Mr Costas Stamatiou

Costas Stamatiou

Lawyer biography

Costas Stamatiou graduated in law from the University of Wales, Cardiff in 2001 and obtained a Master’s degree in Legal Aspects of Marine Affairs from there in 2002 and a Master’s degree in European Legal Studies from Bristol University in 2003.  He was admitted to the Cyprus Bar in 2004.  He was appointed as a member of the shipping committee of the Cyprus Bar Association in 2009. 

Main areas of practice

Admiralty and shipping, commercial law and international trade.

Publication

Costas is the author of “Establishing the Boundaries: Cyprus offshore oil, gas and shipping industries”, published in Lloyd's List Cyprus, September 2005; “The Shortsea Shipping Market of the Future”, Lloyd’s List Cyprus, September 2006; “The Marco Polo Programme & Cyprus: Financing the Motorways of the Seas”, ICCLR. 2006, 17(8), N68. University theses were on the subjects of “Carrier’s Liability: A comparative study of the CMI/UNCITRAL draft instrument on transport law, the Hague, Hague-Visby and Hamburg Rules”, Cardiff, 2002 and “Aspects of EC Competition Law in Maritime Transport”, Bristol, 2003. He is a co-author of “Cyprus: Freezing orders, ship arrest warrants, anti-suit injunctions, disclosure orders and Norwich Pharmacal relief in aid of court or arbitration proceedings in Cyprus and overseas”, ICCLR 2010 21(2); “The New Era of EC Competition Law in the Shipping Industry”, ICCLR, 2009, 20(1); “Ready, Steady, Drill: the legislation governing the race for Cyprus’s offshore hydrocarbons reserves”, ICCLR. 2007, 18(12); ”Shipping – The Cyprus Way”, Offshore Investment – September 2007; "Black Boxes and the Proposed EU Fundamental Principles on the Investigation of Accidents in the Maritime Industry”, ICCLR 2007, 18(5); the Cyprus chapter of 'Dispute Resolution Handbook 2007/08' by Practical Law Co; “Legal Aspects of the ISM Code”, ICCLR 2006 17(7); “Cyprus: Commercial Shipping”, ICCLR 2005 16(11); “Cyprus: Forum Non Conveniens in the European Era”, ICCLR 2005 16 (8); “Cyprus Company law - Corporate Governance”, ICCLR 2005 16(6).

Costas is also a co-author of the Cyprus chapter of the “Encyclopaedia of International Commercial Litigation” published by Kluwer Law International and the new edition of the textbook Introduction to Cyprus Law by Andreas Neocleous & Co. LLC.

Updates

Litigation

Carriage of goods by sea: principles of agency and functions of bills of lading
Cyprus | 04 September 2018

A recent Supreme Court decision considered the principles of agency and functions of bills of lading and provided a useful summary of this area of law. The case demonstrates the importance of expressly specifying the capacity in which various parties are acting when negotiating or entering into a contract – for example, whether they are acting as principals in their own right or as agents on behalf of someone else.

Supreme Court confirms jurisdiction to determine claims arising in exclusive economic zone
Cyprus | 12 June 2018

In a recent case filed in its admiralty jurisdiction, the Supreme Court of Cyprus had to consider whether accidents which take place in the Cyprus exclusive economic zone (EEZ) give jurisdiction to the Cyprus courts. The court decided that it has jurisdiction to hear disputes regarding accidents which occur within its territory, including the Cyprus EEZ, provided that the accident concerns the prospection or exploitation of Cyprus's natural resources.

Duty of full and frank disclosure in interim order applications
Cyprus | 16 May 2017

The courts' power to grant interim orders to protect assets that may be at risk of alienation (ie, Mareva orders) pending the final determination of an action is well established under the Cyprus legal system. In making an application for such an order, the applicant must make a full and frank disclosure of all material facts. The Supreme Court recently clarified that full and frank disclosure involves more than providing the court with every possible document and leaving it to discern what might be significant.

Supreme Court considers Article IV of New York Convention's duly certified copy requirement
Cyprus | 09 May 2017

The Supreme Court recently issued a judgment which focused on Article IV of the New York Convention. The court considered what was meant by Article IV's requirement for a duly certified copy of an original arbitral award. The court found that since the convention does not describe the preconditions for a valid authentication or certification, it is a matter to be decided by the court in which recognition is sought on the basis of local law.

Supreme Court confirms principles for issuing gagging orders with Norwich Pharmacal orders
Cyprus | 17 November 2015

In a recent judicial review decision, the Supreme Court confirmed that judges have discretionary power to issue disclosure orders (otherwise known as Norwich Pharmacal orders) that are backed up by gagging orders, which is common practice to limit the risk of removal or destruction of evidence.

Salvage claims in Admiralty Court
Cyprus | 01 September 2015

In a recent decision the Cyprus Admiralty Court took the opportunity to reaffirm the main principles of the law on marine salvage. The court reiterated that for salvage to be earned, there must be an element of risk and salvage services must be rendered successfully, on a voluntary basis and for the salvage of property that could constitute a salvage reward, such as a ship or its cargo.

