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23 May 2018
Cyprus has ratified the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments 2004 (the BWM Convention).(1) The law ratifying and implementing the convention took effect on its publication in the Official Gazette on May 4 2018. The BWM Convention entered into force on September 8 2017 and covers more than three-quarters of the world's merchant shipping tonnage. Its objective is to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment –especially the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one region to another – and the consequential damage to health and natural resources. To meet this objective, the convention establishes standards and procedures for the management and control of ships' ballast water and sediments.
The ratification law's key provisions include:
The law applies to:
The Deputy Ministry of Shipping (DMS) and the port authorities must ensure that ports and terminals in Cyprus where the cleaning or repair of ballast tanks takes place are equipped with adequate facilities for the reception of sediments, considering International Maritime Organisation guidelines. These reception facilities must:
Generally, the DMS is responsible for controlling and monitoring compliance with the BWM Convention and appoints surveyors for this purpose. It is responsible for the inspection of ships under the Cyprus flag to determine whether they comply with the convention and for:
In the event of an infringement of the law or the BWM Convention by a Cyprus-flagged ship, or if a breach is identified following an inspection of a Cyprus-flagged ship, the DMS may detain the ship until the matter is remedied. In the event of infringement by foreign ships, the DMS may:
A violation of the law, any regulations issued under it or the BWM Convention is a criminal offence punishable by up to four years' imprisonment, a fine of up to €50,000 or both. The captain of an infringing vessel may also be subject to an administrative fine of up to €30,000 secured by a first-priority lien on the vessel.
For further information on this topic please contact Yiota Georgiou at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC by telephone (+357 25 110 100) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Elias Neocleous & Co LLC website can be accessed at www.neo.law.
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