International Maritime Law is a legal branch that determines the rules of law related to international maritime transportation. It relies on sources such as international agreements, local laws, and customs to determine the rights and obligations of ship owners, operators, cargo owners, and other relevant parties. In Turkish Law, International Maritime Law is regulated by the Law on Maritime Commerce, as well as the Turkish Commercial Code. Additionally, Turkey is a party to many international maritime trade agreements, and therefore these agreements are effectively implemented under Turkish law.
The place of International Maritime Law in Turkish Law is quite important because Turkey attaches strategic importance to maritime transportation and port activities. Turkey is located in a geography where many international trade routes intersect, making it an important transfer center for maritime trade. Therefore, Turkey needs to effectively implement international law and agreements related to maritime trade and regulate these matters in its own legal system.
International Maritime Law covers many topics related to maritime trade. These include: registration and registry of ships, legal regulation of loading and unloading, cargo and carriage contracts, ship operation and ownership, ports and docks, maritime accidents and pollution, and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
If we look at contracts in maritime law, the first thing that comes to mind is the Freight Contract. Freight is the term given to all cargo transported by sea. The Freight Contract is an agreement signed between a shipowner or a carrier and a cargo owner for the transportation of goods. This contract determines the freight charge and the transportation conditions necessary for the carriage of the cargo. The Freight Contract also determines the responsibilities between the carrier and the cargo owner. The contract includes the carrier’s responsibilities for the safety of the ship and crew, proper loading and transportation of the cargo, while the cargo owner is obliged to provide the necessary documents for the timely delivery of the cargo and to pay the freight charge. The Freight Contract is essential in cargo transportation operations and is a document that determines the rights and obligations between the parties. Therefore, the details of the contract should be carefully examined and the terms agreed by both parties should be put in writing.
If we look at contracts in maritime law generally, the first one that comes up is the Bill of Lading. Bill of Lading is a document issued by a carrier to a shipper, acknowledging that specified goods have been received on board as cargo for transport to a named place for delivery to the consignee, who is usually identified. The Bill of Lading serves three purposes: it is a receipt for the goods, a document of title to the goods, and evidence of the terms and conditions of the contract of carriage. The carrier is responsible for the goods until they are delivered to the consignee and the Bill of Lading is an important document for the consignee to prove that they are entitled to take possession of the goods. The Bill of Lading is an important legal document in international trade and can be used as collateral for financing purposes.
Another type of contract is the Charter Party Agreement. A Charter Party Agreement is a contract between a shipowner and a charterer for the hire of a vessel for one or more voyages. In a Charter Party Agreement, the shipowner leases a ship to a charterer, who is responsible for finding cargo and arranging for its transportation. The charterer is responsible for paying the shipowner a specified amount, known as hire, for the use of the vessel. The Charter Party Agreement specifies the details of the charter, including the agreed upon route, the duration of the charter, and any other terms and conditions. This type of contract is commonly used in the shipping industry for the transportation of bulk cargo, such as oil, grain, or minerals.
If we look at the Voyage Charter Party agreement, it is a type of contract made for maritime transportation. According to this agreement, the shipowner or operator rents out the ship for a certain period, and the lessee uses the ship for a certain period of time. The lessee is responsible for covering all expenses related to the ship and is responsible for operating and maintaining the vessel. Under the Voyage Charter Party agreement, the ship is allocated for one or more trips for the transportation of the shipper’s cargo. The freight is calculated based on the number and duration of these trips. The freight is determined based on the type and quantity of the cargo carried by the ship and the distance traveled. The shipper has no authority over the planning and management of the ship’s trips. This responsibility lies entirely with the shipowner or operator. The shipowner or operator is responsible for managing all the details such as the ship’s safety, route, and travel time between ports. The Voyage Charter Party agreement is made between the shipowner or operator and the lessee and regulates the legal rights and responsibilities between the parties. The agreement provides legal protection for both parties and is a common practice in maritime commerce. The Voyage Charter Party agreement is preferred by parties that have a need to lease a ship for a specific journey or period.
The Time Charter Party agreement has recently emerged as a type of contract for maritime transportation. Under this agreement, the ship owner or operator leases the vessel for a specific period of time, and the lessee uses the vessel for a certain period of time. However, the calculation of freight charges in this contract is based on time. That is, a predetermined price is set for the vessel to be leased and used for a specific period of time. Under the Time Charter Party agreement, the carrier assigns the carriage of the cargoes of the person who hires the carrier’s vessel for a specific period of time. This period may correspond to a date range or a specific period specified in the contract. The carrier is responsible for keeping the vessel seaworthy and fit for the voyage during this period. However, the suitability conditions of the cargo are not the responsibility of the carrier. That is, the carrier is only responsible for keeping the vessel in suitable conditions. The suitability of the cargo is the responsibility of the cargo owner.
The Time Charter Party agreement is preferred in situations where the carrier wants to lease a vessel for a specific period of time. This agreement provides the carrier with the opportunity to control the vessel for a certain period of time and obtain a special right to use the vessel. At the same time, the carrier also earns a fixed income for a certain period of time and can use the vessel for other purposes during the period it is not using it. The Time Charter Party agreement is made between the ship owner or operator and the lessee and regulates the legal rights and responsibilities between the parties. The agreement provides legal protection for both parties and is a common practice in maritime trade.