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

21.12.2018 13.53 | Published in English on 6.5.2019 at 8.20
Press release

3/2018

No. 3/2018 Date of issue
20 December 2018

Statutory basis

Vessel Traffic Service Act (623/2005), section 20 a (225/2012), section 22 a (576/2018), 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
Finnish Customs Act (304/2016), section 52
Act on Excise Duty (182/2010), sections 19 and 98
Act (254/2007) on implementing the regulations under the scope of the legislation of the WHO International Health Regulations (2005)
Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport (1672/2009), section 3
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 1 January 2019 until further notice. This regulation will repeal Customs’ Decision No. 2/2017 of 20 July 2017.

Target groups
Shipping operators and their representatives
Customs Electronic Service Centre, Customs Analysis and Intelligence, customs offices

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

1. Scope of application

This regulation concerns arrival and departure notifications submitted for vessels arriving in 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 (623/2005), 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 leisure 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 and authorisations, 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 border crossings 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 Team (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 in the processing system of Finnish Customs for declarations on goods entering or leaving the Community (the AREX system).

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 in 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 vessel
  • 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 or the net or gross tonnage of the vessel has changed since the registration of the vessel, the Sea Traffic Team 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 vessel’s first arrival to a port in Finland:

  • tonnage 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. When a document is entered into the Portnet system, its possible period of validity must also be entered. 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 tonnage certificate and the security certificate, need not be entered into Portnet if the Act on Fairway Dues is not implemented on the vessel in accordance with section 3.1.2.2 of this regulation.

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.

If the vessel is carrying dangerous or polluting goods and arrives from a port outside the European Economic Area, the information on these goods is to be provided prior to departure from the port of loading or as soon as the port of destination in Finland is known.

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 vessel-generated waste and cargo residues
  • notification of dangerous or polluting goods carried by the vessel
  • notifications of the crew and passengers on board the vessel
  • notifications of the vessel’s stores and crew’s effects

3.1.2.1 General information

The arrival notification must contain the following general information:

  • ship identification: name, call sign, IMO number (if the vessel has an IMO number)
  • port of call
  • previous port of departure
  • next port of destination
  • information on whether the vessel will arrive in international or domestic traffic
  • information on whether the vessel carries dangerous or polluting goods (dangerous cargo) on arrival
  • information on whether the vessel carries cargo and whether it will be unloaded
  • information on whether the vessel 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 vessel from the port if the vessel 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’ 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 party 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

  1. operate on the Saimaa Canal or Saimaa waters;
  2. on their way between foreign ports sail through Finnish territorial waters without calling at a Finnish port;
  3. arrive in and depart from Finland via the Saimaa Canal without calling at a Finnish coastal port;
  4. 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;
  5. have a net tonnage of less than 600 and are passenger ships defined in section 2 paragraph 1 of the Act on Fairway Dues
  6. are used for icebreaking on the inner or outer territorial waters of Finland and provide icebreaking services to the Finnish Transport Agency (presently Finnish Transport Infrastructure 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 9 in this regulation.

3.1.2.3 Notification of 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. This notification must be submitted also when a ship in international traffic has left another Finnish port. 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 (presently Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom).

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) as most recently amended.

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 (presently Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom), 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 arrives from abroad and operates commercially, the arrival notification must contain a notification of the crew and passengers on board the vessel. The notification is laid down in Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code).

The notification of the crew and passengers on board the vessel need not be provided if the vessel operates a regular internal ferry connection between two EU countries and does not call at ports in third countries.

3.1.2.7 Maritime declaration of health for the vessel

If the ship operates commercially and arrives from abroad, a questionnaire for maritime declaration of health must be completed in the arrival notification. The questionnaire is worded as follows: Are there any substances, which may pose an international health risk on board the vessel, is the vessel coming from an area where an outbreak of international concern has been declared AND/OR are there any severely ill persons with symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, rash, unusual bleeding or paralysis or fatalities associated with these symptoms on board?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, a maritime declaration of health in accordance with the WHO International Health Regulations (2005) should be attached to the arrival notification of the vessel.

3.1.2.8 Notifications of the ship’s stores and crew’s effects

If the vessel operates commercially and arrives from abroad, the arrival notification must contain notifications of the ship’s stores and crew’s effects when it comes to alcohol and tobacco products exempt from excise duty.

The notifications of the ship’s stores and crew’s effects need not be provided if the ship is a passenger or cruise ship or used in 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. In exceptional cases, the Sea Traffic Team (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

Prior to the departure of the ship, the ship’s agent must 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 changed 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 the Sea Traffic Team (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 into Portnet

The arrival and departure details and notifications referred to in paragraphs 3 and 4 are to be saved in Portnet as follows:

  • General information, notification of fairway dues, notification of dangerous or polluting goods carried by the ship, departure notification and notification of the arrival or departure times can be saved in Portnet only through an interface.
  • Notification of the security measures on board the vessel and notification of ship-generated waste and cargo residues can be saved in Portnet either through an interface or by using the NSW forms available on the Customs website. The information about the security officer of the shipping company is provided when registering shipowner data. If the information has changed, the information about the shipping company of the vessel, including information about the security officer, must be submitted again in the way stated in section 9 of this regulation. In the port call notification, the representative of the vessel must report whether someone else than the shipowner in accordance with the Act on Fairway Dues is responsible for the safety of the vessel. If so, the name of this company must also be provided.
  • Notifications of the crew and passengers on board the vessel can be saved in Portnet only by using the NSW forms available on the Customs website.
  • Notifications of the ship’s stores and crew’s effects can be saved in Portnet only by using IMO-FAL forms. Forms concerning the ship’s stores and crew’s effects possibly submitted by the vessel can be saved in Portnet also as PDF documents.
  • The maritime declaration of health can be saved using the NSW form available on the Customs website or as a PDF document.

