Turkey: The Turkish Law On Sea Pollution

Last Updated: 6 September 2005
Article by Tevfik Gur

"The Law on Intervention in Emergency Situations Deriving from the Pollution of the Sea by Petroleum and Other Harmful Materials and Compensation of the Losses" was accepted by the President of the Republic of Turkey, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, and published in the Official Gazette on the date of 11.03.2005.

The preamble of the Law, as published by the Turkish Parliament, is as follows: "Due to the common shipment of petroleum and other harmful materials by sea and the activities of the coastal facilities regarding petroleum and other harmful materials, sea pollution by petroleum and other harmful materials has become a serious threat. Despite all the precautions, the risk of propagation of petroleum and other harmful materials to the sea as a result of collisions, fires, explosions and other reasons is still extant. Thus, determination of the interventions and activities in case of such risks has gained vital importance. Effective intervention in emergency situations necessitates the determination of the duties and responsibilities of the concerned institutions, determination of the intervention methods, readiness in advance, organization and planning. On the other hand, a country’s effective intervention to the incidents that occur in its sea jurisdiction area is accepted as an indication and confirmation of the country’s sovereign rights.

It should be noted that it is possible to guarantee compensation of the losses deriving from sea pollution by petroleum and other harmful materials by bringing forth the liability of placing certain insurances for persons and companies that perform activities that are likely to cause such losses.

Considering the fact that Turkey is a country surrounded by seas and is constantly exposed to the risks deriving from the traffic of vessels carrying petroleum and other harmful materials, it is an indispensable necessity to incorporate the liabilities we have undertaken with international conventions to our domestic laws.

This bill was drafted in order to abolish the negativities that have occurred regarding intervention and compensation in the incidents that occurred in the Turkish straits and sea jurisdiction area."

The new Law brings forth a triple structure, consisting of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Maritime Undersecretariat and the Coastal Defense Headquarters. While the preparation of the National Emergency Intervention Plan, ascertainment of the losses and rehabilitation of the polluted areas is in the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the duty of intervention in case of sea pollution has been assigned to the Maritime Undersecretariat and the Coastal Defense Headquarters have undertaken the responsibility of maintaining the public order.

In Article 3, paragraph (m), "petroleum" has been described as "the materials listed in the 1st Annex of Annex I of MARPOL 73/78 and in addition, crude petroleum, fuel oil, slac, refined products, and all the liquid hydro-carbon mixtures that naturally form below ground." In paragraph (d) of the same article, "other harmful materials" have been described as "the materials listed in the 2nd and 3rd Annexes of Annex II of MARPOL 73/78 and in addition, all materials except for radioactive materials that cause pollution when propagated to the sea." The vessels that constitute the scope of the Law are those that weigh more than 500 gross-tons and are loaded with petroleum and other harmful materials.

According to Article 5 of the Law, vessels that cannot prove conformity to the standards regarding sea-worthiness, load-worthiness and environmental safety, or those that create the impression that they are below such standards will not be allowed to enter the Turkish waters. Foreign vessels that have already entered the Turkish waters will be expelled immediately or will be granted a maximum time period of 30 days to conform to the standards. The vessels that cannot conform to the standards by the end of this time period will be expelled from the Turkish waters.

Article 5 of the Law brings forth the liability of informing the Maritime Undersecretariat about the properties of the vessel and the cargo 48 hours prior to entrance to Turkish waters. Vessels that fail to comply with this rule will not be allowed to enter Turkish waters.

Vessels carrying petroleum and other harmful materials have to possess the financial liability documents necessitated by the International Conventions signed by the Republic of Turkey in order to be able to enter Turkish waters. Vessels that do not possess the said financial guarantee documents will not be allowed to enter Turkish waters, and those that have already entered will be expelled immediately.

It has also been made obligatory for coastal facilities to place financial liability insurance. Coastal facilities that do not comply with this liability will not be permitted to activate.

The necessary materials and equipments that have to possessed and the personnel that has to be employed by coastal facilities will be determined with a Regulation and facilities that do not conform to these standards within the time limit that will be determined with the Regulation, will not be permitted to activate.

Article 6 of the Law states that, in incidents that occur with the involvement of two or more vessels and result in sea pollution, all the vessels that are involved in the incident will be jointly and severally liable for the losses that occur.

According to Article 3, paragraph (n) of the Law, the responsible parties regarding sea pollution are the owners, managers, Masters, charterers, possessors of the vessels and coastal facilities and their guarantors.

The new Law has been put into force on the date of 11.06.2005, three months after its publication date. While some members of the Turkish Parliament and part of the press are still against this new Law, the general opinion is positive. Seven members of the Turkish Parliament recently declared their dissential opinion with the justification that the new Law has totally ignored the role of non-governmental organizations and has not brought forth any arrangements regarding the precautions about sea pollution. It has been stated in the declaration that "The Law was not prepared with an environmentalist point of view. It was prepared with commercial pursuits and is far from meeting the expectations." However, the Law was appreciated by most of the press and the public opinion is that the Law is an important milestone in the history of Turkish Maritime.

"This is a belated law", admits Veli Kaya, member of the Turkish Parliament. "47,000 vessels pass from the Bosphorus every year, 70 percent of which are loaded with petroleum."

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions