10 Years in Istanbul: A Decade of Growth and Expansion

1 November 2021

When International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates (IRI) opened the Istanbul office in 2011, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry was already recognized as the highest quality and leading registry in the world. Turkish shipowners and operators were being serviced primarily out of IRI’s Piraeus office, but IRI’s leadership team recognized that the Turkish market needed a dedicated service and support team. That investment in local support and service, with the backing of worldwide technical, marine safety, administrative, and corporate support, has ensured the long-term success of IRI’s Istanbul office. In 2019, the Turkish Shipowners Association reported RMI as the second largest flag State for Turkish owned vessels.

“The Turkish shipping community is important to IRI and the RMI Registry,” said Theo Xenakoudis, Director, Worldwide Business Operations / Managing Director. “We will continue to invest in our local presence and look to further expand the number of quality Turkish owned vessels in the RMI Registry.”

“Turkey sits at the crossroads of two continents, with significant marine traffic and extremely busy ports,” said Ozgur Asik, Regional Manager (IRI Istanbul). “Turkey is also a key shipbuilding and ship recycling center, so opening a local office in 2011 allowed us to build a well-developed and highly experienced team to support a variety of vessels, owners, and operators throughout the region. Our dedicated support is what built us into the second largest flag for Turkish owners,” continued Mr. Asik.

The Istanbul office itself has grown significantly in the last decade, serving both corporate and maritime clients. Mr. Asik and his team of six have seen a significant increase in the number of newly registered vessels, including yachts in the last several years. He attributes this to having local support for the busy Turkish shipyards, which themselves attracted a significant number of new builds in the last few years.

“We have two in-house resources who are qualified to conduct Annual Safety Inspections (ASIs), International Safety Management Code (ISM) and International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code audits, and Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) inspections,” said Mr. Asik. “With 26 other IRI offices worldwide, we’re able to get the right expert to the right project, ensuring clients get the highest-quality team no matter the specifications or location of their project,” he continued.

The global focus on decarbonization and green shipping is felt in Turkey, and Mr. Asik’s team works closely with clients to ensure high levels of compliance with international regulations. These efforts extend to the most innovative alternative and renewable energy projects.

“Turkish shipowners are savvy and recognize the importance of quality flag State support and expertise, especially as the industry continues to look to cleaner, greener energy sources,” Mr. Asik commented. He continued, “as the youngest and greenest fleet in the world, and the only registry to achieve 17 consecutive years in the United States Coast Guard’s (USCG’s) QUALSHIP 21 program, the RMI Registry is well positioned to support, serve, and assist with innovative technologies and techniques that support a sustainable shipping industry. Turkish owners and operators throughout the world recognize that we are able to assist them with technical support and service that no other registry can match and we can do so in their local language and time zone.”

The last decade has brought an increase in the formation of corporate business entities as well. “Market conditions are changing, and investors are seeing a lot of opportunity in Turkey,” said Mr. Asik. “Our decentralized structure, modern and professional corporate services, and global expertise attract investors and entrepreneurs,” he continued.

When asked about IRI Istanbul’s success, Mr. Asik mentions one word, “teamwork.”

“Clients can see, feel, and experience the teamwork with IRI. They know that IRI Istanbul is part of a large, highly-experienced team of corporate and maritime experts that ensures clients get reliable answers, solutions, support, and guidance expediently,” commented Mr. Asik. “In the last decade our clients have come to understand that we are part of their team, not just here in Istanbul, but worldwide,” he concluded.