turkish liras to 100,000 Turkish liras fine is imposed on these managements if they do not take the necessary measures for the collection and management of marine litter, waste and wastewater. Administrative fines in this paragraph are applied to fishing port at a rate of one third.”
The “hh” paragraph added to the article is more likely to reflect the obligation brought under international conventions. As it is known, the regulations adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in order to limit the emission of sulfur dioxide in international transportation and to set a global quota have entered into force as of January 1, 2020. Accordingly, it continuously reduces the amount of sulfur gas allowed in marine fuels. In addition to the relevant restrictions, the Organization has established more strictly controlled areas. These areas are called Emission Control Areas (ECA) and obligation of 0.10% sulfur has been imposed. As of January 1, 2020, the allowed Sulfur content outside the Emission Control Area is 0.50% m/m.
hh) “An administrative fine is imposed that use fuel oil containing more sulfur than the sulfur content specified in the international conventions and relevant regulations as 200 Turkish liras for ships and other marine vessels up to one thousand (inclusive) gross ton, this amount and additional fine of 25 Turkish liras for those between one thousand and five thousand (inclusive) gross tons, and additional fine of 5 Turkish liras for per gross ton and the above amounts for those with more than five thousand gross ton.”
As it is seen, for ships that do not comply with the sulfur ratio:
0-1000 GT : 200,00TL for per gross ton
1000-5000 GT : additioanl 25,00TL for per gross ton
Heavier than 5000 : additional 5,00TL to other amount for per gross
IMO has left it to the contracting states how to punish in case of violation of international regulations, and with this additional regulation, the existing gap since 2020 has been filled.
On the other hand, with the "Additional Clause", the penalties were increased by 2 times in the Marmara Sea and Straits Region, which were declared a Special Environmental Protection Area in 2021.
“The penalties stipulated in this article are applied twice in Special Environmental Protection Areas.”
Author: Ahmet Murat Gazioğlu