New Regulation on Prevention of Maritime Collision Has Entered into Force in Türkiye

The “Regulation on Maritime Collision Prevention” (the “Regulation”), prepared by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (the “Ministry”), was published in the Official Gazette dated 12 March 2024, and numbered 32487, in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 8258. With the entry into force of the Regulation, the “Bylaw on the Prevention of Collisions at Sea” (the “Bylaw”) enacted by the Council of Ministers Decision No. 7/14561 dated December 12, 1977, has been abolished.

With this change, the general rules, manoeuvring and sailing rules, regulations on lights and warning signs that vessels and watercraft must adhere to while sailing in the territorial waters of the Republic of Turkey, regardless of their flag, will now be regulated directly according to the provisions of the “Convention On The International Regulations For Preventing Collision at Sea” (“COLREG 72”) adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1972.

COLREG 72 was adopted by the IMO in 1972 and entered into force in 1977. The provisions of COLREG 72, consisting of five main sections, can be classified as follows:

A) General Rules

B) Manoeuvring and Sailing Rules

C) Lights and Signals

D) Sound and Light Signals

E) Exceptions

COLREG 72 and Turkey:

The Republic of Turkey has been a Contracting State under COLREG 72 since May 16, 1980. Although COLREG 72 was binding and applicable under Turkish Law under the rules of international law, the Bylaw, which also contained regulations on the same matters with COLREG 72, was concurrently in force with COLREG 72. Consequently, the existence of multiple legal provisions governing the same matters constituted practical problems. As a result of the work carried out in this regard, with the new provisions introduced by the Regulation, the Bylaw was abolished, and COLREG 72 became the sole law in Turkey regarding maritime collision prevention through direct reference in the Regulation.

Obligation to Have a Copy of COLREG 72 on Every Turkish Vessel:

With the entry into force of the afore-mentioned Regulation, the current Turkish text of COLREG 72 will be published on the website of the Directorate General of Maritime Affairs of the Ministry. In accordance with Article 5/2 of the Regulation, the current Turkish text of COLREG 72 will be considered as part of the essential documents of the vessels and one copy will be kept on every Turkish-flagged vessel. This regulation is important for shipowners who own Turkish-flagged vessels.

Finally, pursuant to Article 7 of the Regulation, the procedure and principles regarding the implementation of COLREG 72 and the Regulation will be determined by the Ministry. It shall be noted that it is possible that the Ministry may publish an implementation regulation regarding the enforcement and execution of the Regulation and COLREG 72, to enlighten the uncertainties arises out of the Regulation, such as the penalties for non-compliance with the provisions of the Regulation and COLREG 72.

Shipowners who wish to obtain detailed information on the subject explained in this newsletter can contact our office through the channels provided on the right side of this page and receive further support.