Over the years, Cyprus has established itself as a world renowned maritime centre. In 1963, the Government of Cyprus offered the first incentives towards the growth of the shipping industry which lead to the country’s present status. Cyprus entered the European Union in 2008 and thereafter, it has been considered as a sovereign flag member with full diplomatic protection for Cypriot ships. Also, Cyprus is listed as a quality flag in the ‘White List’ of Paris MoU as well as in the ‘White List’ of Tokyo MoU. As from 2019, the Cyprus registry is ranked as the third largest merchant fleet in Europe and 11th largest in the world.
Due to the island’s geographic position and maritime infrastructure, the advantages offered to vessel owning and shipmanagement companies are unique. Amongst others, a tax-efficient business scheme is provided, including an upgraded EU tonnage tax system. There are maritime offices located in Piraeus, London, New York, Hamburg, Rotterdam and Brussels, offering services to ships and seafarers. Also, it is noted that there are no restrictions placed on the nationality of the crew.
Furthermore, Cyprus is a member of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO), a signatory of a great number of international maritime conventions on safety, security, pollution prevention, maritime labour and health and safety and a signatory of bilateral agreements for cooperation in merchant shipping.
The registration of vessels and other relevant procedures are recorded in the Register of Cyprus Ships or in the Special Book of Parallel Registration, which is held at the Head Office of the Shipping Deputy Ministry in Limassol. It is notable that the provisional and parallel registration of ships can be effected abroad by a Consular Officer of the Diplomatic and Consular Missions of the Republic of Cyprus.
Under Cyprus Law, only practicing Lawyers in Cyprus can draft all necessary documents for the incorporation of Cyprus companies as well as to carry out all required registration procedures. Therefore, our Firm can advise and assist in all aspects of maritime matters, such as vessel registration and submission to the registry of ships, advice for resolving commercial disputes of a legal nature for all parties involved in the industry: owners, charterers, freight forwarders and insurers, etc. In addition we can advise in choice of flags and registration, claims for loss or damage to cargo, general average, salvage claims, collisions and freight disputes.