New Administrative Court established
Cyprus | 18 August 2015

A new law provides for the establishment of an Administrative Court in Nicosia, with exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate administrative recourses under Article 146 of the Constitution. It will have jurisdiction to review at first instance the lawfulness of decisions, actions or omissions of any organ, authority or person exercising executive or administrative authority, and the power to validate or nullify any such decision, action or omission.

No state immunity in commercial agreements targeting contraband cigarettes
Cyprus | 21 April 2015

The Supreme Court recently examined an appeal against a district court decision to set aside orders obtained by Tlais Enterprises Limited to seal and serve an action against Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The case concerned a tripartite agreement between Tlais, Gallaher International Limited and HMRC to reduce the import of contraband cigarettes into the United Kingdom.

Declaratory relief by Cyprus courts
Cyprus | 18 November 2014

The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the power of the courts to issue declaratory orders in accordance with Article 41 of the Administration of Justice Law. The case concerned the filing of an action by various single ship companies seeking declaratory orders to the effect that they were the owners of the relevant vessels, which was disputed by the defendant companies.

Interim orders regarding disputed share pledges
Cyprus | 28 January 2014

Pledges of shares are frequently encountered in Cyprus holding and finance structures. The Contract Law provides that in order to be valid and enforceable, a contract of pledge of share certificates in a company as security for the payment of a debt or performance of a promise must meet certain conditions. The Cyprus courts recently considered a dispute regarding the enforcement of such a pledge.

Court reaffirms deviations from forum non conveniens principles
Cyprus | 07 January 2014

The Limassol District Court recently had the opportunity to examine aspects of the forum non conveniens doctrine in the context of an application to set aside service of a writ of summons. The case is one of a series of actions between Gazprombank and Janna Bullock in various jurisdictions, in which the bank is seeking to recover $21 million in damages it claims to have suffered due to purported fraud by Bullock and her associates.

Minimising risks of contempt of interim orders by financial institutions
Cyprus | 13 November 2012

Courts in Cyprus have the discretionary power to issue interim orders, provided that certain conditions have been satisfied. In addition, it is possible to apply for interim measures without notice to the respondent through an ex parte application. The court will consider the application only if there is an element of extreme urgency. Furthermore, the applicant must make full and frank disclosure of all material facts.

Supreme Court reconfirms hands-off approach to banking obligations
Cyprus | 23 October 2012

The Supreme Court recently reconfirmed the general principle that courts will rarely interfere in banking mechanisms created by virtue of irrevocable bank obligations. In this case, even though the respondents had issued an irrevocable bank guarantee, they did not receive the goods. Among other things, the proceedings raised issues of international financing and compensation on the basis of unjust enrichment.

Admiralty jurisdiction: ship arrest, cargo arrest and sale pendente lite
Cyprus | 19 June 2012

In a recent case the claimant filed an action against a ship and its owner to recover unpaid charges for bunkering and maintenance services provided to the ship. The claimant also applied to the court for the ship to be arrested. The court arrested the ship on the basis of the claimant's application and later also approved the sale of the ship pendente lite (ie, pending litigation).

No use crying over spilled coffee: court rules in negligence case
Cyprus | 06 December 2011

The Civil Wrongs Law provides that negligence consists of either performing an act which a reasonable prudent person would not do or failing to perform an act which such person would do, causing damage as a result. The Limassol District Court recently ruled in a negligence case, awarding damages against an airlines to a claimant for burns suffered when coffee was spilled on her onboard a flight.

Advance-fee fraud: tracing and recovering assets through the courts
Cyprus | 27 September 2011

Advance-fee fraud is a classic form of white collar crime, in which the targeted victim is persuaded to advance money to the criminal in the hope of realising a significantly larger gain. The Supreme Court recently confirmed the power of courts to issue provisional measures and asset-freezing orders. The recent Leon Brener case is a good illustration of the powers of Cyprus courts in assisting victims of fraud.

Supreme Court clarifies approach for enforcement of arbitral awards
Cyprus | 02 August 2011

Alternative dispute resolution proceedings and arbitral awards brought before Cyprus courts are generally respected, as summarised in a number of judgments before the Supreme Court. In a recent case, the court made clear that while the applicants had filed the original arbitration agreement with the arbitration court, this did not relieve them of the obligation to file it with the court in the proceedings to enforce the award.

Enforcement of judgments by writs of attachment
Cyprus | 26 July 2011

The Nicosia District Court recently made an absolute order for the attachment of assets in the hands of a third party. The judge noted that such attachment is permitted by the Civil Procedure Rules as a means of execution of judgments and is recognised by law. Accordingly, the court reaffirmed its order requiring the third party not to waive the fee that it was obliged to pay the judgment debtor.

Court rules on clarity of pleadings in legal proceedings
Cyprus | 12 July 2011

In a recent decision the Limassol District Court reconfirmed that pleadings must contain the necessary details to allow the other party to form a clear and precise picture of the nature and extent of the case that it will be facing at the hearing. When this rule is breached, the other party has the right to apply for an order requiring the provision of the necessary details.

Supreme Court affirms and distinguishes hire-purchase contracts
Cyprus | 08 February 2011

The Supreme Court has reaffirmed the validity of hire-purchase contracts, holding that the two elements distinguishing hire-purchase agreements from direct sale contracts are: the right of return of the subject matter before, during or subsequent to the payment of the instalments and before the exercise of the right of purchase; and the absence of an obligation on the part of the hire-purchaser to purchase the goods.

Mareva injunctions and freezing orders pending determination of derivative action
Cyprus | 07 December 2010

A case in progress in the Limassol District Court gives useful guidance on the issue of urgency as it affects the courts' readiness to issue interim orders on an ex parte basis. The judge stated that in this case, the question of urgency related not to the time of the request, but rather to the need for a remedy to be granted without notice to the other side.

First instance court summarises preconditions for interlocutory relief
Cyprus | 05 October 2010

The power of Cyprus courts to grant interlocutory relief pending determination of the main trial is well established. In a recent decision the Larnaca District Court had the opportunity to summarise the preconditions for courts to issue interim orders which constitute discretionary remedies. The primary legal basis for orders of this nature is Section 32 of the Courts of Justice Law.

Scrutinizing and supporting arbitration proceedings before Cypriot courts
Cyprus | 20 July 2010

The Supreme Court of Cyprus recently delivered a decision reaffirming the Cypriot courts' support of the arbitration process in accordance with certain principles. The Supreme Court's decision adds clarity to the powers and obligations of arbitrators and further demonstrates that Cypriot courts will respect and support arbitration proceedings and the function of arbitrators.

Supreme Court rules on issue of international arbitration and ship arrests
Cyprus | 18 May 2010

In a recent case the admiralty division of the Supreme Court held that a vessel cannot be arrested as security for a potential future award in London arbitration proceedings. Basing its decision on an English Court of Appeal decision, the court concluded that the Cyprus Admiralty Court did not have jurisdiction "since the request of the plaintiff [was] for security in connection to the result of an arbitration procedure".

Shipping & Transport

Ballast Water Management Convention enters into force
Cyprus | 24 October 2018

The Deputy Ministry of Shipping recently announced that the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments will enter into force in Cyprus on 8 November 2018. The Cyprus shipping authorities will apply the requirements of the convention to ships that fly the flag of a country which is not a party to the convention to the extent necessary to ensure that they are not treated more favourably than ships flying the flag of parties to the convention.

English translation of merchant shipping law made available
Cyprus | 10 October 2018

The Deputy Ministry of Shipping has announced that an English translation of the Merchant Shipping (Recognition and Authorisation of Organisations) Law 2011 is now available on its website. The law sets out common rules and standards for organisations that inspect and survey Cyprus-flagged ships and regulates dealings between such organisations and the Cyprus Maritime Administration. The definitive text of the law is in Greek and the translation is for information purposes.

Carriage of goods by sea: principles of agency and functions of bills of lading
Cyprus | 29 August 2018

A recent Supreme Court decision considered the principles of agency and functions of bills of lading and provided a useful summary of this area of law. The case demonstrates the importance of expressly specifying the capacity in which various parties are acting when negotiating or entering into a contract – for example, whether they are acting as principals in their own right or as agents on behalf of someone else.

New circular on use of electronic certificates
Cyprus | 01 August 2018

The Deputy Ministry of Shipping recently issued a circular informing recognised organisations, security organisations, registered owners, bareboat charterers, managers and representatives of ships flying the Cyprus flag that it now accepts statutory certificates issued to Cyprus-flagged vessels by recognised organisations in electronic form, provided that they satisfy the International Maritime Organisation requirements set out in its Guidelines for the Use of Electronic Certificates.

Supreme Court confirms jurisdiction to determine claims arising in exclusive economic zone
Cyprus | 06 June 2018

In a recent case filed in its admiralty jurisdiction, the Supreme Court of Cyprus had to consider whether accidents which take place in the Cyprus exclusive economic zone (EEZ) give jurisdiction to the Cyprus courts. The court decided that it has jurisdiction to hear disputes regarding accidents which occur within its territory, including the Cyprus EEZ, provided that the accident concerns the prospection or exploitation of Cyprus's natural resources.

Publication of latest Central Bank ship management survey
Cyprus | 16 May 2018

Since 2009, the Central Bank has carried out semi-annual market surveys of Cyprus residents who provide ship management services to ship-owning companies registered in Cyprus and abroad. The surveys collect data on financial transactions (revenues and expenses) between resident ship management companies and non-residents of Cyprus. The most recent survey, which covers the second half of 2017, was published on April 27 2018.

Certificates of proficiency in training for ships operating in polar waters
Cyprus | 02 May 2018

The Deputy Ministry of Shipping recently announced that from January 1 2020, all masters, chief officers and officers in charge of a navigational watch serving on board Cyprus-flagged vessels operating in polar waters must hold the appropriate certificate of proficiency in training, as required by the International Maritime Organisation's International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters.

New standards for recreational and personal craft
Cyprus | 25 April 2018

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently announced the publication of the Essential Requirements (Recreational Craft and Personal Watercraft) Regulations 2017. The new regulations set required standards for design and construction and exhaust and noise emissions. They apply to recreational and personal craft, specified components when placed on the EU market, engines and engine conversions and substantial modifications to vessels.

Contact details for new Deputy Ministry of Shipping released
Cyprus | 11 April 2018

​The Deputy Ministry of Shipping has announced that the email addresses of its personnel and departments have been changed following its conversion from a department of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works to a deputy ministry. To ensure a smooth transition, the existing email addresses of ministry personnel will remain valid until June 30 2018 and departmental email addresses will remain valid until April 30 2019.

