Cargo Shortage Fines – Turkey
We set our advice regarding the Cargo shortage fines imposed by the Turkish Custom in respect of short delivery.
When cargo is short-delivered, Custom will serve a notice to the local agent of the vessel declaring the commencement of the claim with regard to the shore figure scale and will request a proper explanation as to why there is a difference between a bill of lading figure and an outturn figure.
The Agent is granted three months from the date of the notice in order to explain the reason for shortage. In this period of time, the Agent must serve a proper explanation or present a Short Shipment Certificate.
It is possible for the Owners/ Agent to request a three-month extension. At the end of the second three-month extension, a final one-month extension can be also requested. However, it should be noted that the extension periods are at the Custom’s discretion and could be also granted as 1+1 month. The custom can also ask the supporting documents such as ongoing correspondence between the Agent and the Owners/Shippers/load port agents to decide on the extension.
At the expiry of this period, if the Owners /Agent fail to prove the reasons of the shortage or present a Short Shipment Certificate, the fine will be imposed.
The party facing the fine can follow the below mentioned ways:
A- To Accept The Fine:
* Paid within 15 days without challenge.
* 25% reduction will be applied to the fine amount.
B- To Object The Fine:
* A reasoned objection must be filed within 7 days before the Customs Chief Directorate.
* In the event of the objection is rejected, the relevant party can file a court case before the Administrative Court within 60 days, staring from the date of the rejection. It should be noted that the survey report issued by the independent surveyors are not considered as an independent evidence by the Courts and the Judges are generally decide on the basis of custom’s figures.
As the enforcement of the custom fines are protected by the Public law, the authorities are entitled to collect it from the Agent directly regardless of whether the Agent represents the Owners or the Charterers.
Recommendation to Avoid Imposition of The Shortage Fines
In order to avoid proceedings by the Customs, the Owners should check the quantity of the cargo loaded at the loading port prior signing the cargo documents carefully.
The shortage can only be avoided by the presentation of the Short Shipment Certificate issued and signed by Shippers or load port agents. Their signatures must be legalised by the local Chamber of Commerce and the Turkish Consulate at the load port. This statement can be submitted to the local Custom by the Owners or via their local discharge port Agents.
Legally, we suggest the Owners to make an application before the Court at the discharge port to carry a court survey to determine the amount of cargo discharged in order to avoid any issues of discrepancies between the ship and shore figures.
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