Amendments of 2014 to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006

As per Circular no 37/2016, issued by the Department of Merchant Shipping on the 13 December 2016, reference was made to the adoption of the Amendments of 2014 to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (the “Amendments”).  These Amendments relate to the Standard A2.5 Repatriation (abandonment of seafarers) and Standard A4.2, Shipowners Liability (claims for compensation in the case of a seafarer´s death or long term disability due to occupational injury or illness). The implementation date for these amendments is the 18thJanuary 2017.

With regards to the Maritime Labour Certificates (MLC) and Declarations of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC) issued prior to the 18th January 2017, these will remain valid until the first renewal or intermediate inspection.

Similarly, any DMLC Part I issued before the implementation date (18 January 2017), will remain valid until next vessels MLC renewal or intermediate inspection whichever comes first.  The amended DMLC Part I will be issued to all vessels registered under Cyprus flag on or after the implementation date.

For existing vessels, even though DMLC Part I would remain valid, the shipowners shall update their DMLC II, firstly by way of an addendum, in order to reflect the new requirements, and, afterwards, this would be acknowledged in the inspection report produced at the next attendance of the Recognized Organization for MLC, 2006 inspection as will any other consequent changes to MLC documentation, manuals, etc.

Additionally, in respect of existing vessels, shipowners would have to submit a duly completed application for the issuance of the amended DMLC Part I to the DMS/Cyprus-MLC, 2006 Contact Point electronically, approximately 45 days prior next vessels renewal or intermediate inspection.

It is also noted that the abovementioned Amendments will also apply to foreign vessels calling at ports of the Republic of Cyprus

The Merchant Shipping (Compliance with Flag State Requirements) Order of 2016 (P.I 350/2016)

The issuance of P.I 350/2016 repealed and replaced the previous order 190/2012, in order to include in the definition of the relevant International Conventions the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 and the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks of 2007.

As per Circular No. 36/2016 the following relevant international Conventions are the Conventions coming under the Merchant Shipping (Compliance with Flag State Requirements) Law of 2012:

(a) the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of 1974 (SOLAS 74);

(b) the International Load Lines Convention of 1966 (LL Convention 66);

(c) the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships of 1973 and the 1978 Protocol thereto (MARPOL Convention 73/78);

(d) the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships of 1969 (ITC Convention 69);

(e) the Convention on International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea of 1972 (COLREG Convention 72);

(f) the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers of 1978 (STCW Convention 78);

(g) the Special Trade Passenger Ships Agreement 1971 (STP 71), and the Protocol on Space Requirements for Special Trade Passenger Ships 1973 (SPACE STP 73);

(h) the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships of 2001(ANTI-FOULING Convention);

(i) the International Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and other Matter of 1972 (DUMPING Convention);

(j) the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 1992 (CLC Convention 92);

(k) the International Convention for the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage of 1971 and of its Protocols of 1976 and 1992 (FUND Convention);

(l) the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage of 2001 (BUNKERS Convention);

(m) the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue of 1979 (SAR Convention);

(n) the International Convention for Safe Containers of 1972 (CSC Convention);

(o) the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic of 1965 and of its Amendments of 1969 to 1996 (FAL Convention);

(p) the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea of 1996 (HNS Convention);

(q) the Maritime Labour Convention of 2006 (MLC 2006); and

(r) the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks of 2007 (Wreck Removal Convention).

The term ‘International Conventions’ includes their relevant Protocols, Codes, Standards, Resolutions, Recommendations or Guidelines in their up-to-date version.

Cyprus Tonnage Tax System (Law 44(I)/2010): Calculation of the Global Share for the Owners of Foreign Ships, Charterers and Ship Managers – applied for the fiscal year 2017

As per Circular No 35/2016 issued by the Department of Merchant Shipping (DMS), on the 12th of December 2016, for the purpose of assessment of the Community-flagged Share of each company or group of companies, the Director shall carry out an assessment upon expiry of the third year (on 31st December) as from the date of opting to be taxed under the Tonnage Tax System (TTS)[1] and thereafter a further assessment every three years throughout the duration of validity of the Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law of 2010 (Law 44(I)/2010) (“the Law”).

Moreover, it is provided that with regards to a company or group of companies whose Community-flagged Share at the time of assessment is less than its Reference Share (unless it is over 60%), no additional non-Community ships can enter the TTS until it raises its Community-flagged Share back to its Reference Share as minimum. Nonetheless, further to sections 15(3) (a), 25(3) (a) and 35(2) (a) of the Law and paragraphs 8 and 10 of The Tonnage Tax (Special Provisions for the Calculation of the Community Flagged Share) Notification of 2010 (P.I. 536/2010) (the “Notification”) those companies may benefit from the sectoral Global Share in order to include additional non-Community ships in the TTS. In such case, the owner, charterer or ship manager in question shall be subject to an increase of ten per cent (10%) on the total amount of tonnage tax payable for all the qualifying non-Community ships in his fleet, by virtue of the provisions of sections 15(4), 25(4) and 35(3) of the Law respectively.

