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.
Cyprus recently ratified the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.