Archive for April, 2016

Anti-piracy law in Cyprus

As of the 15th June 2012 the Cypriot House of Representatives approved and enforced the Protection of Cyprus Flag Ships from Acts of Piracy and other Unlawful Acts Law 77(I) 2012, hereinafter referred to as “the Law”, which complements the ISPS Code, implemented through the addition of Chapter XI-2 of SOLAS which Cyprus ratified in 1984.

The ISPS Code

The ISPS Code applies to any ship on international waters of 500GT or more and also ports serving such ships. The main objectives of the ISPS Code are:

  • To detect security threats and implement security measures;
  • To establish roles and responsibilities concerning maritime security for governments, local administrations, ship and port industries at the national and international level;
  • To provide and promote security related information to concerned parties;
  • To provide a methodology for security assessments so as to have in place plans and procedures to react to changing security levels;

The effect of the Law

The Law provides the requisite legal guidelines for Shipowners, Bareboat charterers and Ship-managers with regards to measures they need to implement for a passage through the High Risk Areas ( “HRA”), how they can engage the services of a Private Ship Security Company, (“PSSC”) for a transit through the HRA as well as the procedure that a PSSC needs to adhere to prior to acquiring a licence to provide such services on board Cyprus flagged vessels.

The Law also provides that only PSSCs who are certified to provide security related services on board Cyprus flagged vessels are allowed to embark security guards and weapons for such transits through the HRA. A complete, updated, list of the approved PSSC’s can be found online at the Cyprus Department of Merchant Shipping website at: http://www.mcw.gov.cy.

Applicable geographical area

It is worth noting that the Law has a global geographical application and each person on board the vessel is bound by the laws of Cyprus regardless of the fact that the vessel might be transiting on International waters. For ease of reference the First Schedule of the Law provides the coordinates and defines the High Risk Areas.

Obligations to inform upon entering a HRA

It is an obligation of the master to register with the Maritime Security Centre for the Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) and report to the United Kingdome Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO) to be monitored regarding any incidents during a transit through the HRA. This means that any event which might be construed as an unlawful act or attempted unlawful act needs to be transmitted for further investigation. The Law also allows the master and crew to arrest any person who boards or attempts to board the vessel to commit any unlawful act.

Obligations regarding services of PSSC and weapons

The engagement of a PSSCs is effected through with a written agreement between Shipowner/Charterer or Manager and the PSSC. (usually with a GUARDCON or amended form of it) The Master has the obligation to supervise the implementation of the agreement. The storage of firearms must be done in such a way as no other person on board has access apart from the PSSC when that is deemed necessary and when in the HRA.

Approval of a PSSC under Cyprus flag

This can be done for any PSSC which is incorporated under the laws of Cyprus or has a legal representative in Cyprus. It is a criminal offence for a PSSC to embark guards or weapons on board a Cyprus flagged vessel without being authorised to do so. If the PSSC is a company that has its registered office central administration or principal place of business in another country an authorised representative must be appointed in Cyprus. An authorised representative can be a citizen or a resident of Cyprus as per the Income Tax Laws of 2002 to Law (No.2) of 2011. This encapsulates both partnerships or companies incorporated under the laws of Cyprus provided they conduct business operations in Cyprus and employ permanent personnel in Cyprus. The authorised representative is only required when the Private Ship Security Company has its registered office, central administration or its principal place of business is in another country.

Restrictive Measures on transportation to and from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

According to Circular No.11 /2016 issued by the Department of Merchant Shipping, ship-owners of vessels flying the Cyprus flag must be aware of the adoption of the new UN and EU instruments, namely UN Security Council Resolution 2270(2016), EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/319, 2016/475, 2016/476 and Council Regulation (EU) 2016/315 with regards to the restrictive measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

In brief, the prohibition is related to the transportation from and to DPRK, of arms and related material, including weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and equipment or related items with the exception of non-combat vehicles. Additionally, transportation of items, materials equipment, goods and technology which contribute to the DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes, are prohibited, as well as luxury goods, banknotes and coinage, metals, minerals, and aviation fuel.

Exemptions to the above measure are only items, solely intended to be used for verified essential humanitarian purposes, or for livelihood purposes and not by DPRK persons or entities looking to generate revenue.

Further prohibitions are related to the provision of insurance and reinsurance, in which case cargo information is required to be submitted pre-arrival and pre-departure. Also, cargo inspection must be performed on all vessels carrying cargo from or transiting through the DPRK territory, including their seaports.

Bunkering or ship supply services by Cypriot nationals or from the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as the leasing or chartering of flagged vessels or the provision of crew services to DPRK nationals are also prohibited, unless there are reasonable grounds that they are necessitated for humanitarian purposes. Further to this, any vessel owned or operated by the DPRK shall be deregistered by the Department of Merchant Shipping.

