Ship registration in Cyprus

Cyprus is a major international shipping hub because the island offers great incentives. As a result, many international shipping companies are being urged to base their operations in Cyprus. In this article, I present the basic information regarding the ship registration procedure in Cyprus. Overall, the Vessel Registration Policy and Procedure aims to facilitate the realization of safe, secure and efficient shipping.

eligibility

Vessels and vessels of any type or size, except for those listed below, may be registered in the Cyprus Ship Register or the Special Book of Parallel Registration, given that they meet the age-related and type-related requirements.

Vessels and ships not eligible for registration:

  1. at the time of submitting their application for registration, are prohibited from entering a Port State control by a Member State of any of the Port State Control MoUs, and from entering the ports of the States parties to that Memorandum or which have been excluded by a State from entering their ports;
  2. have been detained on the grounds of port state control more than three times in the two years prior to application for registration by the states of Paris, Tokyo, the Mediterranean MOUs on port state control or by the US Coast Guard;
  3. Created exclusively for use in inland navigation or to be used exclusively in inland navigation, i.e. inland waters, rivers, inland waterways, canals, natural or artificial lakes, reservoirs or dams.

Registration types:

There are three types of vessel registration: temporary, permanent and parallel registration.

A 1. Conditional Registration:

Many shipowners choose the provisional registration option because it will provide them with the necessary time frame to proceed with the administrative formalities of permanent registration. The local lawyer must follow up on the application to register a vessel under the flag of Cyprus. Furthermore, the Registrar of Ships accepts applications on behalf of the companies under formation. However, the company must be incorporated before the vessel can be registered.

The vessel may be temporarily registered under the flag of Cyprus in Limassol by the Cyprus Ship Registrar, or at any Republic of Cyprus Diplomatic or Consular Mission abroad which will act in accordance with the instructions issued by the Cyprus Ship Registrar. While temporarily registered under the flag of Cyprus, the vessel must be in port to be inspected and approved on behalf of the Cypriot government. However, the presence of the vessel in the port or place where the provisional registration will take place is not mandatory.

In the event that the temporary registration is carried out at a Cyprus diplomatic mission or consulate abroad, some documents may be submitted there upon written instructions from the registrar. After receiving the necessary documents, the Registrar or Consular Officer of the Republic of Cyprus may proceed with the provisional registration of the vessel.

A 2. Permanent registration

The permanent registration of a provisionally registered vessel must be completed within six months, or nine months if a three-month extension is obtained, from the date the vessel is provisionally registered. By the time all required documents have been submitted and the administrative formalities have been completed, the Cypriot Registrar of Ships will issue a “Cyprus Certificate of Registration” and the vessel will be permanently registered under the Cyprus flag.

A3. Parallel registration

Cypriot legislation provides two options for internationally recognized registration, ‘parallel’ registration and ‘parallel’ registration. These two alternatives provide some great incentives for rent-back, rent-to-purchase, and financial arrangements. Parallel registration for vessels under Cypriot jurisdiction can be carried out with more than 20 countries that have legislation compliant with Cyprus.

Parallel registration of a foreign-flagged vessel on a bareboat allows a Cypriot shipping company to be ‘parallel’ registered under the Cyprus flag for normally two years. Parallel registration can be renewed. Under ‘parallel’ registration, deletion of the registration in the foreign registry is not mandatory. However, foreign nationality is suspended, and the foreign record applies only according to the ownership and mortgage status of the vessel. Foreign registry legislation must allow parallel registration of vessels registered in its registry.

Ships registered in parallel with the Cyprus Register of Ships must fly the flag of Cyprus and are not allowed to use the flag of the other country. The named port of registry on the vessel must be Limassol and not the foreign port of registry.

Mortgages are created exclusively by the shipowner, according to the law of the country of foreign registry in which they are registered. The constitution of these types of mortgages and other mortgages is only notified in the Cypriot Ship Registry. Apart from issues related to transfer of title, mortgages and other encumbrances, all other issues related to ships registered in parallel in the Cyprus Register of Ships are regulated by Merchant Shipping.

Individuals or businesses who wish to embark on the creation of conveyance mortgages should seek professional legal advice.

A “parallel” registration allows a Cypriot vessel to be chartered to a foreign person or company and to be registered in the relevant foreign registry for the duration of the charter agreement. A ‘parallel’ registration allows a vessel to be financed and mortgaged under the Cyprus flag and registered in a foreign registry via a boat charter agreement. Parallel registration of a Cypriot vessel only if the legislation of the foreign registry allows the parallel registration of vessels from another registry. “Parallel” registration is possible for Cypriot vessels registered permanently or temporarily in the Cypriot Register of Ships. The “parallel” registration of Cyprus vessels must be approved by the Minister of Communications and Works.

Once the appropriate fees have been paid, and the necessary documentation has been submitted to the Cypriot Registrar of Ships, the Minister of Communications and Works may approve the parallel registration of the vessel for a period not exceeding three years. After approval of the parallel registration, the Cypriot citizenship of the vessel shall be suspended, and the Cypriot certificate of registration shall be deposited with the Cypriot Registrar of Ships.

Parallel registered Cypriot vessels must fly the flag of foreign registry and cannot use the flag of Cyprus. Furthermore, the port of registry marked on the stern of the ship must be the foreign port of registry. The transfer of ownership and any issues relating to mortgages on parallel registered Cypriot vessels are exclusively regulated by Cypriot legislation and no action can be taken on these matters by the foreign registry.

Entries made in the Cypriot Ship Registry regarding transfers of title or mortgages on Cypriot ships registered in parallel, are notified exclusively by the Cypriot Ship Registrar to the foreign registry.

Proceed to register the vessel:

Registering a vessel requires a set of necessary documents and appropriate legal guidance. As a result, individuals and businesses should seek appropriate legal advice and support.

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