Certificates of competency under International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers
Cyprus | 21 March 2018

​The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued an updated list of countries whose certificates of competency are recognised by Cyprus under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, as amended. The only change from the previous list, issued in November 2014, is the addition of Jordan.

Department of Merchant Shipping transformed into deputy ministry
Cyprus | 14 March 2018

The Department of Merchant Shipping has announced that it will be a deputy ministry with effect from March 1 2018 and be renamed the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, following the entry into force of the Establishment of a Deputy Ministry of Shipping and Appointment of a Deputy Minister of Shipping and for Matters Connected Therewith Law 2017. As successor to the Department of Merchant Shipping, the deputy ministry will assume all of the former's rights, responsibilities, powers and obligations.

New safety requirements for coastal passenger vessels enter into force
Cyprus | 21 February 2018

Article 47A of the Merchant Shipping (Issue and Recognition of Certificates and Marine Training) Laws provides that crew members on-board coastal passenger vessels who have safety duties relating to passengers must meet the mandatory minimum familiarisation and basic safety training and instruction requirements for all seafarers under Regulation VI/I of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.

Tonnage tax – maintenance of prescribed levels of community-flagged vessels
Cyprus | 17 January 2018

The Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law 2010 requires the Department of Merchant Shipping to assess the community-flagged share of each participant in the tonnage tax scheme as at the third year from the date of opting to be taxed under the scheme. The department recently announced the arrangements for the review as at December 31 2017, which will cover companies that entered the tonnage tax scheme between January 1 2014 and January 1 2015.

New Cyprus-India agreement on merchant shipping
Cyprus | 20 December 2017

Cyprus and India recently signed a new reciprocal agreement on merchant shipping. Among other things, the agreement requires each country to treat the other country's vessels in the same way as it treats its own vessels engaged in international voyages. Further, the taxation of income of any kind derived from the use of vessels in international traffic is governed by the double tax agreement.

Tonnage tax: countries whose ships are subject to surcharge
Cyprus | 22 November 2017

The Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law 2010 imposes a surcharge on the tonnage tax payable by qualifying vessels registered in countries which appear on the grey or black list of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding. On the basis of the 2016 Paris Memorandum of Understanding annual report, the Department of Merchant Shipping recently determined which flags are included in the relevant grey or black list for the purposes of calculating tonnage tax for 2017.

Department of Merchant Shipping upgraded to deputy ministry
Cyprus | 25 October 2017

Law 123(I)/2017 has upgraded the Department of Merchant Shipping to a deputy ministry under the direction of the newly created post of deputy minister of shipping with effect from March 1 2018. The new Deputy Ministry of Maritime Affairs will assume the Department of Merchant Shipping's powers and responsibilities. This upgrade reflects the importance of the shipping sector in Cyprus and the significance that the government places on its development.

Use of electronic oil record books on board Cyprus-flagged vessels
Cyprus | 20 September 2017

Under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, only wastewater containing a specified proportion of oil may be discharged directly overboard and all discharges must be recorded in an oil record book. The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued guidance regarding the use of electronic oil record books on board Cyprus-flagged vessels, which follows the recommendations of the International Maritime Organisation's Marine Environment Protection Committee.

Amendments to International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers
Cyprus | 30 August 2017

Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978 and Part A of the Seafarers Training, Certification and Watchkeeping Code recently came into force. The amendments apply to Cyprus-flagged vessels, foreign-flagged vessels visiting Cyprus ports and all seafarers employed on board Cyprus-flagged vessels which are subject to the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-Flashpoint Fuels.

Cyprus implements EU regulation on maritime transport emissions
Cyprus | 16 August 2017

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a circular informing owners, managers and representatives of Cyprus-flagged ships of their obligations under EU Regulation 757/2015 on the monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from maritime transport. Operators of Cyprus-flagged ships must submit a monitoring plan for each of their vessels no later than August 31 2017, indicating the method chosen to monitor and report CO2 emissions.

Implementation of new ballast water standards
Cyprus | 26 July 2017

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a circular to owners, bareboat charterers, managers and representatives of ships flying the Cyprus flag informing them of proposed implementation arrangements for ballast water management systems under the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments 2004.

New procedures announced for issuing minimum safe manning documents for Cyprus-flagged ships
Cyprus | 19 July 2017

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently announced a change in the procedures for issuing minimum safe manning documents (MSMDs). The new procedures apply from July 1 2017 and all MSMDs issued before that date will cease to be valid by the end of 2017. In order to ensure a smooth transition, applications for new MSMDs should be submitted by September 15 2017 to give the department time to issue new documents before the existing ones expire.

Consolidated instructions and guidelines for private ship security companies
Cyprus | 07 June 2017

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued detailed guidelines for private ship security companies that hold an authorisation certificate to provide services under Article 22(1) of the Protection of Cyprus Ships against Acts of Piracy and Other Unlawful Acts Law 2012 or intend to apply for such authorisation. The guidelines cover general instructions, firearms and guidance on the assessment process.

