Annotations to the Customs General Declaration

Annotations to the Customs General Declaration (Customs Operations) Nr 9 as published in the Turkish Republic Official Announcements of 6 November 2001, Tuesday Numbered 24575 (Source: Resmi Gazete)

# important notice

Reasons and Volume
Item 1: This Bulletin has been issued to establish the forms and the principles applying to the passage between Turkish ports and for the winter lay up of yachts wishing to enter, leave or to lay up for winter within the Turkish Customs Zone.

Item 2:
 This Bulletin is based on items 10 and 103 of the Customs Act Nr. 4458, on item 25 of the Cabinet Decision of 07 January 2000 number 2000/69, on item 591 of the Customs Regulations and on the Act for Encouraging Tourism Nr. 2634 and on the Regulations for Yacht Tourism.

Definitons Note #1
Item 3: Following expressions in this Bulletin are defined as listed:
a) Yacht: Marine vehicle, utilized for cruising and sports purposes, not intended to carry more than thirty six yachspeople, not designed as a cargo or passenger vessel, the registration certificate issued as private yacht or as commercial yacht.
b) Turkish Ports Yacht Registration Document: Document to include the declarations and official records of foreign flagged yachts which occur at the port of entry and at winter lay up and those of Turkish flagged yachts.
c) Private Yacht Registration Document: Document entitling private Turkish flagged yachts to navigate in Turkish waters, Turkish flagged yachts as defined by Item 40 of the Yachting Regulations annexed to the Cabinet Decision Nr. 83/6708 of 08.06.1983.
In this Bulletin the expressions Yacht Registration Document or The Document refer to Turkish Ports Yacht Registration Document.

Conditions when the Yacht Registration Document cannot be applied Note #2
Item 4: Even when considered within the scope of the yacht definition, for sea vessels involved in cargo and passenger transportation the Yacht Registration Document cannot be applied. For these vessels the orders of the Customs Regulations concerning the supervision of commercial vessels apply.

The Validity of the Turkish Ports Yacht Registration Document Note #3
Item 5: The Validity of the Turkish Ports Yacht Registration Document is one year. However, when a yacht is left for the winter lay up this Document is valid for the duration of the lay up.In the case that the owner of the yacht or the ship-owner changes or when the yacht leaves the Turkish Customs Zone or if the Turkish Ports Yacht Registration Document is lost the document expires. Change of the yachtmaster does not call for the expiration of this document. However, the change of the Yachtmaster has to be recorded in the Yacht Registration Document.

Operations related to foreign flagged yachts Note #4
Item 6: Operations for Foreign flagged yachts entering the Turkish Customs Zone or leaving the same are documented on the Turkish Ports Yacht Registration Document as follows.a) The Document has to be comleted and signed at the Turkish port of arrival by the yachts master or by the ship-owner. Note #5
b) The aforementioned declaration has to be endorsed by the official institutions as itemized on the first page of the Document an in the sequence as postulated in the Yacht Registration Document. The name of the endorsing official has to be mentioned explicitly.
c) The subject yachts entry and departure of the Turkish Customs Zone is supervised by the officers of the customs patrol, who record all actions on the Yacht Registration Document.
d) As long as there is no formally correct report that a particular yacht is carrying illicit goods, no examination of goods and searching on the yacht may be carried out. Should on a particular yacht, either through declaration or during searching or examinations it be established that goods are present which are illegal to enter Turkey these goods have to be handed over to the control of Customs and will not be handed back until the yacht leaves the Turkish Customs Zone. NOTE #6
e) In case of a formally correct report that yacht inventory is being entered into the Turkish Customs Zone illegally the inventory of the subject yacht will be evaluated in accordance to the list of inventory annexed to the particular Yacht Registration Document.
f) Foreign flagged yachts may employ Turkish seamen on basis of a labour agreement or on basis of a power of attorney.Yachtmasters are not entitled to utilize yachts for the purpose of cruising, sporting and for pleasure navigation without the yacht owner being on board. In cases where the master is advised by the owner in writing or by fax to pick up or to disembark the yacht owner or his/her family at a different port, a Permit of Passage has to be obtained from the Harbour Master and the yacht can be utilized by the master exclusively for passage back and forth. In cases of violations the orders of the Coastal Navigation Act Nr. 815 will be applied.Furthermore, should one of the shareholders of s foreign flagged yacht be Turkish no foreign domicile is required for the yacht owner and his family. NOTE #7
g) Should at any of the interim ports mentioned on the Yacht Registration Document any party of the yacht leave or embark the vessel, or should any change in personnel or any change of the declared route occur, these changes will have to be amended to te Document and these changes have to be endorsed by the Harbour Master.
h) For yachts wishing to leave the Turkish Customs Zone firstly all required entries are carried out on the Yacht Registration Document. Following this, and in accordance to the Certificate of Passageworthiness the procedures for departure are completed by the customs patrol personnel.

