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Tullin määräyskokoelma
Regulation issued by Finnish Customs on the notification procedure for vessels arriving at and departing from Finnish ports

2.5.2016 8.20 | Published in English on 9.5.2017 at 15.27
Press release

3/2016

No. 3/2016 Date of issue
2.5.2016

Statutory basis

Vessel Traffic Service Act (623/2005), section 20 a (225/2012), section 22 a (225/2012), section 22 b (225/2012), section 22 c (791/2013) and section 22 g (791/2013)
Act on Fairway Dues (1122/2005), section 13, subsection 2
Customs Act (304/2016), section 52
Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 establishing the Union Customs Code, Articles 134 135, 140 and 267
Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446 articles 120, 121 and 129 d, which has been added to article 55 paragraph 13 of the regulation mentioned below in the delegated regulation
Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/341 as regards transitional rules for certain provisions of the Union Customs Code and for amending article 53 of the delegated regulation (delegating regulation concerning transitional rules)


Period of validity

As of 4 May 2016 until further notice. This regulation will repeal Customs’ Decision No. 49/2015 of 29 May 2015.

Target groups

Shipping operators and their representatives

Customs Electronic Service Centre, Customs Analysis and Intelligence, Customs Offices

1. Scope of application

This regulation concerns arrival and departure notifications submitted for vessels arriving at or departing from a port in Finland, the content of these notifications and their entry into the electronic shipping data management system (Portnet) mentioned in section 20 a (225/2012) of the Vessel Traffic Service Act (632/2005), as well as the registration of vessels, their representatives and shipowners in the system.

This regulation will be applied to the following vessels:

  • seagoing vessels used for commercial purposes, excluding coastal fishing vessels which return daily or within 36 hours to their port of registry or to another port in the territory of the Member States without calling at a port located in a third country;
  • seagoing pleasure craft, if they are 45 metres or longer or if they can carry more than 12 passengers;
  • traditional ships, if they can carry more than 12 passengers.

As regards vessel arrival notifications, note should also be taken of the Finnish Transport Agency’s Regulation No. 2240/1003/2012 on the notifications of seagoing vessels as well as the provisions laid down in section 11 a (1138/2010) of the Ship Safety Control Act (370/1995) regarding pre-notification in accordance with directive 2009/16/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on port State control (the PSC directive) and also the regulations in the Border Guard Act of 15 July 2005/578 regarding crossing of the border at any other point than the official border crossing points.

This regulation applies both to the necessary limited particulars in notifications regarding port calls and to the arrival of a vessel to an anchorage in Finland or departure therefrom (section 7) as well as declaration of the cargo of international seagoing vessels, when they are used for commercial purposes (section 6).

The notifications are lodged with the Sea Traffic Centre (MEKE) at Customs’ Electronic Service Centre. MEKE also does the necessary registrations in Portnet.

The entry summary declarations for the goods carried by the ship and other notifications concerning the ship’s cargo not mentioned in this regulation and required by the customs authority, are to be submitted to the AREX system of Finnish Customs.

2. Registration of vessels in Portnet, changes to registration data and entry of vessel documents into the system

2.1 Registration of a vessel

The carrier, the agent or the master of a vessel that for the first time arrives at or departs from a port or anchorage in Finland shall, before an arrival notification referred to in paragraph 3.1 below is submitted, enter the following data into the Portnet database for registration of the vessel:

  • name of ship
  • call sign of ship
  • IMO number of ship
  • nationality of ship
  • net tonnage of ship
  • gross tonnage of ship

2.2 Changes to vessel registration data

If the name, nationality, net or gross tonnage of the vessel has changed since the registration of the vessel, MEKE must be notified of the changed particulars prior to confirmation of the arrival notification referred to in paragraph 3.1 or, if the change has taken place after the ships arrival, before confirmation of the departure notification referred to in paragraph 4.1.