It is noted that for 2015, as per the calculations of the Community-flagged Share of the relevant global tonnage eligible for tonnage tax in the Republic of Cyprus (Global Share) on a sectoral basis for 2015 conducted by the DMS:

  • The Global Share for Owners of foreign ships has decreased in comparison to 2014 (from 28.67% to 27.29%),
  • The Global Share for Charterers has decreased in comparison to 2014 (from 70.51% to 62.39%),
  • The Global Share for Ship Managers has decreased in comparison to 2014 (from 54.23% to 51.97%).

Overall, Owners of foreign ships. Charterers and Ship managers whose Community flagged Share is at the time of assessment (i.e. on 31st December 2016) below their Reference Share (unless this is over 60%) shall not include additional non-Community ships in the TTS until they raise their Community-flagged Share back to their Reference Share as minimum. Such ships cannot be considered as qualifying and therefore would be subject to corporate-income tax by the Department of Taxation while the company shall maintain separate books, records and accounts for those ships as provided by section 44 of the Law.

 

We are proud to announce that Acquisition International has awarded Christodoulos G. Vassiliades & Co LLC the 2016 Excellence Award: Most Outstanding Shipping Maritime Law firm

We are proud to announce that Acquisition International has selected Christodoulos G. Vassiliades & Co LLC as winner of the 2016 Excellence Award: Most Outstanding Shipping Maritime Law firm.

Acquisition International awards are highly reputable due to the validity of their awards and winners, which is echoed in the demanding and meticulous nomination procedure, also reflected in the judging and selection processes. Every single award is handed solely on merit, no commercial requirements are taken into play, no awards are guaranteed by payment and there are no barriers to entry. Therefore, the only factors that determine the award success are the work a company does and the results it achieves.

The 2016 Acquisition International awards are keen on displaying the hard work, dedication and determination of firms throughout the professional sphere, as voted for by their clients and commercial counterparts. The Acquisition International awards are regularly featured in news and press outlets across the globe.

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Our shipping department offers a full range of legal services to ship owners, charterers, ship managers and ship financing institutions. The majority of the Firm’s ship registrations are under the flags of Cyprus, Malta and Belize. We owe our success to our broad network of international contracts and representative offices, which enables us to provide clients with the services they desire, promptly and effective. We are committed to providing high quality service in the field of Shipping Law, while at the same time promoting the business interests of our clients.

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.

We are proud to announce that we have been awarded by Lawyer Monthly’s Legal Awards 2016 as the Intellectual Property Law Firm of the Year – Cyprus 2016

We are proud to announce that Lawyer Monthly has selected Christodoulos G. Vassiliades & Co LLC as winner in the category Intellectual Property Law Firm of the Year – Cyprus.

Lawyer Monthly is a news website and monthly legal newspaper with content that is entirely defined by noteworthy legal news from around the world. Their editorial focus tracks legal news from across key practices areas, jurisdictions and sectors. Their editorial reach is prevalent in both the established and emerging markets. Their editorial team constantly follows key legal news and events to provide insights on today’s legal scene.

The Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards acknowledge the accomplishments of legal establishments who have delivered extraordinary results for their clients in the course of the past year whilst working in a challenging business environment. Corporate lawyers and law firms continue to play a crucial role in supporting and advising businesses so that they not only survive but thrive in tough conditions. The close relationship between corporate law firms and their clients has allowed businesses to expand which means creating opportunities that fuel global economic confidence. The 2016 Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards recognises firms, individual lawyers, solicitors and barristers devoted to reinvent their business, built on their depth of expertise, and performed outstandingly over the year.

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Our Intellectual Property Department is committed in safeguarding all kinds of Intellectual Property Rights whether those are registered as trademarks, designs, patents and trade names or unregistered such as copyrights or reputable marks. We also handle passing off actions, trademark litigation and arbitration cases and assume the preparation, drafting, negotiation and advising on all types of Intellectual Property- related agreements.

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.

Reforestation day

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In June 2016, the fire in the Solea region in Cyprus resulted in the death of two firemen and the destruction of 18.5 square kilometres of areas of forest, making it the third worst blaze of the last two decades.

 

Christodoulos G. Vassiliades & Co. LLC, as a firm proudly supporting Corporate Social Responsibility and under the directions of the Cyprus Department of Forests, visited the area on Saturday 19th November 2016 and along with a large number of volunteers and staff of the firm, contributed their time, effort and sweat in planting more than 1000 seedlings for the restoration of burnt forest areas.

 

It is our promise that, Christodoulos G. Vassiliades & Co. LLC , through its corporate social responsibility initiatives will continue its efforts to actively assist and support Cyprus reforestation ventures.