New Merchant Shipping (Marine Equipment) Law enacted
Cyprus | 10 May 2017

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently announced the enactment of the Merchant Shipping (Marine Equipment) Law 2017, which transposes the EU Marine Equipment Directive (2013/52/EC) into national law. The new law covers equipment placed or intended to be placed on board a Cyprus ship, for which Department of Merchant Shipping approval is required regardless of whether the ship is situated in the European Union when the equipment is installed.

New schedule of fees payable under anti-piracy law
Cyprus | 05 April 2017

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued an updated schedule of fees payable under Article 86 of the Protection of Cyprus Ships Against Acts of Piracy and other Unlawful Acts Law 2012. In addition, the Protection of Cyprus Ships Against Acts of Piracy (Determination of Fees) Notification 2017 was recently published in the Official Gazette.

Merchant Shipping (Compliance with Flag State Requirements) Order 2016
Cyprus | 01 February 2017

Article 5 of the Merchant Shipping (Compliance with Flag State Requirements) Law 2012 requires the Department of Merchant Shipping to take steps to ensure that ships accepted for registration under the Cyprus flag comply with prescribed international conventions. Article 2(1) of the law provides for the minister of transport, communications and works to determine the relevant conventions and publish a ministerial order listing them. The previous list, which was published in 2012, was recently updated.

Tonnage tax for 2016: countries whose ships are subject to surcharge
Cyprus | 30 November 2016

In order to promote its objective of improving the quality of Cyprus shipping, the Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law of 2010 imposes a surcharge on the tonnage tax payable regarding qualifying vessels registered in countries which appear on the 'grey list' or 'black list' of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding. The Department of Merchant Shipping recently determined the flags included in the relevant grey or black list for the purposes of calculating tonnage tax for 2016.

New procedure for renewal of PSSC certificates
Cyprus | 23 November 2016

The Protection of Cyprus Ships Against Acts of Piracy and Other Unlawful Acts Law 2012 sets out the requirements for the Department of Merchant Shipping (DMS) to issue a private ship security contractor (PSSC) with a certificate confirming that it is allowed to implement security measures on Cyprus ships. With 37 PSSC certificates due to expire before the end of 2017, the DMS recently announced a renewal procedure in order to streamline the process.

Department of Merchant Shipping invites funding proposals under Motorways of the Sea initiative
Cyprus | 02 November 2016

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently invited owners and operators of ships flying the Cyprus flag to submit funding proposals under the Motorways of the Sea initiative. The initiative aims to promote environmentally friendly, viable, attractive and efficient sea-based transport links and remove bottlenecks in the EU transport system by making shipping a viable alternative to other overcrowded means of transport.

Random inspection of vessels operating in coastal waters
Cyprus | 12 October 2016

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently notified owners and operators of small ferries and passenger boats operating in coastal waters of its intention to carry out an intensive programme of random inspections under the Coastal and Other Passenger Vessels Regulations of 2012. The programme will have a particular emphasis on waste disposal and pollution prevention.

Measures to improve compliance of Cyprus-flagged ships calling at US ports
Cyprus | 28 September 2016

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a circular to owners, operators and managers of Cyprus-flagged ships regarding measures to reverse the increasing trend of Cyprus ships being detained at US ports. The department has noted a continuous increase in the number of Cyprus-flagged ships being detained at US ports, despite its measures and actions to improve compliance.

Introduction of electronic seafarer's application system
Cyprus | 21 September 2016

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently launched its new online electronic seafarer's application system for the submission of Cyprus Seafarers Identification and Sea Service Record Book applications and the recognition of certificates of competency issued by overseas countries. While a transitional period will be in place until the end of 2016, the electronic system will be mandatory from the start of 2017.

Lifting of arms embargoes on Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia
Cyprus | 07 September 2016

The Cyprus Department of Merchant Shipping has announced that, following the lifting of the arms embargoes previously imposed by the United Nations and the European Union on Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia, it is taking steps to repeal the Prohibition Orders which implemented the embargoes. The restrictions set out relating to Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia have been rescinded with immediate effect.

Department of Merchant Shipping issues guidance on concentrated inspection campaigns
Cyprus | 31 August 2016

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued circulars to owners, bareboat charterers and managers of ships flying the Cyprus flag to draw their attention to concentrated inspection campaigns that will be carried out by maritime authorities. The department has urged owners, operators and managers to take the appropriate actions required to demonstrate compliance with the campaigns.

Changes to Seafarers' Identification and Sea Service Record Book
Cyprus | 06 July 2016

The Department of Merchant Shipping has announced a number of changes to the format of the Seafarers' Identification and Sea Service Record Book, which is issued to seafarers serving on board Cyprus-flagged ships. The most important of these is the removal of any reference to the seafarer's certificate of maritime competency to avoid misinterpretation during port state control inspections.

New law to enforce international sanctions
Cyprus | 15 June 2016

The Department of Merchant Shipping has issued a circular to owners, operators and managers of Cyprus ships informing them of the enactment of a new law that obliges every person or entity to comply with all sanctions or restrictive measures imposed by UN Security Council or EU resolutions. The law also imposes non-compliance penalties of up to two years' imprisonment or a fine of €100,000 for individuals and a fine of €300,000 for legal entities.

