Shipping is one of the most important sectors of the Cyprus economy. Furthermore, Cyprus is a significant international shipping hub. Specifically, Cyprus is the third largest maritime fleet in the EU and the tenth largest fleet worldwide.
The ideal geographical location of Cyprus together with the significant tax incentives render the island a market leader in ship management activities. As a consequence, admiralty litigation in Cyprus has increased significantly. Precisely, admiralty law refers to the jurisdiction of a discrete body of law to hear certain kinds of cases, arising from maritime activities taking place in international waters.
The main matters regulated by admiralty law concern:
- shipping and boating;
- maritime insurance matters;
- collisions at sea;
- payment of wages to sailors;
- transportation of passengers or cargo;
- salvage claims;
- maritime pollution;
The most prominent action held by admiralty litigation is the issue of a maritime lien against a vessel. A maritime lien enables the court or its appointees to arrest and seize the vessel in satisfaction of the claims against it. Note that a maritime lien is autonomous from the vessel’s ownership and binds the vessel whether sailing or in a port.
Different jurisdictions recognise different kinds of maritime liens. The main categories of claims in respect of which Cyprus Law recognises maritime liens are:
- Sailors’ wages;
- Master’s wages;
- Disbursements and liabilities
- Damage done by a vessel;
Priority among various claims:
Basically, any claim brought on the basis of a maritime lien is always secured. Note that there might be brought several claims against the same vessel. The proceeds of a judicial sale of a vessel are not shared equally between all privileged claimant due to a priority in the ranking of maritime liens and other claims.
According to the Cyprus law, maritime claims are ranked in the following order:
- Marshal’s expenses.
- Salvor’s Lien.
- Damage done by a vessel.
- Master’s and sailors’ wages.
- Bottomry, such as the use of a vessel as security against a loan to finance a trip.
The legal team of Michael Chambers & Co. LLC is able to advise on all aspects of admiralty litigation. Among others, our Cyprus lawyers may guide you all the way to succeed in your claims effectively and efficiently. If you wish to consult one of our shipping and admiralty lawyers, in absolute confidence, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org