The Club’s local correspondents in Turkey have issued an important Circular advising that Turkish customs officers have been boarding vessels at random to check/ measure bunker quantities on board in order to verify declared bunker quantities in vessels’ pre-arrival documents. These checks are being carried out under Turkey’s Anti-Smuggling Code (Law numbered 5607). Under Article 3/1 of the Code, any individual found to have imported goods into Turkey in disregard of the customs procedures shall be punished by a prison term of between 1 to 5 years, in addition to a monetary fine of up to 10,000 days*. Please refer to the Circular for additional details.
Article 9 paragraph 2 of the Code additionally allows the confiscation of smuggled goods which means bunker on board exceeding any declared figure will have to be discharged from the vessel prior to departure. While vessels will not be detained, criminal arrest orders may be issued against the Master or the Chief Engineer. It is clear that falling foul of the Code can lead to serious consequences for the Master and the Chief Engineer, and cause significant disruptions to a vessel’s operations. Members are therefore strongly recommended to ensure that bunkers on board are carefully calculated and measured prior to the vessel’s arrival to avoid any mis-declarations to the authorities. The correspondents recommend the appointment of surveyors to perform bunker surveys during bunkering, on-hiring and off-hiring of vessels in order to ensure that correct bunker quantities are on board.
If Members have any questions on any part of the above Circular, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your usual contact at the Club who will be pleased to assist you.
The full circular can be downloaded at the above link.
* According to Article 52 of the Turkish Criminal Code, “Punitive fine is an amount payable to the State Treasury and is calculated by multiplying the full number of days subject to penalty with the amount fixed for per day.” The same article goes on to provide that, “The amount of punitive fine which is determined as at least twenty, maximum hundred Turkish Lira, per day is assessed in consideration of the private and economic conditions of the person.