Amendments to port state control regime
Cyprus | 08 June 2016

The government recently amended the Merchant Shipping (Port State Control) Law and issued a revised Merchant Shipping (Port State Control) Notification. The changes incorporate the Maritime Labour Convention into the list of conventions whose implementation is checked by port state control. The authorities have also been advised to adopt the onshore seafarer complaint-handling procedures prescribed in the convention.

Implementation of EU directive on recreational craft and personal watercraft
Cyprus | 25 May 2016

The Department of Merchant Shipping has announced the implementation of EU Directive 2013/53/EC on recreational craft and personal watercraft, which replaced EU Directive 94/25/EU as amended from January 18 2016. The domestic harmonising regulations have been approved by the government law office and are expected to be placed before Parliament for approval this summer.

Reporting formalities for ships calling at Cyprus ports
Cyprus | 18 May 2016

The Department of Merchant Shipping has reissued its guidance to owners and operators of Cyprus-flagged ships and ships calling at ports in Cyprus regarding reporting procedures under the EU Reporting Formalities Directive and the Reporting Formalities for Ships Arriving or Departing from Ports of the Republic Law of 2012, which transposed the directive into domestic law.

Department of Merchant Shipping issues circular on trade restrictions
Cyprus | 11 May 2016

Following the adoption of restrictive measures against Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen and the issue of prohibition orders under the Cyprus Ships (Prohibition of Transportation) Laws, the Department of Merchant Shipping has revised its guidance to owners, operators and managers of Cyprus-flagged ships regarding trade restrictions with the countries concerned.

Department of Merchant Shipping circular on restrictions on dealings with Libya
Cyprus | 20 April 2016

The European Union recently adopted new legislative instruments concerning restrictive measures against Libya which consolidate and repeal previously issued EU instruments. The Department of Merchant Shipping has issued a new circular summarising the EU requirements, including a ban on Cyprus ships being used to procure or transport weapons, ammunition or similar goods to or from Libya.

Amending directive on marine equipment transposed into Cyprus law
Cyprus | 13 April 2016

The Department of Merchant Shipping has announced that EU Directive 2015/559/EC, amending EU Directive 96/98/EC on marine equipment, has been transposed into Cyprus law. Equipment can continue to be placed on the market and on board ships until April 30 2018 if it was manufactured in accordance with the procedures for type approval already in force before the adoption of the directive.

Funding of practical onboard training for cadet officers
Cyprus | 06 April 2016

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently announced the detailed conditions of the government-approved scheme to subsidise practical training on board ships for deck and engine cadet officers and the procedure for claiming reimbursement. Eligible employers include owners of Cyprus-flagged vessels, owners of foreign-flagged vessels and charterers or ship managers taxed under the Cyprus tonnage tax system.

Updated list of authorised private ship security contractors published
Cyprus | 23 March 2016

In light of the practical experience gained during its first three years of operation, the Department of Merchant Shipping recently reviewed the Protection of Cyprus Ships Against Acts of Piracy and Other Unlawful Acts Law. This process has been completed and a revised list of authorised private ship security contractors has been published on the department's website.

Salvage claims in Admiralty Court
Cyprus | 09 September 2015

In a recent decision the Cyprus Admiralty Court took the opportunity to reaffirm the main principles of the law on marine salvage. The court reiterated that for salvage to be earned, there must be an element of risk and salvage services must be rendered successfully, on a voluntary basis and for the salvage of property that could constitute a salvage reward, such as a ship or its cargo.

Carriage of passengers by sea
Cyprus | 07 January 2015

There are two principal EU legislative instruments that govern the carriage of passengers by sea. One provides a uniform regime of liability and insurance and the other safeguards passengers' rights when travelling by sea and inland waterway. In Cyprus, the Department of Merchant Shipping is the competent body designated to enforce the passenger rights regulation.

Cyprus re-elected to Council of International Maritime Organisation
Cyprus | 08 January 2014

​Cyprus was recently re-elected to the Council of the International Maritime Organisation, the body responsible for supervising and coordinating the organisation's work. Membership of the council is particularly beneficial, as it allows Cyprus to participate in the decision-making process affecting shipping and underlines the country's credentials as an international maritime power.

Tonnage tax declarations and due date for payment
Cyprus | 17 April 2013

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently announced that with effect from the 2012 tax year, all owners of foreign ships, charterers and ship managers participating in the tonnage tax system must submit a declaration in the prescribed form, together with their tonnage tax declaration. In addition, following the recent disruption to the banking sector, the department has extended certain payment deadlines.

Applying the EU Passenger Liability Regulation in Cyprus
Cyprus | 23 January 2013

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently announced how the EU Passenger Liability Regulation will be applied within Cyprus and to Cyprus-flagged ships. The regulation establishes a regime relating to liability and insurance for the carriage of passengers by sea, under which ships must be issued with a state certificate from their flag state confirming that insurance or other financial security is in force.

Department issues list of flags subject to tonnage tax surcharge
Cyprus | 28 November 2012

Under Cyprus law, qualifying non-Community ships will have their annual tonnage tax increased if the flag that they fly appears in either the so-called 'grey list' of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, or the equivalent blacklist. The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued lists of the flags included in the grey list and blacklist for the purposes of calculating tonnage tax for 2012.