The box for remarks can be used for entering possible further information about the arrival and departure.

Further information on sending the data in message format can be obtained from the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom at [email protected] The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom is also responsible for testing and accepting message declarants.

6. Cargo notification data

Data on goods to be 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 uploaded to Portnet from the declarant’s own system under “IMO FAL Notifications” either as a structured document or as a PDF document. However, a cargo notification in Portnet does not replace notifications that Customs has obliged customers to submit in the systems of Finnish Customs for arriving or departing goods (the ELEX and AREX systems).

A shipping company carrying goods placed under the Union transit procedure concerning goods transported by sea as referred to in Article 53 of the Delegated Regulation on transitional regulations, should submit the loading list concerning goods to be unloaded from the vessel to Portnet at the latest when the goods to be unloaded are presented to Customs.

A shipping company entitled under Article 129 d of the Delegated Regulation, added to the Delegated Act by paragraph 13 of Article 55 of the Delegated Regulation concerning transitional rules, to issue the goods manifest confirming the Union status of goods after departure of the vessel, should submit the goods manifest in question to Customs no later than on the day following the departure of the vessel. For technical reasons, the loading list cannot be uploaded to Portnet after 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 e-mail to the Sea Traffic Team (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 anchorage 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 and also information on dangerous or polluting goods.

The declaration should be submitted according to the time limits for port call notifications. When anchoring, the formalities for submitting notifications for unloading and loading goods should be observed in addition to 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 time limits for port call notifications.

A vessel, for which a port 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 submit 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, for example a port to complete its task.

8. Oil cargo transfers between oil tankers in Finland’s territorial waters and notifications on these to be submitted to Customs in Portnet

Transfers of oil cargo between oil tankers (STS transfers) can only be carried out within the port area and in specifically designated areas in the territorial waters and economic zone of Finland.

The Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi (presently Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom) has designated the following areas for STS transfers of oil cargo in the territorial waters of Finland:

  • The Kalbådagrund anchorage in the Gulf of Finland
  • The Svartbäck anchorage off Kilpilahti in Porvoo

More details about the areas are to be found in Trafi’s decision TRAFI/398315/03.04.01.00/201 (in Finnish)

The carrier, owner, agent or master of a vessel must inform Customs about their plan to carry out an STS transfer of oil cargo in the territorial waters of Finland by using the electronic shipping data management system Portnet referred to in the Vessel Traffic Service Act. This notification must be made well in advance and no later than 48 hours prior to the intended STS transfer. The notification has to include the following information:

  • name, radio call sign and IMO number of the vessel partaking in the transfer, and estimated time of arrival
  • date, time and location of the STS transfer
  • information on whether the STS transfer will be carried out at anchor or in motion
  • type and amount of oil
  • planned duration of STS transfer
  • name and contact details of the person in charge of the STS transfer
  • confirmation that the oil tanker has a plan for the oil transfer (STS transfer plan) that meets the requirements in Annex I of the MARPOL 73/78 convention.

This information must be provided for both the vessel discharging the oil cargo and the vessel loading the oil cargo. If, in exceptional circumstances, all the information is not available 48 hours before the planned STS transfer, the oil tanker discharging the oil cargo must inform Customs that the transfer will be carried out no later than 48 hours prior to the intended transfer. The missing information must be sent to Customs as soon as possible.

The information is submitted in text format (for the time being) in Portnet under “Other port arrival information” in the port call notification. When submitting the information, it must be observed that also all other required notifications regarding the arrival and departure of the vessel and regarding its cargo must be submitted to Customs.

9. 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.

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 (available in Finnish and Swedish). The form is to be sent to the Sea Traffic Team (MEKE) by e-mail. At the same time, information should also be provided about the security officer of the shipping company in charge of the security of the vessel, if the shipping company in charge of the security of the vessel is the same as the shipowner in accordance with the Act on Fairway Dues. In other cases, the information about the security officer and the shipping company in charge of the security of the vessel must be provided in accordance with section 5 when submitting the vessel’s arrival information.

The registration information on the shipowner and changes in this information must be sent to MEKE in accordance with the time limits for arrival notifications.

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

10. Forms

The various customs forms relating to the use of Portnet can be found on the Customs website: https://tulli.fi/en/e-services/forms/sea-traffic-forms

11. 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.

12. MEKE contact information

Postal address:  PO Box 386, 20101 Turku
Service numbers:  Telephone: 040 332 4049
Email adress:  meke(at)tulli.fi 

In the absence of the Director General 

Deputy Director General                                               Jarkko Saksa

Chief Legal Counsel                                                      Antti Hästbacka

 

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