 

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Circular No 34/2016 – International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, STCW 78, as amended- Manila Amendments

As per Circular No 34/2016 issued by the Department of Merchant Shipping (DMS), on the 21st of November 2016, the Director of the DMS informed the concerned parties of the amendments introduced for the implementation of the provisions of the 2010 Manila Amendments of the STCW78 Convention, which will be in force after 31 December 2016, regarding the newly introduced capacities.

Accordingly, Cyprus endorsements attesting the recognition of a foreign certificate of competency (EAR) will be granted to electro-technical officers serving on board Cyprus flagged vessels in this capacity who hold a valid certificate of competency issued under regulation III/6 of the Convention STCW 78, as amended, by a country whose certificates of competency are recognized by the Republic of Cyprus.   No Cyprus EAR will be issued to electro-technical rating (reg. III/7), able seaman deck (reg. II/5) and able seaman engine (III/5).

Moreover, as per regulation II/5 paragraph 2.3 of the Convention, as amended, holders of a valid certificate of proficiency as able seafarer deck according to regulation II/5, may take the position of rating forming part of a navigational watch on the safe manning (reg. II/4).

Lastly, as per regulation III/5 paragraph 2.3 of the Convention, as amended, holders of a valid certificate of proficiency as able seafarer engine in a manned engine-room or designated to perform duties in a periodically unmanned engine room, in accordance with regulation III/5, may take the position of rating forming part of an engineering watch on the safe manning (reg. III/4).

We are proud to announce that Corporate Vision has selected us as the winner for the 2016 Dispute Resolution Awards.

We are proud to announce that Corporate Vision has selected Christodoulos G. Vassiliades & Co LLC as winner of the 2016 Dispute Resolution Awards.

Corporate Vision is created by a highly experienced and passionate team of business experts, advisors and insiders, which is committed to providing discerning readers worldwide with a wealth of news, features and comment on the corporate issues of the day.

Corporate Vision’s 2016 Dispute Resolution Awards are designed to pay homage to key players within the legal industry, celebrating the innovative and committed approach firms have to handling both small and large disputes across the sector.

Corporate vision team used a combination of client testimonials, industry journals and in-house research to determine the best of the best, considering initiative and innovative thinking towards client service, wealth of knowledge and experience within the sector, significant cases in the recent 12 months, developments and progressions of a firm and research and writings in the practice of Dispute Resolution.

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Our litigation experts offer client-focused advice on matters regarding dispute resolution, international commercial litigation and procedural issues on international civil litigation and arbitration. Our team’s main priority is to escape costly and lengthy litigation and focus on resolving disputes through mediation whenever possible, including service of foreign legal documents in Cyprus, and local enforcement of foreign judgments or arbitral awards.

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.

Cyprus Tonnage Tax System: Flags appearing on the Grey List and Black List of the Paris MOU for the Fiscal Year 2016

As per Circular No. 33/2016 published by the Department of Merchant Shipping on the 16th of November 2016 with regard to the Cyprus Tonnage Tax System (Law 44(I)/2010), the Director of the Department relied on sections 17(2), 27(2) and 40(2) of the Law and the relevant tables contained in the Annual report of the Paris MOU for the year 2015 and has decided that certain flags will be included in the Grey List or the Black List of the Paris MOU for the fiscal year 2016.

Specifically, ships flagged under flags of: Albania, Algeria, Bulgaria, Curacao, Egypt,

Georgia, India, Jamaica, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mongolia, Morocco, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Vanuatu or Viet Nam, are included in the GREY list of the Paris MOU. Moreover, the Qualifying non-Community ships that fall within this List shall have their annual tonnage tax increased by thirty per cent (30%),

Similarly, ships flagged under flags of: Azerbaijan, Belize, Bolivia, Cambodia, Comoros, Dominica, Honduras, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Sierra Leone, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, United Republic of Tanzania, or Togo, are included in the BLACK list of the Paris MOU, accordingly. Qualifying non-Community ships that fall within this List shall have their annual tonnage tax increased by sixty per cent (60%).

In addition, Community and non-Community ships under management flying a flag of a State mentioned in the BLACK list must be deemed to comply with international and Community standards only if the technical and crew management of every such ship is entirely performed from the territory of any Member State. In case of failure of compliance with these requirements, s 54 of the Law will apply, thus the Director may impose a fee to ensure compliance.

New standard notification form in relation to waste delivery to port reception facilities

Transposition – implementation of Commission Directive (EU) 2015/2087 of 18/11/2015 amending Annex II to Directive 2000/59/EC of the European Parliament and the Council on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues.

The European Union adopted Directive (EU) 2015/2087 replacing the table included in Annex II of Directive 2000/59/EC on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues.

The new Annex II introduces information of the types and quantities of ship generated waste delivered to port reception facilities in the last port of delivery and new and more detailed categorization of garbage. Therefore, a new standard form of the notification form has been generated in relation to waste delivery to port reception facilities.

By the 9th day of December, all EU Member States must adopt and publish all relevant necessary laws to comply with Directive 2015/2087. The 10th Schedule of our national order P.I 771/2003 will be replaced with the said new standard form as per Directive 2015/2087.