Cyprus is the third biggest maritime fleet in the EU and the tenth biggest fleet in the world. Generally speaking, Cyprus is a strategic market leader for many reasons. Firstly, it is located at the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Asian countries and Africa. Secondly, Cyprus provides double tax treaties with 45 countries and bilateral agreements of cooperation in merchant shipping with 23 countries. Thirdly, the low set up and operating costs for companies and liberal foreign direct expenditure regime. Finally, the VAT exemption for international transport services in the event that the effective use and enjoyment of the services take place outside the EUROPEAN.
Since Cyprus is a market head in ship management, maritime security and safety is a highly important issue. This particular issue has been extensively addressed by the Protection of Cyprus Ships Against Functions of Piracy and Other Unlawful Acts Law 2012, published in the Official Gazette on 15th June 2012. The law denotes a new era within protection for ships flying the particular Cyprus flag against security dangers. Furthermore, the law reinforces maritime protection and is based on advice and plans of the International Maritime Organisation.
The Department of Merchant Shipping (DMS) has issued detailed instructions regarding maritime security regarding ships traveling the Cyprus flag.
Piracy plus Unlawful Acts
The law covers a number of potential security issues such as piracy and “unlawful acts”. The term “unlawful acts” is defined as “an act or even suspicious act or circumstance which usually, by its nature or framework, threatens the security of the ship or even may cause damage to the ship or to the persons on board or the cargo”.
Examples of unlawful acts covered by legislation:
seizure of control of the deliver (including acts of piracy)
committing acts of violence against an individual on board the ship or causing death or injury
damage to or even destruction of the ship or its cargo
placement on board the deliver of a device which may damage or even destroy the ship, its freight or bodily harm the people onboard
abduction, detention or hostage taking of one or more persons on-ship
theft or transportation out of the ship of certain items (portable tools or outfitting, documents, supplies, tools or of parts of the ship or of personal property/money belonging to people onboard)
exercise or threat associated with violence or commissioning of one of the above
transmission of information that may help in commissioning or attempted commissioning associated with anyone of the above acts.
Ocean going Security: Obligation and Rights
Legislation articulates that ships flying the particular Cyprus flag are subjected to utilize obligatory security measures when sailing through high-risk zones. These steps should be applied in addition to the provisions associated with SOLAS Chapter XI-2, ISPS Code and Regulation (EC) No . 725/2004, for establishing and preserving the safety of the ship and averting “unlawful acts”.
The master and owner of the ship are obliged to take necessary measures for the safety from the ship and avert “unlawful acts”. Moreover, they are obliged to implement the additional protective measures, when the deliver faces a risk or is within a high-risk area.
The operator of a ship flying the Cyprus flag must submit to the DMS an application requesting a certificate that will be issued to permit the boarding of private security personnel and the make use of by them of firearms or even other equipment in high-risk specific zones.
the name and full details of the ship, such as kind, call sigh and ship’s recognition number
full details of the private security company it wishes to interact
a detailed risk assessment and description of security measures which will be carried out
a description of firearms as well as the equipment required to be used
places, slot, port facilities, sea area and dates of embarkation and disembarkation of the security company
places and dates of the loading and unloading of firearms and other equipment
description of the itinerary of the ship
the copy of the written private contract with the ship security company which has been signed or the ship’s operator posseses an intention to sign
The permission will be granted under the conditions the request is justified by mention of the the security assessment, and the security employees will be specially licensed by the government to provide this kind of services.
Furthermore, the particular ship operator is obliged to ensure that the security company he engages has a valid license, adequate indemnity insurance and that all guards can communicate with the master and crew. In addition , the contents of the contracts authorized by the operator of the ship and the private ship security company must include:
a. details of all protection guards
b. details of authorised firearms or other special equipment for use
c. conditions allowing the use of firearms and special equipment.
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d. procedures to be followed to amend some of the matters a-c.
According to the law, the particular private ship security companies should submit an application to the DMS to obtain a permit allowing them to provide services of disarmed or armed personnel to Cyprus ships.
The application will be examined by DMS. If the request is approved, then the relevant certificate will be issued. In other words, the company is permitted to provide security services in compliance with all the governing regulations. The Courts of Cyprus will administer all actions of licensed private ship security company in Cyprus and the DMS must approve all persons utilized by this kind of companies.
The law provides a group of rights for the personnel on board, such as the right for self-defense, the right to detain and detain an individual intending to commit or has committed an illegal act, and the right to impound arms and equipment of individuals attempting to and have committed an unlawful act.
Duty to report
The master as well as the operator of the ship have the responsibility to report immediately to the DMS any unlawful act or make an effort to commit an unlawful act and provide relevantly and full information to the DMS in regards to that act. Additionally , the operator is directly obliged to inform and keep updated the relatives of hostages and those injured because of an unlawful act.