Innovation In The Seas

In the past 30 years, Turkey has been warming up to the oceans. Turkey’s maritime fleet rapidly expanded, turning into one of the 15 largest in the world.

In the past 30 years, Turkey has been warming up to the oceans. Turkey’s maritime fleet rapidly expanded, turning into one of the 15 largest in the world. Ship and boat building developed. In the production of specially designed yachts, Turkey ranks third in the world and is one of the leading manufacturers of high-speed coast guard and naval patrol torpedo boats.

“We are the most expensive because we are the best…”

Yonca-Onuk, ARES and Dearsan are among the world’s best shipyards producing high-speed patrol torpedo boats and coast guard vessels. Orders from coast guards and navies of countries stretching from Malaysia to Qatar for Turkish-built vessels are on the rise. Yonca-Onuk’s “Kaan” class high-speed torpedo patrol boats are known worldwide for their versatility and ability to challenge large naval ships.

“The world is changing” Yonca-Onuk’s Vice Chairman Ekber Onuk, declared. “The strategy of the Cold War years is finished. High-powered, high-speed naval platforms can become more effective than battleships, just as we view them in documentaries. And it was from them that we were inspired. A pack of hyenas are stronger than lions. Similarly, we produce the technology that allows our patrol boats to challenge the biggest warships.

Now nations need to protect their coastal areas. Big ships and aircraft have been pushed aside. The importance of coast guard vessels and torpedo patrol boats has increased, especially in Africa where battles are being waged against pirates. Oil platforms in deep waters need to be protected against hostile attacks, and measures need to be taken against illegal fishing.

Our high-speed, highly maneuverable patrol boats are perfect in shallow waters. In addition to supplying the Turkish Navy, we are exporting our torpedo boats and coast guard vessels to Pakistan, Malaysia, Georgia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and other countries. More than 120 of our torpedo patrol boats are on the world’s seas. What Porsche and Ferrari are for automobiles, Yonca-Onuk is for naval vessels. We don’t transfer technology from anyone. We produce our own. We have invested considerably in research and development. We are producing the world’s most expensive naval vessels because we are by far the world’s best in terms of quality and technology. And the whole world knows this.”

Yacht producers seek to become world leaders…

According to the world Superyacht Builders Association, Turkey ranks fourth globally in the overall production of yachts. But Turkish yacht builders assert the nation can become the world’s leader with some incentives.

“The global annual market size for yachts is around $30 billion. Turkey is following Italy and England, and can easily compete with the U.S. Holland and Germany are behind us. Turkish yachts are of better quality than Italian yachts. We are producing light yachts using space technology. We could surpass our rivals,” said Ömer Malaz, a shareholder in Malazlar, a group with investments in yacht building and making matches.

Mr. Malaz’s Numarine company produces motor yachts. “Our costs are 30% less than our foreign rivals,” Mr. Malaz declared. “Those who see this are turning their orders to Turkey. With a few hundred million dollar incentives, we could produce three or four global trademarks in yachts.”

According to Başaran Bayrak, chairman of the Ship and Yacht Exporters’ Association, “If Turkey can produce trademarks in yachting, it has a great potential. We rank third in superyachts (length 24 meters to 100 meters – 78 feet to 328 feet), but we don’t presently compete with mass producers in bigger (mega and giga) yachts. In mass production, the customer wants to see trademarks.”

Mr. Bayrak said trademarks could not be created by companies alone but needed state support. “Taking part in big world trade fairs and other activities are important. But taking a yacht to an exhibition costs plenty. State support is needed here,” he stressed.

Turkish engineers and workers constructed the Maltese Falcon, an 88- meters (289-foot) long, 12.6-meters (41-foot) wide sailing yacht at the Tuzla Shipyards in Istanbul for American billionaire Tom Perkins, a major shareholder with Hewlett Packard and Amazon.

Carbon fiber was used for the sails, in total the size of a football field, for the first time ever. The yacht is capable of crossing the Atlantic in 10 days. The Maltese Falcon is the name of a Dashiell Hammett detective novel and a Humphrey Bogart film. Greek hedge funder operator and businesswoman Elena Ambrosiadou now owns the yacht.

The Vikings buy their boats from here...

Now, Beşiktaş is building four 65-meters (213-foot) seismic support ships for Thor, in the Faroe Islands. The Yalova Cemre Shipyard produced 35 special purpose ships for Norwegian ship owners. Yalova Cemre signed projects with Icelandic ship owners. Ada Tersanesi, which built X-Bow type ships to help repair and maintain wind farms in the sea for a Norwegian firm, also built four ferryboats for Norway.

A hybrid technology ferryboat to Canada...

Sedef Shipyard lowered to the sea a hybrid, twin-fuel ferryboat that it built in Tuzla for Canada’s Seaspan Ferries Corporation. The environment-friendly ferry boat, constructed with new technology, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and produces high performance and security. The hybrid-LNG ferryboat can operate with batteries, without having to burn hard fuels. The ferryboat 148.9-meters (489-foot) long and can carry 59 international transport lorries (TIRs) at the same time.

A floating power plant to Indonesia...

Karadeniz Holding, which owns the world’s only fleet of energy ships, has produced Turkey’s first two floating power plants for Ghana and Indonesia. The Ayşegül Sultan was sent to Ghana in West Africa, and the Zeynep Sultan was shipped to Indonesia in Southeast Asia. Under the name Power of Friendship, Karadeniz Holding has a nine energy ship project that will provide the emergency electricity needs of hospitals, schools and factories in the emerging economies of the world.

The world’s first automobile ferryboat Suhulet is 145 years old

The first Ottoman maritime company Şirket-i Hayriye was founded in 1851. Ferryboats were purchased from Britain for the transport of passengers and goods across the Bosphorus. But in time these also proved to be inadequate due to increased traffic. New ships were needed. The number of passengers was great, but the resources of the state for new investments were low.

Hüseyin Hakkı Efendi, the general manager of Şirket-i Hayriye, and Mehmet Usta, the chief technician and repairman of the boats at the Hasköy Atelier, found a practical solution to the problem.

They had a vessel built that could mainly carry horses and military personnel. Open on both sides the boat could land vehicles on both shores of the Bosphorus. It was kept big to allow it to carry large numbers of vehicles. This was an Ottoman innovation and the world’s first car ferryboat, Schulte (It means Ease or Facility), began operating between the districts Üsküdar and Kabataş.