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The Merchant Shipping (Compliance with Flag State Requirements) Law of 2012
Area(s) of Practice: European Union Law, Shipping and Maritime Law

"The Merchant Shipping (Compliance with Flag State Requirements) Law of 2012":

The aim of the new legislation is to harmonise Cyprus Merchant Shipping Law with EU Directive 2009/21/EC on compliance with flag state requirements. The purpose of the new Law, in general, is to ensure that Cyprus (as well as all EU member states) effectively and consistently discharges its obligations as a flag State and takes all necessary measures to enhance safety and prevent pollution from ships flying its flag.

The Law imposes certain obligations to the Merchant Shipping Department of Cyprus, as the competent authority. More specifically, it is provided that, prior to allowing a ship to operate, which has been granted the right to fly the Cyprus flag, the Merchant Shipping administration shall take all measures it deems appropriate to ensure that the ship in question complies with the applicable international rules and regulations. In particular, it shall verify the safety records of the ship by all reasonable means. It shall, if necessary, consult with the previous flag State, in order to establish whether any outstanding deficiencies or safety issues, identified by the latter, remain unresolved. Furthermore, it is provided that, whenever another flag State requests information concerning a ship which was previously flying the Cyprus flag, the Republic of Cyprus shall promptly provide details of outstanding deficiencies and any other relevant safety-related information to the requesting flag State.

According to the new provisions, when the Cyprus Merchant Shipping administration is informed that a ship flying the Cyprus flag has been detained by a port State, it shall, according to the procedures it has established to this effect, oversee the ship being brought into compliance with the relevant IMO Conventions.

The Law imposes an obligation to the competent authority to keep at least the following information regarding ships flying the flag of Cyprus:
(a) particulars of the ship (name, IMO number, etc.);
(b) dates of surveys, including additional and supplementary surveys, if any, and audits;
(c) identification of the recognised organisations involved in the certification and classification of the ship;
(d) identification of the competent authority which has inspected the ship under port State control provisions and the dates of the inspections;
(e) outcome of the port State control inspections;
(f) information on marine casualties;
(g) identification of ships that have ceased to fly the flag of Cyprus.

Also, the Law provides for the development and implementation of a quality management system for the operational parts of the flag State-related activities of the competent administration. Such quality management system shall be certified in accordance with the applicable international quality standards. In addition to this, in the case Cyprus appears on the black list or, for two consecutive years, on the grey list, as published in the most recent annual report of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, it shall provide the European Commission with a report on its flag State performance, no later than four months after the publication of the Paris MOU report.

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