Three new ships join Istanbul’s fleet without Istanbulites’ consultation
Cihan PhotoIstanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbaş introduced three new ships to join the city’s ferry fleet on May 28, this time choosing the ships without consulting Istanbulites, as had been the case since 2006, when the city’s residents voted for their preferred models.
Speaking at an inauguration ceremony held in Istanbul’s Sarıyer district, Topbaş stressed the importance of properly utilizing the city’s seaways.
“Sadly, water transportation is enjoyable but slow. Why? Because our ships can go from four to six nautical miles [per hour], on average, they are slow…” he said.
Topbaş claimed the new ships, which can reach a speed of up to 12 nautical miles per hour, will solve this problem.
The new ships are double-ended, meaning they can travel from one port to the next without having to turn around, and can save up to 25 per cent in both fuel and time. They also have low-emission engines.
The ships were designed by the research and development department of Istanbul’s municipal Şehir Hatları at a total cost of 13.5 million Euros.
Each ship has a capacity of 700 passengers and includes entrances and exits suitable to the needs of disabled citizens. Special areas designated for animals and baby rooms are also present.
Despite the ships’ impressive on-paper qualities, there has been criticism against the ferries, as they joined the city’s fleet without prior approval by the city’s residents.
In June 2006, the municipality began an online survey asking Istanbul residents to choose their favorite model from eight different designs. The city’s residents, with a 41 per cent majority, chose the model most similar to Istanbul’s nostalgic ferries, in stark contrast with the new ships’ modern design.
The residents were consulted once again in 2011, this time to choose the color of public buses.
Information on the new ferries was initially announced by Topbaş on Feb. 5, at which time he stated that although the models were decided upon, the people would be consulted on the ships’ colors. However, such a survey never took place.