Turkish Authorities Request Confirmation Of P&I Cover For Vessels Carrying Crude Oil Through Turkish Straits

The Turkish Government has issued a circular dated 16.11.2022 which requires all ships transiting or entering Turkish waters must provide letters of confirmation from the owner’s P&I Club stating that cover will remain in place under any circumstances throughout the duration of the transit or the time the ship is in Turkish waters or the time it is in a port or terminal.

The Circular states that; 

Shipowners must take out Protection and Indemnity (P&I) insurance in order to cover their liabilities for damages that may occur to third parties, the environment or cargo during the operations of their ships, as well as related penalties. According to international treaties, P&I insurance is a requirement for vessels of a specific type and tonnage that will dock on Turkey's maritime sovereignty zones are obliged to have a valid P&I insurance in accordance with the national legislation. Article 13 of the Implementing Directive of the Regulation on Maritime Traffic Order in the Turkish Straits makes it very clear that all vessels’ tugboats, 300 GT and above vessels, and vessels carrying dangerous commodities must have a valid P&I policy.

In the recent statements made by the P&I insurers, it has been mentioned that damages will not be covered even if the vessel has a valid P&I policy in the event of an illegal commercial act, non-compliance with prohibitions, or other similar circumstances prior to a loss giving rise to liability. When the situation is evaluated in Turkey, that involves the international maritime trade with more than 100 thousand ships, it does not seem possible to monitor whether any vessel has engaged in an illegal or prohibited activity prior to entering the maritime sovereignty areas of Turkey.

It is crucial to make sure that P&I insurances are still in impact and comprehensive, particularly when ships carrying crude oil and similar products are passing through the Turkish Straits. Otherwise, in the event of an accident, it would be inevitable that a global crisis situation would occur if the P&I insurance provider cannot be found, or the insurance provider refuses to carry out the necessary procedures, or the necessary interventions are delayed as a result of the time-consuming processes related to these matters. The closure of our Straits, which is a vital waterway, in this process will cause the supply chain and logistics mobility to come to a standstill. For this reason, it is considered that the most reasonable solution would be to obtain an additional confirmation letter stating that the vessel will still be covered by a valid P&I insurance during the navigation.

As of 01/12/2022, vessels carrying crude oil that will pass through the Turkish Straits loaded with crude oil are required to obtain a letter from their P&I Club stating that the P&I insurance will be valid and comprehensive for the vessels voyage and cargo during the time which the vessel will pass through the Straits. The letter must include the details of the vessel, cargo and navigation.

The letter should be attached as an annex to the voyage planning-1 document (“SP-1”) by the ships representatives or by the insurance companies and should also be e-mailed to '[email protected]'. The coordination of the relevant procedures should be carried out by the vessel’s agents quickly and carefully in order to prevent possible time losses and not to delay the passage of the vessel.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further inquiries and assistance on the matter.

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Dila GUR