Shipping is among the most important sectors of the Cyprus economy. In addition, Cyprus is one of the biggest fleets in the EU and internationally. The geographic location of Cyprus, the double tax treaties with 45 countries and the relatively low set up and operating costs urge ship owners to register their vessels and shipping companies in Cyprus. As a result, maritime security for ships flying the Cyprus flag is a vital issue. Michael Chamber has already explained the most important aspects of maritime security that should be taken into consideration in his article “Maritime security for ships flying the Cyprus flag”
The shipping team of Michael Chambers & Co. LLC would like to inform you that the Protection of Cyprus Ships Against Acts of Piracy and Other Unlawful Acts Law 2012 (N. 77(I)/2012) has been amended. The recent amendment considers the services provided by Private Ship Security Companies to vessels flying the Cyprus flag. The new law entered into force on the 1st of January 2016. According to the Circular No. 1/2016, issued by the Department of Merchant Shipping, the new law regulates the number of private security guards and firearms a Private Ship Security Company may register on its Cyprus certificate.
The provisions of the new regulation:
Michael Chambers and his team would like to inform you that according to the provisions of the new regulation:
- The number of firearms must be proportional to the number of guards at 2:1 ratio. That is to say, each private ship security guard may process up to two firearms and vice-versa.
- The maximum number of firearms a Private Ship Security Company may register on its Cyprus certificate cannot be more than four hundred (400).
- The certificate of a Private Ship Security Company can be withdrawn in case the company does not offer any service to a vessel flying the Cyprus flag for a continuous period of one year.
Obligation to comply with the Law:
Michael Chambers and his team would like to stress that in consonance with section 88, each natural or legal person upon whom the Law imposes an obligation must comply with the provisions of the Law. In this point, the shipping team of Michael Chambers & Co. LLC stresses that a failure to comply with the provisions of the Law and any instructions related to the implementation of the Law, may have one of the following consequences:
- Withdrawal of the Certificate following the provisions of section 36, and/or;
- Sentence of imprisonment up to two years and/or a fine up to €20.000.
As a result, the legal team of Michael Chambers & Co. LLC urge all the Private Ship Security Companies to comply with the Law and any related instructions or measures announced by the Department of Merchant Shipping or any other authority.
Increase/decrease the number of private security guards or firearms:
The shipping team of Michael Chambers & Co. LLC would like to clarify that Private Ship Security Companies that have more than four hundred firearms registered on their certificates must submit an application to the Department of Merchant Shipping immediately. The Department of Merchant Shipping will charge no fees for the deletion of the additional firearms. In case a Private Ship Security Company has more firearms registered on its certificate than it is allowed by the ratio two firearms per guard, then the company is obliged to submit an application to the Department of Merchant Shipping either for increasing the number of private ship security guards or for decreasing the number of firearms, in accordance with the aforementioned ratio. It should be pointed out that in case the Private Ship Security Company would like to increase the number of guards then the company is obliged to pay the relevant fee.
The shipping team of Michael Chambers & Co. LLC may provide you the necessary information on all the matters related to maritime security and ship management. Ship owners should take into consideration all the aspects related to ship security. Consequently, a professional legal support and guidance are necessary. The lawyers of Michael Chambers & Co. LLC may provide you all the necessary support you might need. In case you would like to speak to one of our lawyers, then please contact us: [email protected]
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