2.3 Entry of vessel documents into the system

The following documents pertaining to the vessel must be entered and stored in Portnet within two hours of the ships first arrival to a port in Finland:

  • measurement certificate
  • certificate of nationality
  • certificate of classification
  • load line certificate
  • security certificate

The above-listed certificates can also be entered into the Portnet database during the registration referred to in paragraph 2.1.

If a vessel document has changed after it was entered into Portnet, the changed document must also be entered into Portnet.

Documentation on the vessel, except for the measurement certificate and the security certificate, need not be entered into Portnet if the vessel has been exempted from paying fairway dues under the Act on Fairway Dues.

3. Notification procedure on arrival

When a ship arrives at a port in Finland, an arrival notification (pre-notification) which includes the data required under the Act on Fairway Dues must be submitted to Portnet, as well as a notification of the ship’s arrival time. The ship’s agent must confirm the details submitted. The confirmation entered into the system by the agent also certifies the documents submitted for the ship.

3.1 Arrival notification

3.1.1 Time limits for submitting the arrival notification

An arrival notification on a vessel arriving at a port in Finland shall be submitted to Portnet:

a) at least 24 hours prior to arrival; or

b) at the latest when the vessel departs from the last port of call, if the voyage takes less than 24 hours; or

c) if the port is not known or if it has changed during the voyage, immediately when information on the port is available.

If the estimated time of arrival changes by more than two hours from the time provided in the arrival notification, the new estimated time has to be submitted immediately to Portnet.

3.1.2 Content of the arrival notification

The arrival notification contains the following information, notifications and lists:

  • general information
  • notification of fairway dues
  • notification of the security measures on board the vessel
  • notification of ship-generated waste and cargo residues
  • notification of dangerous or polluting goods carried by the ship
  • notification of the crew and passengers on board the vessel
  • lists of the ship’s stores and crew’s effects

3.1.2.1 General information

The arrival notification must contain the following general information:

  • Identifying details of the vessel: name, call sign, IMO number (if the vessel has an IMO number)
  • last port of call
  • previous port of departure
  • next port of destination
  • information on whether the ship will arrive in international or domestic traffic
  • information on whether the ship carries dangerous or polluting goods (dangerous cargo) on arrival
  • information on whether the ship carries cargo and whether it will be unloaded
  • information on whether the ship will depart in international or domestic traffic
  • position of the ship in the port
  • estimated time of arrival of the ship at the port
  • pre-notification of the cargo to be unloaded
  • estimated time of departure of the ship from the port or if the ship departs in international traffic
  • number of crew, including ship’s master
  • number of passengers
  • total number of persons on board
  • name of the party liable to pay the fairway dues, if not the same as the party submitting the notification
  • attached FAL forms (also the number of documents)
  • information on changed vessel registration data in Portnet
  • shipowner as referred to in the Act on Fairway Dues (to be provided in the field ‘Shipping company’ under ‘Basic data on port call’ and retrieved from the shipping company register in Portnet; in the Act on Fairway Dues, shipowner refers to the owner or the charterer of the ship or any other organisation or person who has assumed the responsibility for operation of the ship)

3.1.2.2 Notification of fairway dues

The arrival notification must contain a notification of fairway dues in the case of commercial ships. However, the requirement to provide the notification on fairway dues does not apply to ships that

  • operate on the Saimaa Canal or Saimaa waters;
  • on their way between foreign ports sail through Finnish territorial waters without calling at a Finnish port;
  • arrive in and depart from Finland via the Saimaa Canal without calling at a Finnish coastal port;
  • have a net tonnage of less than 300 and are cruise ships defined in section 2, paragraph 3 of the Act on Fairway Dues, or cargo ships defined in section 2, paragraph 4;
  • have a net tonnage of less than 600 and are passenger ships defined in section 2, paragraph 1 of the Act on Fairway Dues
  • are used for icebreaking on the inner and outer territorial waters of Finland and provide icebreaking services to the Finnish Transport Agency based on contracts or State agreements.

