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A Boat at the pier

Reducing emissions from ships

Transition Assistance and Institution Building


The growth of shipping, essential for international and Turkish trade, has been accompanied by a commensurate rise in the sector’s contribution to local and global air pollution. Located on a busy international shipping route, Türkiye saw its own fleet double in number from 2004 to 2008. The country’s seas and coastal areas were being exposed to increased pollution levels from shipping emissions, which were also fuelling the deterioration in air quality in some areas.

The project’s aims and core activities

The aim of this project was to help the Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs implement high-level controls on ship-sourced emissions in Turkish waters and thus minimise the health risks for Turkish people.

The first step was to measure and estimate the effects of greenhouse gas and other pollutants in the environment by developing software that uses dispersion modelling. This program was fed data already being collected for other purposes: a pollution crisis-management system, shipping movement information, and readings from automated air quality stations run by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

This data allowed for the preparation of a development plan to devise ways to reduce targeted emissions from ships, such as by using more efficient technologies and energy sources in vessels, controlling their speed and routes, and using market-based tools such as environmentally differentiated rates and dues.

The necessary legal texts to bring Turkish law on controlling ship-sourced emissions into line with international and EU standards were then drafted and tabled in the Turkish parliament. The intention is to declare an international emission control area covering the Turkish Straits, which will immensely increase air quality and reduce health risks in the region.

In order to enforce the new regulations at the national and local level, over one-third of the ship inspection officers in the Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs were given specific training.