Operations concerning Turkish flagged Private Yachts
Item 7: During passage within the Turkish Customs Zone the Private Yacht Registration Document is utilized. In cases where these yachts leave to a port outside the Turkish Customs Zone or where these yachts reenter the Turkish Customs Zone a Yacht Registration Document is issued and orders relating to the followup of that document are applied.

Leaving of Foreign Flagged Yachts for Winter Layup or for any other reason within the Turkish Customs Zone NOTE #8
Item8: For the purpose of winter lay up, maintenance and repairs foreign flagged yachts can only be laid up at yacht harbours or boatyards licenced to that effect by the Ministery of Tourism. These yachts cannot be left at sites belonging to unlicenced persons, organizations or foundations and to their responsible representatives.When a foreign flagged yacht wishes to lay up at a yacht harbour or at a boatyard the authorized operator of the yacht harbour will inspect the inventory list appended to the Yacht Registration Document and will take these yachts into the responsibility of the yacht harbour management. A report is issued to the Customs and Customs Patrol administration stating that the subject yacht and its inventory has been passed over to the responsibility of the management.

The storage of Spare Parts and other Gear of foreign flagged yachts and procedures to be applied to cars of foreign yachtspeople NOTE #9
Item 9: The importation of spare parts for the maintenance and repair of foreign flagged yachts are carried out in accordance to the Customs Act Nr. 4458 and the orders concerning temporary import procedures of the Customs Regulations. The maintenance and repairs are subject to the supervision and control of the customs administration.
Spare parts and other gear of foreign flagged yachts can be left in Turkey in accordance to the periods the subject yacht can be left in Turkey as determined by Item 29 of the Tourism Encouragement Act Number 2634.Concerning obsolete spare parts as a result of maintenance and repairs:
a) In accordance to the wish of the yachtowner and in accordance to Item 164 of the Customs Act Nr. 4458 can be handed over to the customs administration.
b) They can be moved out of the Turkish Customs Zone accompanying the yachtowner.
Up to the final handing over to the liquidator, obsolete spare parts as handed over to customs can be stored with the certified yacht harbour or with the boatyard management, provided there are no customs warehouses available.
Where spare parts and other gear is wished to be moved out of the Turkish Customs Zone these items have to be entered into the list of inventory or the book of inventory.In case that persons entering Turkey overland wish to leave the country by a yacht the land vehicles of these persons can be left at premises under the control of customs. Those not leaving the Turkish Customs Zone are not subject to this order.

Penal Orders
Item 10: Penalties in accordance to Item 241, first paragraph of the Customs Act Nr. 4458 apply to the person in charge of a yacht cruising with an expired Turkish Harbours Yacht Registration Document.
Cruising in prohibited zones, unlicensed diving, transferring from/to other yachts or vessels goods with incomplete customs procedures will be handled according to the Act to Prevent and Prosecute Smuggling, Nr. 1918.

Further Orders
Item 11: As the number of yachtspeople and of the crew is declared by power of the Yacht Registration Certificate no further crewlist or yachspeople list will be required at the entry of the yacht.
The completed Turkish Ports Yacht Registration Document has to be kept ready for inspection at all times on board of the yacht. Should this document be lost, the loss has to be reported to the nearest port or customs patrol administration and will be renewed. The new document completed in accordance to the procedures has to be presented for endorsement to the harbour master. In case that the Yacht Registration Document is renewed, the old document, if existing, is presented to the harbour master and the customs patrol administration and the required amendments will be noted on it.
For the renewal of the Turkish Ports Yacht Registration Document the approval of the harbour master and the customs patrol administration is sufficient.
For yachts entering the Turkish Customs Zone by any other means than on own keel the procedures for the Yacht Registration Docuent have to be started at the location where the yacht will be launched for the first time.No further document than the Yacht registration Document are required for the temporary import and for the following of yachts entering the Turkish Customs Zone on her own keel.Compressors on board will not be sealed.The Yacht Registration Document cannot be duplicated and utilized by fotocopying or other means of duplication.

