The Regulation on Investigation of Marine Accidents and Incidents (“the Regulation”) has been published in the Official Gazette No. 30961 dated November 27, 2019 and has entered into force on the same date.
The purpose of the Regulation has been stated in Article 1 as “to examine and investigate marine accidents and incidents, and to determine the procedures and principles as well as the duties, authorities and responsibilities regarding the notifications of the accidents and incidents.”
While determining the application scope of the Regulation, the provisions of Article 2 titled “Scope” should be taken into consideration. The Regulation covers the accidents and incidents in which Turkish and foreign flagged vessels are involved or which has occurred on these vessels within the Turkish maritime jurisdiction zone and inland waters in accordance with the item b of the 1st paragraph of Article 2. The rule is; the occurrence of the accidents within the Turkish maritime jurisdiction zone, or the incidents within the geographical scope. However, it has been accepted in item b of the 1st paragraph of Article 2 that a marine accident or incident in which a vessel flying the Turkish flag is involved regardless of in which maritime zone across the world it has occurred, shall be subject to the provisions of the Regulation. Furthermore, the Regulation covers the examination and investigation of those marine accidents or incidents occurred in maritime zones where Turkey carries the title of significantly related country. The term “Significantly related country” is defined in the item “y” of the 1st paragraph of Article 4.
The Regulation does not cover the accidents that occur especially during the repair, maintenance and boarding of vessels in shipyards, vessel construction locations, slipping areas, ship demolition facilities. It is also stipulated in item b of the 2nd paragraph of Article 2 that the Regulation shall not apply to the military vessels and government vessels which are allocated for public service and not used for commercial purposes.
Article 7 of the Regulation has left the obligation to notify the marine accident with the master of the vessel or if the master is not able to make such notification, the substitute officer, the owner, the operator or the agency of the vessel. The relevant harbour master’s office is also liable to notify the accident which has occurred in its own responsibility zone. In the abovementioned article stipulates that the accident notification should be made to the Principal Search and Rescue Coordination Team (“AAKKM”) by the most suitable means, upon which AAKKM should make the related notification to the Transportation Safety Investigation Centre Directorate (“the Directorate”) via electronic mail.
As per the 1st paragraph of Article 8 of the Regulation the purpose of the marine accidents investigation is stipulated as “to provide advice on the improvement of the legislation and practices regarding the sea voyage, life, property and environmental safety, and to the prevent similar accidents and incidents in the future by means of identifying the real reasons causing the marine accidents.”
It is stipulated in Article 5 of the Regulation that the investigation and examination of marine accidents and incidents are within the duty and authority of the Transportation Safety Investigation Centre Directorate.
The experts to be appointed for the investigation and examination of the marine accidents and incidents are stated in the 1st paragraph of Article 6. In the 2nd paragraph of the same article it is also stated that these experts may board the vessel which is involved in the accident and may conduct their investigation on the vessel, and may negotiate with the master, the crew and other related persons and may take copies of the information and documents regarding the accident and incident.
As per Article 9 of the Regulation, for very serious accidents that occur on Turkish flagged vessels sailing in the Turkish and international waters, an accident investigation will be conducted upon the approval of the Director of Transportation Safety Investigation Centre (“the Director”).
It is stipulated in Article 13 titled “Draft report for marine accident investigation” that the assigned experts shall issue a summary, information regarding the accident, occurrence of the accident, evaluation, results, advices and annexes. This marine accident investigation report shall be resolved by the Board of Assessors as per Article 22 of the Regulation on Presidency of Transportation Safety Investigation Centre of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The resolved marine casualty investigation report is shared with the public and the relevant persons by its issuance on the official website of the Directorate.
It is stipulated in Article 17 of the Regulation that the Director of the Transportation Safety Investigation Centre Directorate may start an investigation on the issues he/she deems necessary. This investigation process is conducted to gather information regarding the factors causing marine accidents; the issues which may reduce negative impacts of marine accidents on people, environment and the vessels and the equipment and structures on these vessels; and the omissions in the process of notification of the marine accidents.
The Regulation on Investigation and Examination of Marine Accidents and Incidents published in the Official Gazette No. 29056 dated July 10, 2014 has been abolished by this Regulation.