Turkey: One Regulation Applicable To All Turkish Ports

The regulation prepared by the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication which entered into force after being published in the official gazette on 31st of October 2012 (˝ the Regulation˝) consolidates all the bylaws, regulations and instructions in a single Regulation. Thus the Port Regulations of Aliağa, Ambarlı, Anamur, Ayvalık, Bandırma, Bodrum, Ceyhan, Çanakkale, Dikili, Enez, Fethiye, Gelibolu, Güllük, Hopa, İskenderun, İstanbul, Karadeniz Ereğli, Karasu, Karataş, Kefken, İzmit, Mersin, Rize, Silivri, Şile, Taşucu, Tekirdağ and Tuzla have been abolished and the operations conducted in 70 ports will now be subject to a single regulation. As defined in article 2 (1), the Regulation frames the duties, powers and responsibility of the port authorities as well as the responsibility of the persons concerned with ships, vessels and shore facilities in relation to their maritime operations towards the port authority, excluding the port authorities situated in inland waters.


According to the article 2 (2), the Regulation is applicable, unless otherwise is specified, to all ships and vessels and shore facilities operating in the port's administrative zone. Furthermore, the Regulation contains special provisions for passenger ships, excursion ships and hydroplanes. However, state owned ships, military ships, and military shore facilities and vessels or shore facilities belonging to the law enforcement officers are not included in the scope of the Regulation.


The Regulation standardizes and updates the port's administrative zones and borders together with the anchorage berths. The new regulation aims to increase the efficiency of the services provided and a better administration of the sea traffic. The rules relating to the navigation, approaching the dock and leaving the port of the ships and vessels are revised. All forms of load and passenger transportation, place and time, pilotage and towing boat services are reframed. The Regulation attributes great importance to the discipline and precautionary measures. A whole fifth section entitled "Discipline and Order", consists of 17 articles, is reserved for the realization of discipline and order in the ports. The Regulation has other provisions in other sections concerning the obligation to give prior notice in order to promote precautionary measures.

The Obligation to Give Notice to Entering the Port Zone

Ships and vessels under 300 Gross Tons ("GT") used for touristic activities of excursion, entertainment or sport and 'home trade' fisherman boats which approach the shore facilities assigned to them are not subject to the obligation to give notice. However the obligation to notify has been adopted concerning Turkish or foreign flagged ships or vessels navigating internationally (article 9) as well as Turkish and foreign flagged ships carrying dangerous loads (article 18) in two different articles. According to article 9, the abovementioned ships and vessels are obliged to give notice twenty four hours before entering the port zone or if the navigation duration of the ship or vessel to enter the port zone is less than twenty four hours after leaving the relevant port facility. Ships navigating internationally and carrying dangerous loads are also subject to complete the Dangerous Load Manifest Form and notify the port authority in writing. Pursuant to the Regulation, ships carrying petroleum and derivatives thereof or other harmful and dangerous substances should carry out the necessary notifications to the port authority and bear the financial obligations required by the international agreements to which Turkey is a party. The Regulation specifies the administrative sanctions which shall be applied on the violation of these provisions.

Dangerous Substances

The Regulation has stipulated ships carrying dangerous substances both within the obligation to notify as well as adherence to the rules which should be applied and precautions which should be taken by the shore facility. Docks, piers, storehouses, warehouses allocated to explosive, inflammable, combustible and other dangerous substances shall be defined by the shore facility managements. The loading and unloading of the ships carrying dangerous substances shall be made in the docks and piers reserved to them. Furthermore, if the unloaded dangerous substance cannot be stored in the dock or pier it must be removed from the shore facility within the shortest period of time. Besides regulating the dangerous substances, the Regulation aimed to provide a uniform organization and prevention system by adopting rules which shall be followed and preventive actions which shall be taken by the shore facilities in article 19. This article comprises elements on prevention such as installments and equipment for the loading or unloading of bulk fuel and emergency discharge plan.

