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.
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.
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.
The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a reminder to registered owners, bareboat charterers, managers and representatives of Cyprus-flagged ships regarding the renewal of civil liability certificates. The expiry date for most existing certificates is February 20 2018 and there has been an unprecedented delay in the submission of renewal applications. The department therefore urges parties that require a renewal to apply without further delay.
The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a notification to owners, bareboat charterers, managers and representatives of Cyprus-flagged and foreign-flagged vessels visiting ports in Cyprus. The amendments concern the mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualification of masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on passenger ships and masters and deck officers on ships operating in polar waters.
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.
On the basis of experience gained since the implementation of the Protection of Cyprus Ships Against Acts of Piracy and Other Unlawful Acts Law, the Department of Merchant Shipping has increased the maximum number of firearms that approved private ship security contractors are entitled to register from 400 to 600. However, there has been no change to the ratio of two firearms per guard; the change will therefore affect only contractors with more than 200 guards.
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.
Since November 2015 the government has subsidised practical training on board ships for deck and engine cadet officers. The Department of Merchant Shipping recently announced changes to this scheme and the procedure for claiming reimbursement. The scheme has now been extended to cover vessels managed by companies located in other EU member states and a new requirement of at least 750 kilowatts of propulsion power has been introduced.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued an updated list of medical practitioners authorised to carry out examinations and issue certificates under Article 12 of the Merchant Shipping (Medical Examination of Seafarers and Issue of Certificates) Laws 2000 and 2014 and the Merchant Shipping (Medical Examination of Seafarers and Issue of Certificates) (List of Approved Doctors) Notification 2017.