Music played in ships in Bosphorus lead to complaints
Fırat Alkaç – ISTANBUL
The Istanbul Governor’s Office and the provincial directorate of environment and urban planning have ramped up their inspections on entertainment cruise ships touring the Bosphorus Strait following the increase in the number of complaints coming from residents regarding noise population.
Many residents have filed complaints with the authorities saying that the music played in the cruise ships were so high that they could not even go to sleep. One of them was Nedret Kalaycıoğlu, a local residing in the Makbule Atadan Mansion in the Kuruçeşme neighborhood of the Beşiktaş district, where many of these cruise ships anchor.
“Most of the entertainment cruise ships anchor in front of the mansions. They take in passengers from these points. Later, they tour [the Bosporus] by the coastline. They play music at very high levels. The sounds are especially loud at nights. There are many old and sick people in these houses. We cannot sleep due to the sound. We have filed complaints many times,” said Kalaycıoğlu.
“We have even changed the windows of the mansion. We have used sound-proof windows. For the noise to come less, we have put in money,” Kalaycıoğlu said.
Another person named Esra Çalışkan, also living in one of the houses along the Bosphorus, said that she also filed many complaints previously but there is still not a “permanent solution” regarding this issue. “Especially at night, we cannot stay in the house. They [the cruise ships] play tavern music,” she said.
In the inspections conducted by the coastguard and maritime police, five cruise ships were fined each between 6,000-36,000 Turkish Liras (approximately $1,000-$6,500) in July.
The cruise ships owners have also received a warning from the Istanbul Governor’s Office, which demanded that the ships’ music systems be in line with the Environmental Legislation. As per the 2872 numbered Environmental Law, the music on the ships cannot pass 70 decibel during the daylight, 63 decibel during the evening and 55 decibel after the 11 p.m.
The captain of one of the ships, Köksal Tosun, complained that the fines were too high. “The tourists who board the ship want music and entertainment. But despite us not turning the music up, mansion owners, especially in the Bebek neighborhood on the European side and Çengelköy neighborhood on the Asian side, file complaints about us all the time. So, we are subjected to heavy fines,” Tosun said.
“We are holding weddings, celebrations and various entertainments on our ship. Several people are working on the ship. It is especially foreign tourists that tour the Bosphorus with us. But, in the recent months, there are frequent inspections,” he said.
These inspections led many entertainment cruise ship owners — one of whom is Tosun— to acquire audio level meters in an attempt measure the decibel levels of the music played in their ships.
“We are sometimes subjected to unjust warnings as there are several entertainment venues in the Bosphorus. Their music mixes with ours,” he said.
Another captain, Mustafa Şavaş has similarly said that with an audio level meter, they were doing their own music measurement as, due to other factors such as the effect of the wind, a precise measurement was quite difficult.
“When there are lots of complaints, we take the tourists to the Marmara Sea instead of the Bosphorus. There are no houses, so people will not be disturbed there. But, even in the open sea, officials are imposing fines, doing inspections. Also, since the sea is wavy [in the open waters], glasses and plates fall and break. Tourists want a tour on the Bosphorus. We do not know what to do. The business we do is only valid for the summer season anyway; we cannot earn money in other seasons,” he said, adding that he also found the fines too hefty.