Language of Supporting Documentation
Cypriot legislation provides that all documents which refer to Cypriot ships (i.e. including documents for their registration) are admissible provided that they are drawn up in a language comprehensible to the competent officers under the law for their acceptance. Such provision makes the registration of vessels faster and saves on translation expenses. In practice, most of the documents are admissible in the English language.
Vessel Registration and Age Limit
As of 1 January 2000, vessels of any size and type having an age not exceeding 15 years, (except fishing vessels,) may be registered in the Cyprus Register of Ships as long as they comply with the provisions contained in the merchant shipping legislation and the circulars of the Department of Merchant Shipping.
Vessels over 15 years of age, (including fishing vessels,) may be registered in the Cyprus Register of Ships under additional conditions, which must be fulfilled concurrently with the submission of the application for registration and must be complied with at all times while the vessel remains registered, irrespective of any subsequent transfer of ownership.
The owner/bareboat charterer of a vessel registered under the Cyprus flag, automatically undertakes (whenever the Department of Merchant Shipping deems necessary) to have the vessel inspected by its own surveyors as a result of identified deficiencies or an alleged serious violation of international conventions.
The owner/bareboat charterer is required to submit the vessel for inspection, at his expense, for the Department to determine whether the vessel meets the applicable statutory requirements.
The age of a vessel is calculated by deducting the year when its keel was laid from the year when the application for registration of the vessel was filed with the Registrar of Cyprus Ships. The year of conversion or modification or major reconstruction and the year of completion or delivery of a vessel, are considered irrelevant and will be ignored.
Cargo Vessels with Gross Tonnage of 1000 and over, Ocean Going Tug Boats with Gross Tonnage of over 500 and Mobile Offshore Drilling Units.
Over 15 years but not exceeding 17 years of age.
A vessel in this category may be registered provided it passes a special inspection.
Over 17 years but not exceeding 20 years of age.
A vessel in this category may be registered provided:
In both cases, whenever the vessel is engaged in regular service which includes at least two calls per month to a Cypriot port, at least 25 percent of its crew should be Cypriot, unless a confirmation is given by the Limassol District Labour Office that no Cypriot seamen are available, and at least 1 Cypriot student or graduate of a Marine Officer's School, if available, is engaged for sea training for a period of up to 6 months.
Fishing Vessels, Fish Factory Vessels
There are detailed requirements for the registration of fishing and fish factory vessels of any age covering ownership, safety, fishing activities and hygiene.
Auxiliary Vessels and Pleasure Craft
Vessels up to 25 years of age may be registered without any additional conditions.
Vessels over 25 years of age may be registered provided they belong beneficially to residents of Cyprus and their management and operations are controlled from Cyprus.
Applications for registration must be accompanied by all relevant documentary evidence attesting compliance with the various conditions which need to be fulfilled at the time of the provisional registration (or the directly permanent registration, as the case may be.)
Residents of Cyprus, for the purposes of this policy, include:
- Cypriot citizens and
- Persons who have had their ordinary residence in Cyprus for the last 12 months, have been issued with a work permit and are liable to Cyprus income tax.
The special inspection is carried out by the surveyors of the Department of Merchant Shipping at the expense of the ship owner.
The inspection of a ship/s acquired by a person qualified to own a Cyprus ship should be carried out before the provisional or directly permanent registration of the vessel. If this is not practically feasible, it should be conducted within 3 months of the date of provisional or parallel-in registration, or within one month from the date of permanent registration, if effected directly.
Management and Operation of a Vessel
The management and operation of a vessel is evidenced by the Joint Declaration on the Operation of a Ship (form ISM.01).
A vessel is considered as managed and operated by a ship management company if that company holds, or is to be issued by or on behalf of the Cypriot Government with a valid, Document of Compliance (DoC) or Interim DoC and the vessel is to be issued with a Safety Management Certificate (SMC) or Interim SMC by or on behalf of the Cypriot Government, indicating that it is operated by the company in question.
In addition, the operation and management of a vessel by a Cyprus ship management company is proved if it qualifies for reduction of the tonnage tax in accordance with the provisions of section 8(3)(b) of the Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Laws, 1992 - 2003.
The management requirement is deemed to be satisfied if the company concerned has a satisfactory safety record. A company is not considered to have a satisfactory record if during the last 24 months, the percentage of justified detentions recorded by the Department exceeded 30 percent.
Companies operating outside Cyprus must have at least 2 ships under their management.
Request for Assessment and Certification in accordance with the provisions of SOLAS 74 and the ISM Code
The entry into force of Chapter IX of SOLAS 74 , as from 1 July 2002, made the International Safety Management Code (ISM Code) mandatory for all vessels, irrespective of type, of 500 gross tonnage and upwards.
The management companies must hold a valid Document of Compliance (DoC) and each vessel should be provided with a valid Safety Management Certificate (SMC).
Cyprus has already enacted the necessary legislation (Law No. 10(III) of 2001)(Gazette No. 3489, Supplement 1 dated 12 April 2001) and the Minister of Communications and Works has already issued the relevant instruments of authorization to a number of classification societies enabling them to act on behalf of the Republic and to issue DoCs and SMCs.
The Department of Merchant Shipping has issued a Guidance Note, which is attached to Circular 7/98. This Note contains, among other things, the:
(1) notification procedure to be followed by the owner of each Cyprus ship in order to identify to the Department the company (as defined in Regulation IX/1.2 of Chapter IX) to which he has entrusted the operation of his vessel;
(2) additional requirements on matters to be addressed by the Safety Management System (SMS);
(3) authorized organizations which the owner or the company may engage for the purpose of verification and certification of the SMS together with a number of restrictions and limitations imposed on the extent and scope of the authority delegated to them;
(4) mandatory rules and regulations which, as a minimum, must be addressed by the SMS.
Inspectors of Cyprus Ships
The Government of the Republic of Cyprus is presently implementing the establishment of a global network of inspectors of Cyprus ships. The aim of the programme is the verification and enforcement of compliance of Cyprus ships with the applicable provisions of the national and international maritime legislation relating to safety, pollution prevention and the living and working conditions on board Cyprus ships.
Several inspectors have so far been authourised to perform the aforementioned inspections, while new appointments have been scheduled for the near future. The objective is to increase the number of inspectors to cover all major ports of the world. These flag state inspections are carried out at no cost to the ship owners.
Inspectors have already been appointed at the following ports:
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