Department clarifies application of tonnage tax system
Cyprus | 24 October 2012

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued two circulars clarifying the application of the tonnage tax system under the Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law. The first confirms that owners of yachts and pleasure craft are not required to file tax returns. The second deals with the circumstances under which shipping companies can be released from the obligation to submit income tax returns.

Law on compliance with flag state requirements enters into force
Cyprus | 05 September 2012

The Merchant Shipping (Compliance with Flag State Requirements) Law recently entered into force, following publication in the Official Gazette. The law sets out the obligations of Cyprus as a flag state, which must be discharged in an effective and consistent manner with other EU member states, and aims to enhance safety and prevent pollution from ships flying the Cyprus flag.

Obligations of foreign vessels under port state control regime
Cyprus | 22 August 2012

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a circular reminding operators, representatives and masters of foreign vessels calling at Cyprus ports of their obligations under the Merchant Shipping (Community Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System) Law 2004, as amended, and the Merchant Shipping (Port State Control) Law 2011. The circular detailed procedures and applicable fines for non-compliance.

Anti-piracy law enters into force
Cyprus | 11 July 2012

The Protection of Cyprus Ships against Acts of Piracy and Other Unlawful Acts Law 2012 has entered into force following publication in the Official Gazette. The scope of the law extends beyond acts and attempts of piracy and purports to address all unlawful acts against a ship or attempts to violate its security.

Draft law on protection of Cyprus ships from acts of piracy
Cyprus | 13 June 2012

New legislation on the measures to be taken to protect Cyprus ships from acts of piracy and other illegal acts is passing through Parliament. The draft law affirms the general principle that necessary measures must be taken for the safety of ships and the prevention of illegal acts, and deals with compensation for damage resulting from the fault or negligence of servants of private security contractors onboard Cyprus ships.

Clarification of tax returns to be submitted by Cyprus shipowners
Cyprus | 06 June 2012

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a circular clarifying the tax returns that must be submitted by companies that own or are bareboat charterers of Cyprus ships. Registered owners and bareboat charterers of Cyprus ships that earn no income from a non-qualifying activity, but confine their activities to the operation of the Cyprus ships in maritime transport, need not complete an income tax return.

Notifications under the Tonnage Tax Law
Cyprus | 16 May 2012

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued two new notifications under the Tonnage Tax Law. The Taxation of Owners of Cyprus Ships Notification regulates the participation of qualifying owners of Cyprus ships in the tonnage tax system. The Tonnage Tax (Arm's-Length Principles) Notification regulates transactions between connected persons where one party is subject to tonnage tax and the other is not.

Government publishes new ship registration policy
Cyprus | 09 May 2012

The Department of Merchant Shipping has published details of the amended government policy on ship registration under the Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships, Sales and Mortgages) Laws. The interpretation of the policy and the determination of the age and type of ship for the purposes of applying the policy are the exclusive prerogative of the director of the department and the registrar of Cyprus ships.

New law on community vessel traffic monitoring in force
Cyprus | 25 April 2012

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently announced that the Merchant Shipping (Community Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System) Order 2012 had entered into force. The order replaces the provisions on mandatory on-board equipment and measures to ensure maritime safety with the latest versions introduced by the new EU Directive 2011/15/EC.

Law on shipowners' insurance for maritime claims enters into force
Cyprus | 18 April 2012

The Merchant Shipping (Shipowners' Insurance for Maritime Claims) Law, which transposes EU Directive 2009/20/EC into national law, recently entered into force. The law requires owners of ships with gross tonnage equal to or more than 300 gross tonnes that fly the Cyprus flag, call at Cyprus ports or operate within Cyprus's territorial waters to have specific insurance for maritime claims subject to limitation.

Department issues new forms for tonnage tax on shipping activities
Cyprus | 29 February 2012

The Department of Merchant Shipping has issued revised versions of the forms for the declaration of owners of Cyprus ships, for the purposes of the tonnage tax on shipping activities. Owners of ships listed in the Register of Cyprus Ships must complete the appropriate form and submit a hard copy to the department by no later than March 31 2012.

Amendments announced to Cyprus-Italy agreement on maritime navigation
Cyprus | 01 February 2012

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently announced that the 2004 agreement between Cyprus and Italy on maritime navigation has been amended by an exchange of notes between the two countries. Under the amended agreement, each contracting party must treat ships of the other contracting party that call at its ports as favourably as its own ships.

European directive on maritime insurance: harmonisation measures
Cyprus | 14 December 2011

The Department of Merchant Shipping has issued a circular to owners and operators of Cyprus-registered ships reminding them that EU Directive 2009/20/EC requires owners of all types of ship of 300 gross tonnes or above to have insurance cover against maritime claims. The directive applies to ships flying the flag of an EU or European Economic Area member state.

New merchant shipping law regulates classification powers
Cyprus | 07 December 2011

The new Merchant Shipping (Recognition and Authorisation of Organisations) Law transposes into Cyprus law the EU Directive on Common Rules and Standards for Ship Inspection and Survey Organisations and for the Relevant Activities of Maritime Administrations. An order issued under Section 2 of the new law lists the relevant international conventions for the purpose of the law.

