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Importing Spares and Equipment into Turkey

By doina — last modified Mar 03, 2008 09:45 PM

Published: 2008-03-03 21:45:39
Countries: Turkey

The following may be of some help to those sailing or berthed in Turkish waters.

Importation of Yacht Spares and Equipment into Turkey:

I recently purchased a rather bare (equipment wise) sailing boat on the US flag (Delaware) berthed in Turkey and in their waters on a Transit Log. I decided I needed to install a chart plotter, DSC VHF, NAVTEX, HF/SSB and EPIRB. Without doubt, the best prices available were in the USA, so I decided, with some trepidation, to order in from the States and ship them to Turkey. Officially, this is permitted and no duties or taxes are payable on entry. However, depending on who you talk to, this exercise can be a nightmare and many warned me not to even try. The cost saving was so great I decided to risk it.

I ordered online and had the consignment shipped via UPS Expedited as YACHT SPARES – YACHT IN TRANSIT using my marina and berth address; this address labelling is important. I contacted UPS imports department in Istanbul who monitored the shipment and provided a customs clearance service in Istanbul on my behalf for the sum of 240 Turkish Lira - payable on delivery. The shipment was processed in Istanbul then proceeded to Bodrum under Customs Authority Bond. I was contacted by the local UPS office when the consignment arrived and a UPS rep escorted me to the area central Customs Office (at the airport in Bodrum’s case) where the documents were presented to two Customs officers who checked and stamped the documents, the latter also physically checked the goods in the UPS van. All was in order and were cleared as far as the marina customs office. We then proceeded to the final customs office at the marina where we presented the Customs documents and Turkish Transit Log. Photocopies of all the shipping documents and transit log were required, which meant a run into the local photocopy shop. On our return to Customs, the Transit Log was annotated with a statement saying these parts must be installed on the boat, and that they would be inspected by the local customs officer some time in the near future, at that point the process was complete and I had the goods in my hand. Protocol was observed, and the process took a total of 3 hours and no other Customs fees were paid.

It was much easier than I thought it would be and all my worries about what could happen were for naught. Of course, this was my experience and I have no doubt it could have been much more difficult; but having done it once I would not hesitate to import parts from the States again. In total it took 10 days from order to having them in my hand.

Key Points from my experience:

(1) Ensure the shipping Address is to your Boats Name and as YACHT SPARES-YACHT IN TRANSIT, your name, berth and marina: e.g.

S/Y LUCKY STAR (YACHT SPARES –YACHT IN TRANSIT)
Mr. J. A STAR
Berth A-22
Yachts Marina Address

(2) Make personal contact with your shipper and ensure they can offer a customs service at the main arrival point in Istanbul or your first point of entry before ordering, this includes posting a guarantee/bond to customs. This, I believe, was key to the subsequent ease with which the local clearance proceedings went.

(3) Have your transit log, passport and all your ship’s papers available, including a letter from your marina stating your boat is berthed there. Although I wasn’t asked for any of them, save the Transit Log, it’s best to have them with you.

(4) Be prepared to escort your shipping company’s agent through the local customs procedures, having the owner present made all the difference I believe. I don’t know if the above would have been so easy had I not been there.

(5) Although I used UPS, who were excellent throughout; I would guess the other major cargo carriers would offer the same service.

If you’re planning to do the same, I hope the above will of help.

Bob Biggart

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