A notification of fairway dues has to be submitted upon every arrival. If any of the factors affecting the amount of the fairway dues change during the calendar year in such way that the fairway dues may increase, the changes have to be submitted in the notification of fairway dues.

The shipowner and the jointly liable representative referred to in the Act on Fairway Dues have to be registered in Portnet before the notification is submitted, as specified under paragraph 7 in this regulation.

3.1.2.3 Notification of the security measures on board the vessel

If the ship operates commercially and arrives from abroad, the arrival notification should include a notification on the security measures on board the ship. The content of the security notification is defined in the appendix to the Annex of the Reporting Formalities Directive, that is, Directive 2010/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports of the Member States and repealing Directive 2002/6/EC. The types of ships that have to provide the security notification are provided for in Regulation (EC) No 725/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on enhancing ship and port facility security. The notification requirement does not apply to cargo ships of less than 500 gross tonnage, ships of war and troopships, ships not propelled by mechanical means, nor to wooden ships of primitive build. Also, the security notification need not be provided if the ship has been exempted from providing the notification through a decision by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi).

3.1.2.4 Notification of ship-generated waste and cargo residues

The arrival notification must contain a notification of ship-generated waste and cargo waste. The content of the notification is defined in Annex II of Directive 2000/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues (the PRF Directive). The types of ships that have to provide a notification of ship-generated waste and cargo residues are laid down in Chapter 10 of the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport (1672/2009). The notification is obligatory for both internationally and domestically operating ships. It is not required of fishing vessels or recreational craft that are only entitled to carry 12 passengers or less. Also, the notification of ship-generated waste and cargo residues need not be provided if the ship, through a decision by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi), has been exempted from the mandatory delivery of waste and the obligation to provide the notification.

3.1.2.5 Notification of dangerous or polluting goods carried by the ship

If a ship operates commercially and arrives from a port outside the European Economic Area, the arrival notification must contain a notification regarding the dangerous or polluting goods carried by the ship. The content of the notification is defined in the Government Decree (346/2014) on the obligation to declare sea transports of dangerous or polluting goods.

3.1.2.6 Notification of the crew and passengers on board the vessel

If a vessel operates commercially and arrives from abroad, the arrival notification must contain a notification of the crew and passengers on board the vessel. The notification is laid down in Regulation (EU) No 610/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code), the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, as well as Regulations (EC) No 1683/95, (EC) No 539/2001, (EC) No 767/2008 and (EC) No 810/2009. No notification is required if the vessel operates a regular internal ferry connection between two EU countries and does not call at ports in third countries. The notification must contain the particulars mentioned in FAL Forms 5 and 6 as well as the visa or residence permit numbers, if applicable.

3.1.2.7 Lists of the ship’s stores and crew’s effects

If the vessel operates commercially and arrives from abroad, the arrival notification must contain the lists of the ship’s stores and crew’s effects. The lists must contain the particulars mentioned in FAL Forms 3 and 4.

However, the lists need not be provided if the ship is a passenger or cruise ship or an authorised regular shipping service as referred to in articles 120 and 121 of the delegated regulation.

3.1.3 Confirmation of the arrival notification

The ship’s agent must confirm the arrival notification within two hours of the arrival of the ship. If the vessel arrives at night between 10.00 p.m. and 8.00 a.m., the arrival notification has to be confirmed by 10.00 a.m. the following morning. MEKE can authorise exceptions to this time limit with due regard to the nature of the traffic and the local circumstances.

3.2 Notification of the time of arrival

The arrival time of the vessel has to be entered into Portnet within two hours of the vessel’s arrival. Information provided by the port on the arrival of the vessel at the port is also accepted by the customs authority as a notification of the time of arrival. Ultimately, however, it is the ship’s agent who is responsible for submitting the notification of the time of arrival to Portnet.

If the vessel arrives at night between 10.00 p.m. and 8.00 a.m., the notification of the time of arrival has to be submitted by 10.00 a.m. the following morning. However, if the time of arrival differs from the estimated time of arrival by more than two hours, a notification of the changed time of arrival has to be submitted even at night.

