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Web Alert: Marine surveyors and survey companies operating in Turkey

10 January 2017

The Turkish Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication (Ministry) has recently enacted The Regulation of Surveying Services in Maritime Commerce (Regulation) that imposes an obligation on individuals and companies acting as marine surveyors to obtain an operating licence.

The new Regulation, as published in the Official Gazette on 16 December 2016 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 provide surveying services are required to obtain an operating licence from the General Directorate of Maritime Commerce (Directorate).

It is interesting to note that where surveying services will relate to dangerous cargoes or cargoes which render the loading process dangerous will require a dangerous substance compliance certificate from the Directorate General. Such licences will be valid for five years.

The Regulation will not apply to surveying activities that are carried out by the staff of the ports, owners, shipyards or cargo owners for their own benefit however and excludes surveying or certification activities performed by an organisation mandated by the flag state of the vessel for the purposes of issuing mandatory and required certificates and activities related to insurance matters.

It is a requirement of the Regulation that all businesses offering surveying services obtain a licence. It further sets out the criteria that have to be met, including employing at least two licenced maritime surveyors or being registered in the Chamber of Maritime Commerce. Such businesses will also have to carry professional liability insurance or have a minimum paid capital of 100,000 Turkish Lira.

Individual surveyors are also required to obtain a licence and to work for a licenced business. Such licenced surveyors will have to issue a survey report for any services they provide and which must be kept on record for at least five years.

Furthermore, licenced businesses are under an obligation to prepare activity reports which have to be submitted to the Directorate every 6 months. If the Directorate identifies breaches of the Regulation it may issue warnings, impose administrative fines, suspend activities or even terminate licences.

Licenced businesses will be prohibited from being a party an employment contract or be in partnership with the party receiving the service(s).

Importantly, ports, shipyards, terminals and other similar coastal organisations cannot prevent the performance of surveying services nor withhold any information necessary from licenced surveyors or survey companies which should make such surveying services more transparent.​

This right to perform surveying services and the disclosure of such information will be of assistance should a Member fail a particular inspection for example as they will have the right to ask for such a survey report which the surveying company will be obliged to disclose.

This could also be of particular interest and use for the shipment of dangerous cargoes as such a report could prove useful in cargo claims.