The purpose of this notification is to bring clarification into the current rules and regulations for yachts based in and/or chartering in and out of Turkey. Flag state and registration status of vessels have been used in this letter to structure the article for the reader. This notification serves to provide a general guideline of the current rules and regulations but regulations can and do change over time.
There may be additional other factors which limit the movement of vessels such as inadequate paperwork in other matters or tax debts of the owning company etc.. Such details are not addressed herein and should ultimately be considered the responsibility of yacht owners.
Turkish Flagged Commercially Registered Yachts
Turkish flagged vessels that are of commercial registry are legally permitted to embark passengers at Turkish ports after which they can either follow a ‘Turkey Only’ itinerary, or, exit to a non-Turkish port at any time during the charter and cruise outside of Turkey for any number of days before returning to Turkey. The very important detail is that all the guests have to embark and disembark in Turkey.
When in doubt of a yacht’s registration, brokers may request from Central Agents to see the vessel’s Certificate of Seaworthiness and Turkish Charter License.
N.B. Certificate of Sea Worthiness should state under the ‘Type of Ship’ section if the vessels is registered commercially or not. If the yacht is commercially registered this field should read either ‘Ticari/Commercial’ or ‘İlkel Yapılı Ahşap Gemi/Wooden Ship of Primitive Build’
18% VAT is applicable on all Turkish commercial yacht charter activities
Non-Turkish Flagged Commercially Registered Yachts
With a Turkish Charter License
Non-Turkish flagged commercially registered vessels were able to obtain a valid Turkish Charter License until 2018. However, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is no longer issuing charter licenses to foreign flagged yachts until further notice.
Without a Turkish Charter License
Non-Turkish flagged commercially registered vessels without a Turkish Charter License may embark guests in Turkey but upon doing so they have to exit Turkish waters and enter a different country (i.e. Greece). The vessel may then cruise in that different country before returning to Turkey (it is possible to return the same day). Once the vessel returns to Turkey, it can then either disembark the guests right away or cruise for any number of days before disembarking the guests in Turkey. During each entry to any Turkish port, the vessel must pay the Voyage Permission Fee of 30 Euros per meter LOA.
Turkish or Non-Turkish Flagged Privately Registered Yachts
Vessels that are privately registered can no longer conduct charters in Turkey. Previously non-Turkish flagged privately registered vessels were able to obtain a valid Turkish Charter License until 2018. In the process, Turkish maritime surveyors would conduct and complete a Technical Survey Report on such vessels in order to ensure safety onboard and to make sure such private registry vessels conformed to the same standards as commercially registered vessels.
Disclaimer: This information should not be considered as legal advice. Information presented is believed to be from reliable sources. However, as TYBA, we make no representations as to its accuracy or completeness and TYBA cannot be held responsible. Laws and Regulations are subject to change over time and recent changes after the date of this article may not be reflected herein.
*Photo credit: Pxhere, CC0 Public Domain, modified.