The Department of Merchant shipping notes the circular should be placed on board of all vessels flying the Cyprus flag.

For more information on the European Union restrictive measures please visit: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/

And for the text of the United Nations Security Resolution may be found on: http://www.un.org/en/documents/index.html

New Prohibition Orders issued with respect to Restrictive Measures imposed by the European Union against Ivory Coast, Somalia, Central African Republic, Yemen and South Sudan

According to Circular No. 10/2016 issued on the 15th of April 2016 by the Department of Merchant Shipping, all registered owners, bareboat charterers, managers and representatives of ships flying the Cyprus flag or not flying the Cyprus flag but still calling at Cyprus ports must be aware of the new Prohibition Orders adopted by the EU Council with respect to restrictive measures adopted against Ivory Coast, Somalia, Central African Republic, Yemen and South Sudan.

In brief, the restrictive measures imposed relate to the prohibition of transportation of arms, weapons, and related materials of all types to certain persons in the above mentioned countries. Member states are authorized to inspect vessels in the territorial waters and on the high seas off the coast of the above mentioned countries as well as seize and dispose such cargo.

Inspections of vessels are carried out, in accordance with the said restrictive measures, as per the national authorities’ requirements and cooperation. Member States may, upon discovery of any items that the delivery, import or export is prohibited, seize and dispose of such items.

For more information on these instruments please visit:

  1. Somalia :EU Council Decision 2015/335/CFSP: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:JOL_2015_058_R_0014&from=EN
  2. Central African Republic: EU Council Decision 2015/739 & UN Security Council Resolution 2196 (2015): the impact of these instruments is to amend the list of exemptions to the general prohibition of transportation by Cyprus ships of arms and related material: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:JOL_2015_117_R_0008&from=EN & http://www.refworld.org/docid/54d36d384.html
  3. South Sudan: EU Council Decision 2015/740 & EU Council Regulation 2015/735: the impact of this instrument is to amend the list of exemptions to the general prohibition of transportation by Cyprus ships of arms and related material: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32015D0740 &http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2015.117.01.0013.01.ENG
  4. Yemen: UN Security Council Resolution 2216 (2015) & EU Council Decision 2014/935/CFSP: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2216(2015)
  5. Ivory Coast: UN Security Council Resolution 2219 (2015) & EU Council Decision 2015/202 & EU Council Regulation 2015/192: the impact of these instruments is to amend the list of exemptions to the general prohibition of transportation by Cyprus ships of arms and related material: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32015D0202 & http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32015R0192

We are proud to announce that we have been selected as Leading Experts in M&A for Cyprus by Corporate INTL

We are proud to announce that Corporate INTL, a magazine that has reports on law, finance, industry and investing for over 10 years, distributed to over 70,000 carefully chosen individuals throughout the world each month and with an average monthly readership in excess of 125,000 people has selected Christodoulos G. Vassiliades & Co LLC as a Leading Expert in M&A in Cyprus.

 

Corporate-INTL-Recommended-Firm-Logo

Corporate INTL has undertaken detailed research via its independent research and editorial teams. Corporate INTL focuses on service type, service range, business type, geographical location, how the business operates and the expertise each team can offer to companies that either trade or may want to trade in the chosen jurisdiction.

The firm owes its success to its highly experienced and qualified lawyers, broad network of international contacts and representative offices, which enables it to provide clients with the services they desire, promptly and effectively.

Our M&A lawyers have a strong and long track record in M&A transactions, having dealt with numerous domestic and cross-border transactions. We offer advice on strategy and optimal structures, carry out due diligence on a target, engage in negotiations and prepare all requisite documentation to complete the deal.

2016 proves to be an extremely successful year for us and we have shown once again excellence not only in our expertise but in service.

We pride ourselves in providing excellent service to all our clients and are particularly pleased when our efforts are recognised and rewarded.

Department of Merchant Shipping Circular No. 08/2016 : New UN and EU instruments concerning restrictive measures against members of the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida organizations, and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them.

As per Circular No.08/2016 of the Department of Merchant Shipping of Cyprus issued on 30th March 2016 we wish to inform you that the below instruments which enhance restrictive measures against members of ISIL and Al-Qaida organizations have been adopted :

  1. United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2253 (2015) dated 17th December 2015;
  2. EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/368 of 14th March 2016 amending EU Council Common Position 2002/402/CFSP;
  3. Council Regulation (EU) 2016/363 of 14th March 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No. 881/2002.

The effect of these instruments is to extend the application of the restrictive measures to both people and entities associated with ISIL (Da’esh) which means that all previously issued UNSCRs along with Circular No.19/2012 of the DMS and the National Prohibition Order P.I. 123/2012 all are applicable to ISIL (Da’esh) as well.

