The Turkish Parliament has been on a ratifying spree in the past
few weeks and has ratified a large number of international
conventions that were on the shelf for a long time. Among the
several international conventions related to shipping, two
conventions stand out: the International Convention on the Arrest
of Ships 1999 (hereinafter to be referred to as the "1999
Convention") and the International Convention on Maritime
Liens and Mortgages 1993 (hereinafter to be referred to as the
''1993 Convention'') on 25 March 2017. The two
conventions hold great value both individually and together as a
system of enforcing claims against vessels.
1. Arrest Convention 1999
Turkey had refused to become a party to the principal convention
of 1952 International Convention of Arrest of Ships to avoid
limiting the right of precautionary attachment under Turkish law
although this approach has been criticized.
The legislation brings little change to the rules that are
already in place regarding the arrest of ships in Turkey due to the
fact that the Turkish Commercial Code (hereinafter to be referred
to as the "TCC") that entered into force in July 2012 has
already adopted the 1999 Convention system with regard to the
arrest of ships. In fact, most articles of the TCC that are related
to ship arrest are verbatim translations of the articles under the
As set forth both in the 1999 Convention and its reflection in
the Turkish Commercial Code, in order for a claimant to
successfully arrest a vessel the claim must be a ''maritime
claim'', which are claims that are closely related to the
vessel concerned and thus grant the claimant the right to seek the
arrest of the vessel. An exhaustive list of maritime claims exists
both under the 1999 Convention and article 1352 of the TCC. The two
lists are identical apart from one addition to the wording of
article 1(1)(p) of the 1999 Convention in the TCC to cover
banks' claims under loan agreements.
2. Maritime Liens and Mortgages Convention 1993
Similar to the 1999 Convention, the drafting commission has
adopted the rules under the 1993 Convention in drafting the
relevant part of the TCC. There are minor differences such as
Turkey - practicing its right under article 6 of the 1993
Convention - recognizing general average contribution claims as a
claim secured by a maritime lien.
There are also some grey areas that will need to be addressed to
iron out discrepancies between the 1993 Convention and the TCC. An
example of such a topic concerns the right of retention set out
under Art. 7 of the Convention. The issue with regard to the right
of retention stems from the fact that even though the TCC grants
the shipyard owner a right of retention on the vessel, registry of
that right is not possible with the Turkish ship registries. This
contradicts with the registration requirement under article 12 of
the Convention and may cause the abrogation of the shipyard's
right of retention granted by the TCC.
Another issue that is due to stir up some difficulty in practice
concerns the different requirements for press announcements under
the 1993 Convention and the TCC. Simply put, the 1993 Convention
stipulates for the announcement of sale to be made "in the
State where the forced sale is conducted" whereas the TCC
requires announcement in Turkey when a Turkish flagged vessel is
sold abroad. It will be interesting but also open to problems to
observe how these differences play out in practice.
As outlined above, ratification of the two conventions brings
little change to the current set of rules applicable in Turkey.
Nevertheless the ratification is important for the harmonization of
Turkey with the international rules governing shipping. Please do
not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the
above or if you require any assistance with regard to ship arrest
or the registration and enforcement of maritime liens and mortgages
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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