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December 21, 2023

Amendments To The Turkish Ship Registry With New Regulation On Ship Registries


Regulation on Ship Registry (“Regulation“) has entered into force after being published in the Official Gazette on 12.05.2023 by repealing the “Directory on Ship Registry” put into force by the Council of Ministers Decree dated 31.12.1956 and numbered 4/8520 and the “Directory on Ship Flag Certificates” put into force by the Council of Ministers Decree dated 13.03.1957 and numbered 4/8807. It is worth mentioning within the scope of the Regulation it generally covers issues related to the ship registration, such as how to issue the ship certificate and flag certificate; the procedures and principles regarding the establishment and activities of the ship registries, the qualifications required from the head of the ship registry directorate and the personnel of the ship registry directorate, and responsibilities of these personnel. 


Under Turkish law, the ship registry and the ship flag certificate were being regulated by two separate Council of Ministers decisions in 1956. With the new Regulation that entered into force on 12.05.2023, all these regulations have been gathered under a single regulation. The Regulation introduces new rules and incorporates implementations and minor amendments in parallel with the Directory on Ship Registry and the Directory on Ship Flag Certificates..  In this respect, it should be noted that while the Regulation is a practical codification of the registries in general, it also consists of several alterations that may bring changes in practice. The differences between the Regulation and the Directories are briefly mentioned below: 

The Regulation ensures the establishment of registry directorates and stipulates that registry directorates shall be established in regional port directorates/port directorates deemed appropriate by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. In addition, the Regulation mainly regulates the jurisdiction of registry directorates, the supervision and oversight of registry directorates, the procedure for filing objections against transactions, and the responsibilities of registry officers.

Within this framework, the procedures and principles regarding the transfer of the ship registry and the erasure of entry in register have been rearranged, and the practical regulations have been added such as the requirement to prove with strong evidence that the ship will have been deregistered from the foreign registry in the event of the transfer of a ship from a foreign registry to the Turkish Ship Registry. In addition to this, while the submission of customs-related documents was not required for a ship to be registered for the first time in the Turkish ship registry under the former regulations, the documents required to be submitted for customs inspections are now mandatory during the registration process within the scope of changes introduced by the Regulation. The Regulation also re-regulates the freedom to choose and change the name of the ship.

In addition to this, the Maritime Portal and the Turkish ship registry have been harmonized with modern standards through this Regulation, and in this respect, it should be noted that the Regulation is a legislative decision regulating the transition to an electronic environment in the context of the registry. Ship ownership and rights related to ownership have been reorganized, and special regulations on ship mortgages have also been introduced by this Regulation. The Regulation introduces innovations such as annotations like usufruct and easement rights, which are not limited to mortgages but grant limited real rights and annotations that have a complementary effect..

Alterations on ships under construction have been revised in line with developing technology, and the requirements of the time. Various rules to be followed during ship construction are also discussed.


The following amendments have been introduced into Turkish law by the Ship Registry Regulation:

  • Procedures and principles regarding the issuance and cancellation of ship certificates of registration and flag certificate in parallel with the provisions of Articles 944 and 968 of the Turkish Commercial Code,
  • Issues such as the locations where the ship registry directorates will be established, the jurisdiction of these directorates, and the mooring ports connected to the registry directorates,
  • Principles for determining the competent court in case of an objection against the actions of ship registry directorates,
  • Procedures and principles regarding the responsibilities of registry officers, 
  • How to establish the right of ownership and the establishment and registration of mortgages, pledges, and usufruct rights limiting the right of ownership,
  • Obligation to submit the ship certificate of registration and in the case of fundamental changes in the information contained in the certificate of registry (changes in technical information about the ship, changes such as share acquisition or ownership transfer), the registry certificate should be reissued and the ship attestation certificate should be canceled,
  • Procedures and principles regarding the transfer of the ship registry and deletion of the ship from the registry, 
  • Regulations on issues such as freedom of choice of ship name and change of the ship name, 
  • The Maritime Portal, which is technologically new and facilitates the work of those concerned, and the regulations regarding the ships registered and to be registered to the ship registry through this portal,
  • Principles and procedures regarding the registry and special registries for ships under construction.


Regulation on Ship Registry dated 12.05.2023, which repealed the Directory on Ship Registry dated 1956 and the Directory on Ship Flag Certificates, regulates the procedures and principles regarding the establishment and operation of new registries, the registration of ships, and the responsibilities of officers in parallel with the previous directorates, while it aims to ensure that the Turkish ship registries reach modern and technologically compatible standards. We believe that the reflection and impact of the Regulation, which introduces regulations to eliminate some theoretical problems and uncertainties in the sector, on maritime practice will be positive in the future.


Duygu Doğan Şahiner

Duygu Doğan Şahiner


C. Tilbe Yılmaz

C. Tilbe Yılmaz