357 - 04/04 - Illegal Actions of Ships within Georgian Territorial Waters - Georgia
We have been advised of a several cases where the Georgian Authorities have imposed fines on ships found to be in breach of Georgian Maritime regulations. These fines are for such offences as illegal fishing, smuggling and entering territorial waters in front of Abkhazia without permission. In one such case a ship, during an emergency drill, lowered its lifeboat and was fined US$95,000 by the Georgian Authority for infringing the regulations.
According to the Turkish Chamber of Shipping Circular 119/2004 the Georgian authorities have advised that 45 ships were arrested for violation of the regulations between 1999 and 2004. Although this circular is concerned with Turkish shipowners it applies to all ships calling with Georgian territorial waters.
Ships found to be in breach of Georgian Maritime Regulations are fined an administrative fine of 200.000 Laris (approx US$95,000). This is increased in case of a concurrent breach. In practice, the application of this fine is subject to a certain payment period after which, in the case of non-payment, the arrested ship is put up for auction.
The circular states:
"Georgian authorities allude the imposition, in a decided manner, of heavier sanctions against foreign vessels in violation of the Georgian maritime legislations, recollect the fines applied to the vessels in breach of the Georgian territorial waters and emphasize the application of a 5-year imprisonment in case of recurrence".
We advise Members when planning to sail within the Georgian territorial waters to inform their ships' masters to exercise caution regarding local legislation.
Source of information:
Turkish Chamber of Shipping Circular
Vitsan Mumessillik ve Ticaret AS