ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Turkey is set to bolster its fight against smuggling as part of a EU-backed project by purchasing a number of boats and other equipment to secure its seas and ports.
Turkey is purchasing an initial total of 10 sea patrol boats, five container screening systems and 25 specially equipped patrol vehicles as part of the undertaking, which is being supported by the European Union.
The moves will reduce the wait time for trucks at ports, Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı said in a recent statement. Yazıcı also said the ministry was taking extra measures to fight against smuggling in the seas, particularly the trafficking of humans and fuel oil.
The 10 sea patrol boats will be sent to the Marmara provinces of Istanbul and Çanakkale, the Aegean cities of İzmir and Muğla, the Mediterranean city of Mersin and the Black Sea
cities of Trabzon, Samsun and Artvin, which have intense transportation traffic and pose smuggling risks, he said.
The 12-meter-long new patrol boats have a crew capacity of 7 people and a maximum speed of 33 knots.
As part of the project, the ministry conducted a 15-month-long study in collaboration with German
and British customs administrations, Yazıcı said, adding that the ministry teamed 24 instructors with international experience on customs surveillance and patrolling on the seas and ship and container searches.
He said that the ministry was taking extra measures to fight against smuggling – especially fuel oil and human smuggling – on the seas, adding that they confiscated 205 million Turkish Liras worth of drugs, fuel oil and commercial goods in the first ten months of 2012, up from 122 million liras last year.