Cyprus is a leading ship management centre. Specifically, Cyprus is the third biggest maritime fleet in the EU and the tenth biggest fleet in the world. The strategic location of Cyprus, between Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the double tax treaties with more than 50 countries, as well as the relatively low set-up and operating costs for companies, urge ship owners to register their vessels and incorporate shipping companies in Cyprus. Therefore, ship security is a highly important issue that needs to be taken into consideration.
Nowadays, among the main concerns of ship owners is to protect their vessels from piracy and other unlawful acts, such as seizure of vessels and detention of sailors under inhuman conditions. The Protection of Cyprus Ships Against Acts of Piracy and Other Unlawful Acts Law 2012 (77(I)/2012) reinforces maritime security and combats piracy on the high seas, principally with the provision of certified armed guards on the merchant vessel flying the Cyprus flag.
Ship security companies provide security related services to vessels. However, a company may provide ship security services to vessels flying the Cyprus flag only if the company and its personnel are vetted by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.
Application procedure for private ship security companies:
Under Section 20 of the Law, any company that wishes to provide ship security services must submit to the Competent Authority an application for issue of a certificate stating that the company is permitted to implement security measures on ships using the private ship security guards it employs.
The Competent Authority has the power to issue the certificate referred to in the provisions of Law 77(I)/2012 to a company constituted or registered as a legal person:
- according to the laws of the Republic of Cyprus and has its registered office in Cyprus;
- according to the laws of any other EU member-state and has its registered office, central administration or principal place of business activities in an EU member-state, provided that it establishes and undertakes to maintain, for the duration of the validity of the certificate, an authorised representative in Cyprus;
- according to the laws of any other state, subject to the Minister’s permission, provided that it establishes and undertakes to maintain, for the duration of the validity of the certificate, an authorised representative in Cyprus;
The application for the issue of the certificate is submitted by the company or by its authorised representative in the official language of the Republic of Cyprus, or in a language understood by the Competent Authority and must include all the necessary details.
The information to be included in the application and the documents which are required to be submitted with the application are:
- The name and address of the applicant;
- The certificate of incorporation of the company;
- The certificate of the registered office of the company;
- The company Shareholder/ Partner certificate;
- The certificate of Director and Secretary of the company;
- The name, surname, nationality, identity card or passport number, work telephone number, usual residence address and a CV of the Directors (or partners, in case of partnership) and the Secretary of the company;
- The name, surname, nationality, ID card or passport number, phone number, usual residence address and a CV of the person responsible for the company;
- The address of the office(s) from where the company is carrying out its business operations, the office hours, the phone number, the fax number and email address;
- The name, surname, nationality, ID card or passport number, the title and the job description of all people that are employed by the company;
- The name, surname, nationality, ID card or passport number and a CV for each of the private ship guards employed by the company;
- A description of the company activities and an organisational chart showing the organisational and administrative structure of the company;
- The description of the services the company provides or intends to provide in relation to the provisions of the Law;
- A detailed description of the firearms and/or special security equipment that might be used;
- A declaration of the applicant or of the company that all company directors, shareholders, personnel etc. do not fall within the provision of section 20 (3)(a) of Law 77(I)/2012;
- A declaration of the applicant that the company has lawfully acquired and lawfully possesses the firearms and/or any other special security equipment;
- A declaration of the applicant or of the company that the company undertakes the responsibility to remunerate the persons on board the ship and the ship’s operator for damages that might be caused by the private ship security guards or any other person employed by the ship security company;
- A declaration of the applicant or of the company that the private ship guards mentioned in point 10, have a valid employment contract with the company and that are adequately trained for the use, storage, transport and safekeeping of the weapons and/or specialised security equipment that might be used;
- A declaration of the applicant or of the company that the company will assume responsibility for the health care and the repatriation of private ship security guards and of the other persons employed by the company;
- A declaration of the applicant or of the company that the company will comply with the provisions of the Law and the rules set out by the Competent Authority;
- A declaration from each of the Directors, managers, company Secretary, officers, security guards and other personnel that they will comply with the provisions of Law 77(I)/2012 and rules set out by the Competent Authority;
- In cases specified in sections 20(2)(b) and 20(2)(c) of Law 77(I)/2012, a letter of appointment of the authorised representative and a declaration by him/her that he/she does not fall within the provisions of section 20(2)(a) of Law 77(I)/2012;
Approval and Issue of the Relevant Certificate:
Once the Competent Authority is satisfied that the information included in the application together with the relevant data is appropriate, it will proceed with the issuance of a certificate stating that the company is allowed to provide ship security services to vessels flying the Cyprus flag.
Under Section 23 of the Law, the authorised representative can be:
- A citizen of the Republic of Cyprus or a national of another Member State who is resident of the Republic within the scope of the Income Tax Laws of 2002 to Law (No.2) of 2011; or
- A partnership established and registered according to the provisions of the Partnerships and Business Names Law, Cap. 116 and Laws of 1997 to 2011 having its place of business in Cyprus and which employs permanent personnel in Cyprus; or
- A corporation, incorporated and registered according to the provisions of the Companies Law, Cap.113 and Laws of 1968 to 2011 having its place of business operations in Cyprus and which employs permanent personnel in Cyprus;
The department of maritime law of Michael Chambers & Co. LLC may provide you with the necessary legal and administrative support on all the matters related to maritime security and licensing of private ship security companies. Among others, our team may prepare and submit the application, as well as, obtain the relevant certificate on your behalf. If you wish to speak to one of our Cyprus lawyers, then please contact us: [email protected]
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