So as per the National Prohibition Order P.I. 124/2012, it is prohibited by Cyprus ships to transport:

  1. Weapons and ammunition;
  2. Military vehicles and equipment ;
  3. Paramilitary equipment and spare parts;

to any members of the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida organisations and individuals, groups, undertakings or entities associated or controlled directly or indirectly as defined by EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/368 that participate in financing, planning, facilitating or perpetrating acts or activities in connection with

  1. Supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materials;
  2. Recruiting or supporting acts or activities ;

Further, UNSCR 2253 (2015) provides that Member States should cooperate with their public and private sector to ;

  1. Exercise vigilance over transactions and improve information sharing practices;
  2. Promote awareness of ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions list;
  3. Ensure no financial resources are made available to ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida;
  4. Ensure no donations are made to individuals or entities designated by the Committee or those acting on their behalf
  5. Promote vigilance to those people and entities that are involved in the production, sale, supply, transfer or storage of explosives or raw materials used to manufacture explosives or unconventional weapons;

For access to the newly adopted instruments please visit below

  1. United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2253 (2015) http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2253(2015)
  2. EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/368 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2016.068.01.0017.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2016:068:TOC
  3. Council Regulation (EU) 2016/363 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?toc=OJ%3AL%3A2016%3A068%3ATOC&uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2016.068.01.0001.01.ENG

 

 

 

Legal 500 – 2016 Ranking

Our Law Firm continues strengthening its positions in the international legal rankings directory The Legal 500: Europe, Middle East & Africa.

First and foremost we are proud to be recommended as the Leading Law Firm 2016.

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

Furthermore, this year we are recommended in 5 practice areas:

  • Commercial, corporate and M&A
  • Dispute resolution
  • Intellectual property
  • Maritime and admiralty
  • Real estate and construction

For Commercial, Corporate and M&A our services are considered to be “prompt, professional and of a high level”.

For Intellectual Property, our firm is distinguished for “its high level of professionalism, business acumen, appropriateness of advice and value for money”. In other legal practice areas we maintain our high level position.

We are also very proud that 6 of our lawyers are recommended for their excellence, namely:

  • in relation to our main area of practice Commercial, Corporate and M&A our Managing Partner Christodoulos G. Vassiliades and Deputy Managing Director Koulla Demetriou;
  • for Dispute Resolution Christodoulos Clerides is recommended as the considered key figure.
  • Ourania Vrondou who heads our Intellectual Property Department;
  • for Maritime and Admiralty Maria Hadjivarnava; and
  • Savvas Georgiou in relation to Real Estate and Construction

We shall stay committed on continually improving the quality of the advice and service we offer our clients.

For a complete view of our profile: http://www.legal500.com/firms/14147/14844

Sanctions Imposed by the European Union on Trade with Libya

According to Circular No.9/2016 issued by the Department of Merchant Shipping, shipowners of vessels flying the Cyprus flag must be aware of the new consolidated EU instruments, which clarify and repeal previously issued instruments, namely EU Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1333 and Council Regulation (EU) 2016/44 with regards to the restrictive measures against Libya.

In brief, the prohibition is related to the transportation by ships from and to Libya , of arms and related material, including weapons and ammunition or related items including armed mercenary staff or equipment which might be used for internal repression. Exemptions to the above measure are only the arms or related material or equipment, solely used by humanitarian and development workers, or by UN personnel or associated personnel. There is an additional prohibition on the transportation, loading or discharging of crude oil from Libya unless the Department of Merchant Shipping authorizes such act.

Inspections of vessels are carried out, in accordance with the said sanctions, as per the national authorities’ requirements, whereas the provision of cargo information prior to the arrival and prior to the departure of the vessels, bound to and from Libya, is mandatory.

Special caution should also be exercised when doing business with companies incorporated in Libya or subject to Libya’s jurisdiction, and any individuals and entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, in order to prevent business that could contribute to violence and the use of force against civilians.

For more information on the European Union restrictive measures please visit: http://eeas.europa.eu/cfsp/sanctions/docs/measures_en.pdf

 

 

 

Greece – Cyprus – Russia: Cultural Ties Deep Rooted in History of Centuries

Tonight, 7th April 2016, at 19.45  we are hosting the already announced event with the title  “Greece-Cyprus-Russia: Cultural ties deep rooted in history of centuries”  at the Strovolos Municipal theatre, organised by the Archbishop Makarios III Foundation, Embassy of the Russian Federation, Embassy of Greece and our Law Firm.

The event will consist of, amongst other things, performances from the choir of Aris Lemesos, singer Ms. Foteini Darra from Greece and the Academy of Russian Cadets which have arrived from Moscow.

If unfortunately you are not able to join us personally tonight we have made sure to still share this great experience with you via live streaming.

Please follow this link to watch our event Live from 19:45

 

 

Full Program PDF