Turkish authorities impose complete ban on Crimea traffic
On 06.10.2017, in the matter of “Principles of navigation in the regions of the Black Sea and the Crimea”, the Turkish government has issued a decision in order to prohibit vessels arriving from or calling at Crimea from visiting Turkish ports and, in this respect, all the Turkish ports, maritime/shipping agents, ship operators and shipowners were notified.
As per the subject decision, Turkish port authorities will not allow vessels sailing from Crimean ports to call at Turkish ports or vessels departing from Turkish ports to call at Crimean ports.
By the said decision, a strict control system is adopted.
According to this control system, port authorities are authorized to request the last port clearance and log book extracts of the vessels arriving from Black Sea and also are authorised to inspect other available sources on board the vessel, such as AIS, VDR data to clarify the last port of call of said vessels.
If it is found out that the vessel has arrived from Crimea, she will not be allowed to enter the Turkish ports. Furthermore, Turkish port authorities will not issue a port clearance for the vessels will sailing to Crimean ports.
In order to ensure that these restrictions are being imposed properly, Turkish port authorities require from agents to provide undertakings for vessels arriving at Turkey to confirm the previous departure port was not Crimea and also for vessels departing from Turkish ports to confirm that the vessel will not call at any ports of Crimea. Besides these, agents provide undertakings stating that Turkish authorities shall not take any actions with custom, port and trade documents related to Crimea and accepting the full responsibility that may arise in this respect.
These restrictions has been imposed to all vessels regardless of their shipowners, flags and whether they are loaded or not.
In principle, all port operations are carried out in accordance with agents’ declarations since it is not possible for the port officers to monitor all tracking systems. In practice, once a vessel arrives at a Turkish port, port agents issue a declaration to inform the port authorities about the vessels’ last port of call.
In this respect, there are some speculations that some agents misinform the authorities by issuing fake documents to make look like the vessels’ last port of call is somewhere else, not Crimean ports. Needless to say that this kind of attempts shall cause delays/detentions/fines.
It is known that one of the agent’s misguided attempts has been revealed that the documents of the cargo vessel named “DENIZ” was rearranged by stating her last port of call as Temryuk/Russia instead of Sevastopol/Crimea Port.
Except the above mentioned vessel, presently there is not any other case is recorded and known to public.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that no cargoes can be discharged in Turkish ports which contains statement of “Crimea” as loading port on its documents.
Maritime Risk InternationalAuthors: Artem Skorobogatov, Mehmet Dogu
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