Circular No. 1/2016 issued on the 14th of January 2016 by the Department of Merchant Shipping, advises on the instructions of the Minister of Communications and Works for the regulation of the number of private ship security guards and firearms a Private Ship Security Company (“PSSC”) may register on its Cyprus certificate. These instructions, to be implemented as from the 1st of January 2016, were concluded following the implementation of the Protection of Cyprus Ships against Acts of Piracy and Other Unlawful Acts Law of 2012 (“the Law”), and a review of the services provided by the PSSCs to Cyprus Ships as well as related operational issues.
Pursuant to section 22(1) of the Law, the number of firearms must be proportional to the number of guards at a ratio of two (2) to one (1), since for each approvedprivate ship security guard, the PSCC is able to register on its Cyprus certificate up to two (2) firearms and vice-versa. Hence, any PSSC which has more firearms registered on its certificate than is permitted must apply to the DMS for the addition of the required additional number of guards or for the deletion of the required number of firearms. The relevant fees for the addition of guards have to be paid. With regards to the maximum number of firearms, a PSCC is entitled to register on its Cyprus certificate up to four hundred (400) firearms. Thus, any PSSC with more than four hundred firearms registered must immediately apply to the DMS for the deletion of the additional firearms. Such deletion will be free of charge. Moreover, in case that a PSSC does not provide any service to a Cyprus ship for a continuous period of one calendar year as from 1 January 2016, the Certificate must be automatically withdrawn.
Regarding the fees payable for services rendered by the Minister pursuant to the Law, they are currently being reviewed and are to be subject to amendments; a relevant notification will be issued accordingly in this respect.
Failure by any natural or legal person to comply with any provision of the Law and any instruction of the Minister regarding the implementation of the Law may result in the withdrawal of the Certificate in accordance with section 36 of the Law, and/or, in criminal proceedings resulting in a sentence of imprisonment up to two years and/or a fine up to €20,000 in accordance with section 89 of the Law.