Ship dismantling underway in Turkish waters

Ship dismantling underway in Turkish waters

İdris Emen – ISTANBUL
Ship dismantling underway in Turkish waters

Abandoned ships in Turkish waters, or “ghost ships” as they have been called by fishermen, will soon be dismantled.

There are 114 abandoned ships in Turkey’s territorial areas in the Marmara, Aegean and Black Seas. Experts have warned these ships pose a great environmental and public health risk, which have led authorities to remove them from waters.

Following a recent amendment to the Turkish Harbors Law, giving authority to the Turkish Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Ministry to save these ships, it has initially been determined that 25 ships are priority to be dismantled.

One of these ships is the “Tallas,” a freighter that used to sail under the Cambodian flag. The ship was seized in 2015 due to his owner’s debts and waited in front of Istanbul’s Ahırkapı anchor point for two years without crews. In February 2017, it washed ashore to the Zeytinburnu coast due to severe storms. The ship went on sale in an auction on May 10 to be dismantled and scrapped. The ship manufacturing company Marsis, which won the tender bid, began dismantling the 65-meter-long and nine-meter-wide ship on May 24.

Ali Tamer Sukes, a representative of the firm, told daily Hürriyet on May 31 that the transportation of the ship to a shipyard was “risky,” which was why they had begun dismantling the ship where it had run ashore.

“Ships that have run ashore, such as the ‘Tallas’ or ones found submerged [in water] are damaged to the point that they cannot be transported. Such ships can sink when attempting to transfer them to the shipyard. This is why we are dismantling the ship on the shore,” said Sukes.

The firm representative said dismantling the “Tallas” would be completed in 45 days. “We have taken environmental safety measures for the dismantling of the ship. Later, we cleaned the inside of the ship and separated the materials used in the ship. Now, we are dismantling it to pieces in a way that will be accepted by recycling factories,” he said.

“MİNA-I” is another ship that will soon share the same destiny as “Tallas.” The 78-meter-long ship, carrying a Turkish flag, ran ashore at Maltepe port in Istanbul in November 2016. “MİNA-I” will be sold in an action on June 4 through a tender, after which a process will be launched to dismantle the ship.