3.3 Approval of the details of the arrival notification and the notification of arrival time

The customs authority approves the details provided regarding the arrival of the vessel once the ship’s agent has confirmed them and the actual time of arrival of the vessel has been submitted to Portnet. After this, the party submitting the details can no longer change the arrival data provided.

4. Notification procedure on departure

When a vessel departs from a port in Finland, a departure notification and a notification of the time of departure have to be submitted to Portnet. The ship’s agent must confirm the details submitted. The notifications have to be submitted as soon as the departure data is available, but no later than two hours before the departure of the vessel. The following ships are exempt from providing the notifications:

  • commercial vessels that are operated domestically and that have a gross tonnage of less than 300; however, these vessels must also provide the notification of dangerous or polluting goods carried by the ship as referred to in the second subparagraph under paragraph 4.1;
  • seagoing pleasure craft which are less than 45 metres long;
  • traditional ships;
  • coastal fishing vessels which return daily or within 36 hours to their port of registry or to another port in the territory of the Member States without calling at a port located in a third country.

4.1 Departure notification

The ship’s agent must prior to the departure of the ship submit the following information to Portnet: whether the vessel is taking cargo or not, advance information on the cargo to be loaded and the estimated departure time. This information can also be submitted in connection with the arrival notification. If the time of departure changes by more than two hours from the estimated time of departure, the new estimated time of departure has to be submitted to Portnet.

Irrespective of the size of the vessel or whether it operates domestically or internationally, a commercial vessel must when departing from the port always submit data on the dangerous or polluting goods it carries to Portnet in accordance with the requirement set out in the Government Decree (346/2014) on the obligation to declare sea transports of dangerous or polluting goods.

If the crew and passenger details have changed since the arrival of the vessel, the passenger and crew lists must be entered into Portnet.

The ship’s agent has to confirm the departure notification in Portnet when the required information has been provided. As far as Customs is concerned, the vessel can depart after the departure notification has been submitted, unless Customs has specifically prohibited the departure of the vessel.

4.2 Notification of the time of departure

The departure time of the vessel has to be entered into Portnet within two hours of the vessel’s departure. Information provided by the port on the departure of the vessel from the port is also accepted by the customs authority as a notification of the time of departure. Ultimately, however, it is the ship’s agent who is responsible for submitting the information on the time of departure to Portnet.

If the vessel departs at night between 10.00 p.m. and 8.00 a.m., the departure notification has to be submitted by 10.00 a.m. the following morning. If the actual time of departure of the vessel differs from the provided estimated time of departure by more than two hours, the changed time of departure has to be submitted to MEKE even at night.

4.3 Approval of the details of the departure notification and the notification of departure time

The customs authority approves the details provided on the departure of the vessel when they have been confirmed by the ship’s agent and once the vessel’s actual time of departure has been entered into Portnet. After this, the party submitting the details can no longer change the departure details provided.

5.  Entering the arrival and departure notification details into Portnet

All details mentioned above in sections 3 and 4 pertaining to the arrival and departure notifications, can be entered into Portnet via the user interface, except for the crew and passenger lists and the lists of the ship’s stores and crew’s effects. The notifications can be uploaded to Portnet as structural documents or as PDF-documents. The NSW forms on the Customs website should be used as the structural documents where the information is initially filled in. Notifications of ship-generated waste and cargo residues as well as security measures of the vessel can also be submitted with an NSW form. The use of forms in PDF format is forbidden as notifications of ship-generated waste and cargo residue and the same applies to notifications of security measures of the vessel. The information is uploaded to Portnet in section “IMO FAL notifications”.

Further information on sending the data in message format can be obtained from the Finnish Transport Agency at antti.arkima(at)liikennevirasto.fi. The Finnish Transport Agency is also in charge of testing and approval of those who wish to provide data in message format.