Department amends list of countries accepted under STCW Convention
Cyprus | 12 October 2011

The Department of Merchant Shipping has recently issued an updated list of countries whose certificates of competency are recognised by Cyprus under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978, as amended. The only change from the previous list is that Morocco is no longer under evaluation by the European Commission for accession to the convention.

Recent legislative changes transpose EU directives into Cyprus law
Cyprus | 17 August 2011

The Department of Merchant Shipping has announced a number of legislative changes in order to update Cyprus law in line with the latest EU directives. The new laws transpose EU directives on safety rules and standards for passenger ships, marine equipment and port state control into Cyprus law.

New circular clarifies ring fencing provisions of Tonnage Tax Law
Cyprus | 13 July 2011

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a circular drawing attention to the ring fencing provisions of the Tonnage Tax Law. These provisions forbid the transfer of income or expenses between affiliated persons engaged in activities subject to tonnage tax and income tax, to ensure that only profits from qualifying activities are subject to tonnage tax.

Digital publications now authorised aboard Cyprus flag ships
Cyprus | 08 June 2011

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently notified its decision to authorise the use of nautical publications (eg, sailing directions, lists of lights, notices to mariners, tide tables and other publications necessary for their intended voyage) in digital format aboard Cyprus flag ships, and to accept such publications as meeting the requirements specified in SOLAS Regulation V/27.

New regulation governs passage of ships through Cyprus territorial waters
Cyprus | 01 June 2011

The passage of vessels through Cyprus territorial waters has been regulated by new legislation which recently entered into force. The law defines the circumstances in which Cyprus may exercise its criminal or civil jurisdiction in relation to ships passing through the territorial sea and persons aboard them.

Updated list of countries with recognised certificates of competency
Cyprus | 25 May 2011

The Department of Merchant Shipping has issued an updated list of countries whose certificates of competency are accepted for the issue of endorsements recognising non-Cyprus certificates of competency under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978 (as amended).

Department sets deadline for applications to 2011 tonnage tax scheme
Cyprus | 04 May 2011

The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a circular regarding the introduction of tonnage tax. Early action is required in order not to miss the deadline for submission of the necessary application. Qualifying Cyprus tax-resident owners of foreign ships, charterers and ship managers may opt to be taxed under the tonnage tax scheme in respect of any particular fiscal year.

Cyprus-Israel agreement on merchant shipping enters into effect
Cyprus | 06 April 2011

The bilateral agreement between Cyprus and Israel on merchant shipping has entered into effect. Among other things, the agreement commits both countries to adopt, within the limits of their respective laws and regulations, all appropriate measures to reduce unnecessary delays to vessels in their ports and to simplify the performance of administrative, customs and sanitary formalities as far as possible.

The Cyprus Tonnage Tax Law – guidance on vessels registered in Germany
Cyprus | 23 March 2011

The Cyprus Department of Merchant Shipping has announced that further to its Circular 42/2010 dealing with the definition of a 'Community ship' for the purposes of the Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law, it considers that the requirements and provisions with respect to the fiscal obligations of vessels registered in Germany are similar to those of the corresponding Cyprus legislation.

The Cyprus Tonnage Tax Law - guidance on definition of 'Community ships'
Cyprus | 26 January 2011

The Cyprus Department of Merchant Shipping has issued further guidance on its interpretation of the term 'Community ship' for the purposes of the Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law 2010. According to Section 2 of the law, a Community ship is a ship registered in a member state which flies the flag of a member state in accordance with its legislation.

New opportunities for shipping under new tax measures
Cyprus | 03 November 2010

Earlier this year, Cyprus implemented a new tonnage tax system which is available to shipowners, charterers and ship managers which own, charter or manage a qualifying ship engaged in a qualifying shipping activity. The pre-approval by the European Commission of this system, as well as the double taxation agreement between Cyprus and China, introduce a unique degree of certainty for shipping investors.

Adoption of new international codes on marine accident investigation
Cyprus | 18 August 2010

The Cyprus Department of Merchant Shipping has announced changes to the legislative framework for investigating marine accidents. The International Codes on Marine Accident Investigation Decision of 2010, issued under Section 4 of the Convention on the International Maritime Organisation (Ratification) and for Matters Connected Therewith Laws 1973 to 1996, approves two International Maritime Organisation codes.

New Liner Consortia Block Exemption Regulation comes into force
European Union | 11 August 2010

The new EU Liner Consortia Block Exemption Regulation recently came into force. This regulation applies to consortia only in respect of international liner shipping services to or from one or more EU ports. Provided that no hardcore restrictions exist, and that the conditions stipulated are satisfied, the regulation provides certain exemptions.

Cyprus's new shipping tax regime
Cyprus | 23 June 2010

The Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law was recently enacted and has retroactive effect from January 1 2010. The new law marks a significant triumph for the Cyprus shipping authorities, which have secured EU approval on state aid for an updated tonnage tax regime that will secure Cyprus's continued competiveness in shipping until 2019.

Supreme Court rules on issue of international arbitration and ship arrests
Cyprus | 19 May 2010

In a recent case the admiralty division of the Supreme Court held that a vessel cannot be arrested as security for a potential future award in London arbitration proceedings. Basing its decision on an English Court of Appeal decision, the court concluded that the Cyprus Admiralty Court did not have jurisdiction "since the request of the plaintiff [was] for security in connection to the result of an arbitration procedure".