>Lesson To Be Learned From Libya Evacuation (Part 2)

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In my personal the the most important lesson that Turkey should learn from the Libyan NEO is that it is the high time for Turkey to invest in new, large, fast and seaworthy passenger ships.

Compared to the evacuation by air the evacuation by sea was very limited. Only 8351 person, 36% of the evacuees, were transported by sea. This is direct result of Turkey’s lack of suitable passenger ships. The 5 ferries Turkey have sent to Libya were all the available and suitable ships that a country with a coast line of 7200 km could muster. There are no other passenger ships with a longer range, larger capacity or better accommodations under Turkish flag.

Since the decommissioning Turkish flagged pure passenger ships in 1980’ies, long range cruise shipping is dominated by foreign companies such as Royal Caribben Cruise, Costa or MCS. And most of the local passenger shipping is limited to short hauled trips across the Marmara Sea. Therefore neither the government or the private companies invested in new passenger ships in the last decade.

The three ferries M/V Samsun, M/V Ankara and TCG Iskenderun are similar ships built to a Polish Baltic ferry design. The first two were constructed in Poland and the last one build with Polish help in Turkey. They are slow. Their average speed during the trips was around 11 knots. M/V Ankara needed 77 hours for its return trip from Benghazi to Istanbul. M/V Samsun is 28, M/V Ankara is 26 and TCG Iskenderun is 24 years old. Without any doubt they are reaching the end of their useful service lives. What would we do if the Libya crisis happened not today but in 5 or 6 years time. Where we forced to evacuate by using the fast ferries only?

The Austral build M/V Osman Gazi and M/V Orhan Gazi are fast and modern compared to the Polish ferries. But these ships are configured for 2 to 3 hours trips from one side of the Marmara Sea to the other. They lack the hotel facilities the Polish ferries have and they are prone to bad weather more than the other ships. These ferries had to wait in Marmaris for 3 days until the gale in the Mediterranean wind down before they could start their second journeys.

It is not possible to predict when or where the next Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation will be executed. But if the three previous operations can create an example it is safe to say that it will be in the Mediterranean. Therefore it is safe to assume that the next NEO will involve evacuation by the sea.

Now it is right time to investing in new passenger ships and find an economical solutions or business ideas to operate and maintain them. Or otherwise for the next civilian evacuation we might to beg for ships.

Lesson To Be Learned From Libya Evacuation (Part 1)

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