6. Cargo notification data

Data on goods unloaded from or loaded onto the vessel, provided at goods item or statistics level, as well as passenger data, can be submitted to Portnet via the interface or in message format. The data on goods can also be uploades to Portnet from the declarants own system at section “IMO FAL Notifications” either as a structural document or as a document in PDF format. However, a cargo notification in Portnet does not replace notifications that Customs has obliged customers to submit to the ELEX or AREX systems.

A shipping company, for which the Union transit procedure regarding the transportation of goods by sea is implemented, according to the transitional rules for certain provisions of the Union Customs Code and for amending article 53 of the Delegated Regulation, should provide a list in Portnet over the goods to be unloaded no later than when the goods are presented to Customs.

A shipping company that after the departure of the vessel has the right to draw up a loading list, which proves the union status of the goods, must submit the list of goods to Customs no later than the day following the vessels departure (this according to article 129 d which has been added to article 55 paragraph 13 of the regulation on transitional regulations of the delegated regulation). The loading list cannot for technical reasons be uploaded to Portnet efter departure. Thus, if the loading list is submitted to Customs after the departure of the vessel and it is not submitted via the user interface or as an electronic message, it should be submitted by email to MEKE.

If a notification at goods item level has not been submitted to Customs’ AREX system before unloading the vessel’s cargo, a notification to Portnet has to be submitted for supervision of the unloading of the vessel before the unloading. If the notification is uploaded to Portnet, the uploading is possible up until the vessel has received its final arrival time and the declarant has confirmed the data of the vessel declaration.

7. Notifications of vessel anchorage

When a vessel arrives in a pre-planned way to an achorage in Finland for the unloading or loading of the vessel or for some other necessary activity, general information regarding the vessel should be provided as well as information for determining the fairway due and also the arrival time of the vessel. Furthermore, information on the crew and passengers should be provided as well as information on the ship’s stores and crew’s effects.

The declaration should be submitted according to the timelimits for port call notifications. When anchoring, the formalities for submitting notifications for unloading and loading goods should be observed as well as other possible formalities related to the authorities.

Notifications of the departure and of the time of departure should be submitted when a vessel departs from an anchorage in Finland. The information should be presented according to the timelimits for port call notifications.

A vessel, for which a port of call notification has been submitted according to sections 1-3 and 5-6 and which has to be anchored while waiting to enter the port, must fill in a notification of anchorage if the anchoring will last for more than 24 hours. An actual port must be declared as the previous port in the port call notification. The anchorage code is not used in the port call notification.

When a vessel arrives in a pre-planned way to the territorial waters of Finland to complete a work task or for some other necessary activity without anchoring, the same kind of notification should be submitted as if it was to arrive at an anchorage.

Customs can prohibit the vessel from anchoring and can, if need be, direct the vessel to another place e.g. a port to complete its task.

8. Registration of ship’s agents

The carrier or the ship’s agent has to register in order to be able to submit data to Portnet. The registration form to be used is customs form 854s_15 (available in Finnish and Swedish).

To register as the jointly liable representative referred to in the Act on Fairway Dues, a separate form 988s_1.1.2015 (available in Finnish and Swedish) is to be filled in.

Registered ship’s agents will receive Portnet user IDs.

In addition, shipowner data in accordance with the Act on Fairway Dues must also be registered in Portnet. The registration form to be used is Customs form 855s_12. The form is submitted by email to MEKE.

The registration notification is to be sent to MEKE by e-mail.

9. Forms

The various customs forms relating to the use of Portnet can be found on the Customs website: E-services - Forms - Sea traffic forms.

10. Fallback procedure

If Portnet is unavailable, MEKE can decide that the forms obtainable on the Customs website be used as a fallback procedure. For such situations, separate instructions will be provided by MEKE.

11. MEKE contact information

Address:                                Satamakatu 22 Turku
Postal address:                     PO Box 386 20101 Turku
Service numbers:                  Telephone: 040 332 4049
E-mail address:                     meke(at)tulli.fi

Director General
Antti Hartikainen

Principal Legal Counsel
Arto Lillman

Määräykset