Latest updates

Tonnage tax – maintenance of prescribed levels of community-flagged vessels
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
  • Cyprus
  • January 17 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.

Protection under letters of indemnity
  • International
  • January 17 2018

The commercial practice of delivering cargo to a recipient against a charterers' letter of indemnity without the production of bills of lading has long been commonplace in the shipping industry. The split of the delivery process into two stages can cause issues for owners that rely on the standard letter of indemnity wording, which refers only to the delivery of cargo and not its discharge. Given this risk, it is sensible for shipowners to ensure that discharge is explicitly covered in any letters of indemnity issued in their favour.

Increase in maximum number of firearms permitted under anti-piracy law
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
  • Cyprus
  • January 10 2018

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.

Barecon 2017 – broad-brush revision of widely used form
  • International
  • January 10 2018

The Baltic and International Maritime Council recently released Barecon 2017, which represents an important update of one of the most commonly used maritime contracts. While several new features have been included, the basic structure of the form remains the same. However, several of the simplifications, clarifications and other updates should make the form easier to use in conjunction with rider clauses crafted for a specific transaction.

Owners' lien on cargo
Wikborg Rein
  • United Kingdom
  • January 10 2018

The English High Court recently confirmed when it will order the sale of liened cargo which is the subject of arbitration proceedings. This decision may be of interest to shipowners that are faced with a situation in which cargo belonging to a charterer remains on board a vessel for a long period without the owners receiving hire, while still incurring operating costs.

Danish shipping register to become more competitive for non-EU and non-EEA merchant shipowners
Windahl Sandroos & Co
  • Denmark
  • January 10 2018

A bill to amend the Danish regulations on the registration of ships under Section 2 of the Merchant Shipping Act was recently passed with the aim of attracting non-EU and non-EEA merchant shipowners and shipping and management companies to the Danish flag. The bill's main innovations include an increasingly transparent activity requirement, multiple ways of satisfying this requirement and an equal establishment requirement that applies to EU and non-EU shipowners.

New Flamenco – Supreme Court dances in different direction
Wikborg Rein
  • United Kingdom
  • January 03 2018

A recent Court of Appeal decision overturned the High Court judgment against the time charterers of a ship, reinstating the arbitration award in their favour. The decision has added another reason for delaying a final assessment of the loss of profit on a repudiated long-term charter by waiting to see whether the owners will sell the vessel.

Management of foreign-owned ships on NIS
Wikborg Rein
  • Norway
  • January 03 2018

In some transactions, a non-Norwegian company may wish to register its ship with the Norwegian International Ship Register. This can be done only if the ship is managed by a shipping company that has its head office in Norway. This requirement has a bearing on the contractual structures and financing schemes that can be put in place and also raises issues concerning enforcement.

Automated driving: positive climate impact and recent efforts
  • Austria
  • December 20 2017

The Paris Agreement sets the ambitious goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of the 21st century. Therefore, worldwide traffic and transport must change. Despite these objectives, people tend to overlook the fact that automated driving is not only innovative and comfortable, but may also have an important impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in future.

New Cyprus-India agreement on merchant shipping
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
  • Cyprus
  • December 20 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.

Carrier liable for cargo damage due to flooding of refrigerated container during voyage
Windahl Sandroos & Co
  • Denmark
  • December 20 2017

The Maritime and Commercial Court recently found that bad weather during sea carriage that results in cargo damage does not exempt a carrier from liability if the weather conditions were forecast or not unusual in the geographical location in question during the relevant season. However, the judgment provides no guidance on the liability issues that arise if the prevailing weather conditions render it impossible to conduct repairs of defects that occur in a container being carried at sea.

Training subsidy scheme amendments
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
  • Cyprus
  • December 13 2017

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.

Nautica e Fisco booklet sets legal and fiscal developments in nautical industry
Dardani Studio Legale
  • Italy
  • December 13 2017

The most recent edition of the Nautica e Fisco booklet issued by the Nautical Association Industry and the Revenue Agency covers legal and fiscal developments in the nautical industry, including issues from registration to customs and fiscal matters. In particular, the booklet provides guidelines on exporting a yacht from Italy, value added tax exemptions for the use of yachts in the high seas and the temporary importation regime and refitting services.

Maritime attachment permissible to obtain security for foreign arbitration, but only as adjunct to obtaining jurisdiction
Fowler Rodriguez
  • USA
  • December 06 2017

The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently reinforced the availability of a maritime attachment as a means of obtaining security for a foreign arbitration. However, in so doing, the court highlighted that a maritime attachment must include an element of obtaining jurisdiction and may not be used solely to obtain security from a party already subject to the court's jurisdiction.

Helsinki Appeal Court on carrier's liability for loss of pharmaceuticals
HPP Attorneys Ltd
  • Finland
  • December 06 2017

Correct temperature is vital to maintaining the feasibility and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals throughout their lifecycle, including during carriage. Although various guidelines have been issued and express provisions have been included in transport agreements to maintain the cold chain, damage often occurs. The Helsinki Appeal Court recently considered whether the level of a carrier's liability should be agreed in advance and whether failure to maintain an agreed temperature should constitute gross negligence.

Starting point of carrier's period of responsibility for goods packed in containers
Dabelstein & Passehl
  • Germany
  • December 06 2017

The Higher Regional Court of Hamburg recently clarified the fact that goods having been packed in a container made available to a shipper by a carrier on a decoupled trailer belonging to the carrier is insufficient grounds for the carrier to have accepted the goods for carriage. The court set out the prerequisites for a carrier's acceptance of goods under Section 425 of the Commercial Code, as established in case law.

Maritime and Commercial High Court interprets definition of 'visible damage'
Windahl Sandroos & Co
  • Denmark
  • November 29 2017

A recent Maritime and Commercial High Court decision concerning the carriage of a consignment of different types of medical product found that smoke contamination constituted visible damage under the Carriage of Goods by Road Act. The decision underlines the importance of inserting reservations into waybills when a consignee has reasonable grounds for doing so and illustrates the dire consequences of failing to do so.

Superior Court of Justice recognises validity of foreign ship mortgages
Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados
  • Brazil
  • November 29 2017

The Superior Court of Justice has reversed previous Sao Paulo State Court rulings and recognised the validity of foreign ship mortgages in Brazil. Respecting the acts of sovereignty of countries where vessels are registered, the court highlighted the economic importance of acknowledging ship mortgages of foreign states and emphasised that large vessels must be registered in their flag states and that these registrations have extraterritorial effects.

Tonnage tax: countries whose ships are subject to surcharge
Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
  • Cyprus
  • November 22 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.

Maritime security – who's in charge?
Akabogu & Associates
  • Nigeria
  • November 22 2017

There appears to be some level of cooperation across the relevant agencies in Nigeria in ensuring that the country's waters are kept safe. However, the lines are blurred with regard to the delineation of these agencies' maritime security functions. As several international instruments to which Nigeria is legally bound call for the preservation of maritime security, it is imperative to understand which agencies should be held accountable for protecting its waters.

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