Berthing and Anchoring Rules

Rules on berthing and anchoring have been regulated in a comprehensive manner for ships subject to the obligation to give notice. Pursuant to article 10 (1) the ships and vessels in question cannot berth or anchor without obtaining a waybill. No waybill can be obtained for ships and vessels which have more than 24 hours remaining to the expected arrival time affirmed in the general declaration during that time. Article 10 (2) excludes ships and vessels which constantly berth and anchor as well as those which provides certain listed services from this obligation. In order to realize a uniform organization and order, several circumstances have been taken into account while regulating the rules to which the ships and vessels must obey in the situation where there is no berthing space available.

Pilotage and Towing Boat Services

Article 13 of the Regulation requires the presence of a maritime pilot in certain ships and vessels. Tankers over 500 GT, all ships and vessels transporting dangerous substances, Turkish flagged ships and vessels over 1000 GT, foreign flagged ships and vessels over 500 GT and foreign flagged commercial and private yachts over 1000 GT which come alongside or leave the shore facility are obligated to use a maritime pilot. All foreign flagged military ships, when entering or leaving non-military shore facilities, are obligated to use a maritime pilot.

Special Provision for Istanbul and Izmit Port Authorities

The Regulation provides under article 41 special provisions on Turkish and foreign military ships visiting the Ä°stanbul Port Authority. It also specifies that passenger ships can anchor in Dolmabahçe on the condition they obtain prior authorization. Special principles have been adopted concerning the modes of transport of dangerous substances between the European and Asian side in order to promote security. Also limitations have been introduced concerning height restriction in the Istanbul and Izmit Port Authorities. For the Istanbul Port Authority it is stipulated that the ships and vessels which have a height greater than 58 meters cannot pass through. Ships and vessels where height capacity is between 54 and 58 meters can only pass the Bosphorus accompanied by towing boats, the number and strength of which will be defined by the port authority. A similar rule including different figures concerning height restriction has been brought for İzmit Port Authority. Concerning traffic safety, the situation of decrease in the visibility of distance has also been regulated by the Regulation.

Powers of the Port Authority

According to article 8 of the Regulation, the relevant personnel of the ships and vessels which navigate in the port's administrative zone, which are in the shore facility or which wait at anchor as well as relevant personnel in the shore facility or other relevant persons are obligated to follow the directions within the scope of the Regulation and national or international statutory provisions given by the port authority regarding navigation, security of life, property and environment safety and security. The Regulation provides power to the port authority in order to fill the gaps in the security and prevention rules which have not been regulated in the Regulation. The shore facility operator is subject to the directives of the port authority in conformity with the Regulation and statutory provisions. In addition, in emergency situations pilotage and towing boat organizations should follow the directions of the port authority. Even though the Regulation has adopted uniform rules, it has also accorded some discretionary powers to the port authority for the conditions related to navigation, safety, life, property and environment safety which may arise. Furthermore, pursuant to article 22 entitled "Matters Subject to the Authorization of the Port Authority", prior authorization of the port authority is necessary for activities such as buoying, diving, seabed and underwater studies, seabed dredging and similar activities within the port administrative zone. In accordance with the article 38, the port authority has the duty and authority to inspect in the port. Another power is stipulated under article 10 (i), for the berthing and departure of tankers carrying LPG, LNG combustible, inflammable explosive loads to the shore facilities during night-time which are authorized only if approved by the port authority.


The port regulation in question aims to install a balance between Turkish ports in terms of competition, effectiveness and security and promotes uniformity. The Regulation is aimed to sustain the continuity of the efforts regarding taking initiatives, renovation, investment and augmentation of effectiveness. It is expected that within the scope of uniform regulation of the general rules with the grant of a limited discretionary capacity to the port authority, the Regulation will have a positive impact on transparency and efficiency hence support the increase of the volume of sea trade.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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