Item 12: This Bulletin gains validity at the date of publishing.

Item 13: This Bulletin is administered jointly by the Ministery of Tourism, and by the State Ministries harbouring the Undersecretary of Customs and the Undersecretary of Maritime Affairs.

Important Notice:
 These annotations are inofficial, very preliminary, and should be judged with caution and should be carefully officially reconfirmed prior to use. 

Note #1 
Article 3) On severaral occasions this Bulletin emphasizes the declaration of the Yachtsman. This seems to be in allignement with the general efforts to reduce the Turkish state machinery and is in contrast to the prevailing chain of official “inspections” on paper.

Note #2 Article 4) Here it is emhasized that a yacht “even if within the definion of a yacht” may not transport “passengers”. The previous Article 3a) however foresees up to 36 “yachspeople” on a yacht. This Article 4) may be subject to interpretations. 

Note #3 Article 5) provides that the Transitlog, called here “Türk LimanlariYat Kayit Belgesi” carries a validity of one year as of issueing. This period can be extended when “wintering” in Turkey. Article 5) second paragraph states that change of the master of a yacht is no reason for the expiration of the Transitlog. The Transitlog seems not to expire any more when wintering. 

Note #4 Article 6) is of major concern for foreing flagged yachts.

Note #5 Article 6a) states that the Transitlog is based on the declaration of the master of the yacht as carried out at the first Turkish port once the yacht has entered the “Turkish Customs Territory”.

Note #6 Article 6d) states that no yacht may be searched unless a “formally correct information” has been gained that the yacht carries illicit goods. “once it has been established that the mentioned yacht is carrying illicit goods these goods will be passed over to the control of customs and may only be returned to the yacht once leaving the Turkish Customs Territory.”

Note #7 Article 6f) states that a foreign flagged yacht may employ Turkish seamen. An employment contract or a power of attorney is required for the employment. Under 6f) it is established that the (Turkish) crew may not use the yacht for their own pleasure navigation….With the power of attorney this employment seems to bypass the Turkish social security and tax requirements, making it easy to employ a Turkish national upon short notice and for short periods.

Again Article 6f) states that a “fax instruction” by the owner to the master is considered a valid document. While in itself this may not be of general interest, it clearly creates precedence for a fax as an officially credited document by Turkish Customs.

Again, under Article 6f) it is stated that once a yacht has “Turkish (part) owner(s)” a foreign domicile for the owners is not any more required. While clearly this article is aimed to relieve Turkish owners of foreign flagged yachts it also may create a precedence to relieve foreigners living in Turkey and sailing a yacht here.

Note #8 Article 8) deals with the wintering of yachts. It foresees that yachts may not only be left for wintering but also for “maintenance and repairs”. It is required that the bonding (see below) institution is accredited by the Ministery of Tourism – be it a marina or a boatyard. This declaration seems to disregard the longlasting efforts of the Ministery of Tourism and of of the Subsecretary of Marine Affairs to redirect boatyards to the Subsecretary. This may cause conflicts.

Further, Article 8) states that the marina/ boatyard declares the bonding of the yacht and the inventory. Customs and Customs Patrol are only “informed” by the bonding institution. This is a fundamental change.

Note #9 Article 9): “Repairs and maintenance are subject to the observation and inspection of customs.”….

Article 9) states that old spare parts may be reexported by the yacht’s master (but not by a third party …it seems) or may be left to customs. If customs experiences technical difficulties in taking charge of the scraps then the “bonding institution” is now priviledged to that pleasure….This may relieve some problems experienced so far.

Article 9) seems to bring relief for yachspeople with cars.”If travelling out of the country with the yacht the car may be left at those places under the inspection of customs.” These could be the bonding institutions very well, we hope. No mention about the period a car may stay in Turkey. Clearly this Article was aimed to reduce some relief, but fell short of the second major problem.