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Cablegate: Kaptanoglu Shipping Company

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ANKARA 006764

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR INL/C/CP-MCAWTHORNE, EB/TRA/OTP-DHAYWOOD,
EUR/SE
DEPT PASS TRANSPORTATION DEPT
ROME FOR ICE
ROTTERDAM FOR LCDR MBEE

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EWWT CVIS ETRD PREL TU
SUBJECT: KAPTANOGLU SHIPPING COMPANY

Ref: Haywood/Sirotic 12/2/04 Email

Sensitive But Unclassified. Please Handle Accordingly.

1. (SBU) Per ref email, Embassy understands that the
Coast Guard is calling an inter-agency meeting for
Monday, December 8 to consider imposing a moratorium
preventing Kaptanoglu Shipping Group (KSG) vessels from
entering U.S. waters/ports, as well as other measures,
due to the company's record of absconders/deserters and
its failure to respond to a September 30 Coast Guard
instruction to implement added security measures on its
ships. Embassy supports the measures proposed in ref
email.

2. (U) So as to avoid any surprises, we have kept the
Turkish MFA informed about KSG's problems since July.
Most recently, we reiterated to the MFA December 3 that
the company continued to be unresponsive to U.S.
concerns and that concrete measures could be implemented
in the near future. Basat Ozturk, head of the MFA
Maritime Department, promised to contact both KSG as
well as relevant Turkish agencies to urge the company to
comply with U.S. requirements immediately.

3. (U) In response to information about KSG absconders
and deserters, Embassy and Consulate Istanbul reviewed
crew visa issuance to persons affiliated with KSG. The
company has not participated in special crew visa
issuance programs for a long time. However, our
consular sections found that absconding/desertion has
been a problem with a number of other companies, and has
decided to require certain shipping companies to provide
a plan of remedial action prior to issuing any further
visas to their crews.

4. (U) Kaptanoglu Shipping Group is a family business
established in 1904 that currently operates seven motor
vessels of various sizes and capacities. The company is
primarily a ship operator, meaning that six of the seven
vessels currently operating in the Kaptanoglu fleet are
owned by other companies. KSG is responsible for
operating and managing the crews of the vessels it
sails. See www.kaptanoglu.com for further background on
KSG.

5. (SBU) Cengiz Kaptanoglu, a member of the Managing
Board of the H. Ismail Kaptanoglu Companies Group, is an
influential figure. A Member of Parliament from the
ruling AK party, Kaptanoglu chairs the Defense
Committee. He is also the President of the Managing
Board of the Maritime Trade Chamber. In discussing the
KSG case with Econoff, Ozturk alluded to Kaptanoglu's
influence by saying that, if a moratorium were imposed,
there could be media attention in the case.

6. (SBU) Embassy recommendation: In the absence of KSG
remedial measures, Embassy fully supports the Coast
Guard's proposed moratorium and other measures to
maintain homeland security. Noting that MP Kaptanoglu
is in a position of influence on defense-related policy
matters in Turkey, we suggest giving the Turkish MFA an
additional week to address the issue directly with the
company.
Edelman

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