Turkey: Marine Surveyors And Survey Companies Will Soon Have To Obtain Operating Licences Or Face Sanctions

The Ministry has enacted a new regulation that imposes an obligation on individuals and companies acting as marine surveyors to obtain an operating licence.

The Regulation of Surveying Services in Maritime Commerce ("Regulation") has been enacted by the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication and published in the Official Gazette on 16 December 2016. The Regulation governs the performance of surveying services in relation to maritime commerce as well as overseeing the authorisation and auditing of surveyor businesses and individuals.

According to the Regulation, businesses that will provide surveying services are required to obtain an operating licence from the General Directorate of Maritime Commerce ("Directorate"). In addition, surveying services in relation to dangerous cargoes and cargoes the loading of which are dangerous, require also a dangerous substance compliance certificate from the Directorate General for Dangerous Goods and Combined Transport Regulation. The licences shall be valid for up to 5 years.

However, the Regulation excludes surveying activities that are carried out by the staff of the ports, owners, shipyards or cargo owners for their own benefit, surveying or certification activities performed by an organisation mandated by the flag state of the vessel for the purposes of issuing the required certificates and activities related to insurance matters.

Maritime surveying services are specified under the Regulation which covers a limited list of surveying services in relation to vessels, sale and purchase of vessels, chartering, provision of fuel and oil, loading and discharging, cargo quantity, storage and security of cargo, port-terminal areas and containers.

The Regulation requires businesses that will provide surveying services to obtain an operation licence and sets out the criteria they have to meet such as employing at least two licenced maritime surveyors or being registered in the Chamber of Maritime Commerce etc. Businesses that are first time applicants and not accredited are required to have a professional liability insurance or a minimum paid capital of 100.000 TL.

Individuals who will act as surveyors are also required to obtain a licence from the Directorate and to work for a licenced business.

Licenced surveyors are obliged to issue a survey report following the service they provide and these must be kept by the survey company for at least 5 years. In addition, licenced businesses are also under an obligation to prepare activity reports and periodically submit these to the Directorate every 6 months.

If the Directorate identifies actions in breach of the Regulation, it can issue warnings or impose administrative fines, suspend activities or terminate licences.

One of the restrictions imposed on licenced businesses is that they cannot be party to an employment contract or be in partnership with the party receiving the service. Furthermore, licences obtained can neither be used by another business nor assigned or transferred to another business.

Port, shipyard and similar coastal organisation can neither prevent the performance of surveying services nor withhold any information necessary from licenced surveyors or survey companies. However, surveyors without a licence or who are unable to document their authority will not be permitted entry in coastal facilities or on board vessels. In addition, those who seek surveying services are obligated to receive these services from one of the licenced businesses under the Regulation.

The Regulation will come into force on 16 June 2017. It is imperative that operating survey companies who are already active review their licencing requirements and those companies planning to enter the business, review their eligibility in light of the new legislation. At ErsoyBilgehan, with experience spanning over two decades in shipping as well as administrative law, we advise and assist companies about their eligibility and provide assistance in their applications to the Ministry.

Originally published 23 December 2016

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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