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Shipping Companies

Shipping Law in Cyprus

Shipping Law (also known as Maritime or Admiralty Law) is a complex and specialised area of law that deals with maritime trade, shipping, and navigation.

Cyprus, being an island nation, has a long and rich history of maritime trade and commerce. Today, Cyprus is one of the most important maritime nations in the world and is home to one of the largest ship registries.

Cyprus has a comprehensive legal framework that governs the shipping industry. The main legislation that governs shipping in Cyprus is the Merchant Shipping Law. This law governs all aspects of shipping, including the registration and licensing of ships, the employment of seafarers, the liability of ship owners and operators, and the regulation of maritime safety and pollution.

Ship Registration in Cyprus

One of the main advantages of registering a ship in Cyprus is that the country has a well-established and efficient ship registry. The Cyprus Ship Registry is one of the largest and fastest-growing registries in the world, with over 1,000 vessels registered under the Cypriot flag. The registration process is straightforward and efficient, and the fees are competitive.

The registration of a ship in Cyprus provides a number of benefits, including access to the European Union’s cabotage and international shipping markets, reduced tonnage tax, and the ability to fly the Cypriot flag, which is a reputable and recognised flag in the international maritime community.

Shipowners who register their ships in Cyprus are also required to comply with the country’s environmental and safety regulations. Cyprus is a signatory to various international maritime conventions, including the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). These conventions set out the minimum standards for environmental protection and maritime safety.

Registering a Cyprus Shipping Company

The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the IMO, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth and many other international organizations. In addition, it is a signatory to many international maritime conventions and has concluded bilateral agreements of cooperation in merchant shipping and double tax treaties with a large number of countries.

  • Member of the European Union and the Eurozone.
  • No tax on profit from the operation or management of a vessel registered under the Cyprus flag or shares in a ship owning company.
  • No capital gains tax on the sale of a Cypriot vessel or transfer of shares in a Cypriot ship owning company.
  • No exchange control.
  • Over 65 double taxation treaties in effect, with more under negotiation.
  • Cyprus flag classified in the white list of PARIS & TOKYO MOUs on Port State Control.
  • Cyprus flag excluded from the “List of Target Flag States’’ of the US Coast Guard, resulting in fewer inspections and delays of Cypriot ships at the ports of both MoUs and the US.
  • No estate duty on inheritance of shares in a ship owning company.
  • No income tax on emoluments of officers and crew.
  • No stamp duty on ship mortgage deeds.
  • Signatory to all International Maritime Conventions.
  • Member of the International Maritime (IMO) and Labour (ILO) Organisations.
  • Competitive ship registration costs and fees.
  • Low set up and operating costs for companies.
  • Excellent telecommunications and easy access by air and sea.
  • No nationality restrictions for seafarers.

Maritime Safety

Maritime safety is a crucial aspect of the shipping industry, and Cyprus has a robust regulatory framework in place to ensure that ships registered under the Cypriot flag comply with international safety standards. The Department of Merchant Shipping (DMS) is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the country’s maritime safety regulations.

The DMS carries out regular inspections of Cypriot-flagged vessels to ensure compliance with the International Safety Management Code (ISM) and other relevant international safety standards. In addition, the DMS conducts investigations into maritime accidents and incidents to identify the causes and make recommendations for improvements to the country’s maritime safety regime.


The employment of seafarers is another important aspect of shipping law in Cyprus. The Merchant Shipping Law sets out the requirements for the employment and working conditions of seafarers on board Cypriot-flagged vessels. The law provides for minimum standards for wages, working hours, and living conditions on board ships.

Cyprus is also a signatory to the International Labour Organisation’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), which sets out the minimum requirements for seafarers’ working conditions and welfare. The MLC provides seafarers with rights and protections, including access to medical care, repatriation, and fair treatment in the event of a dispute.

Our Services to Shipping Companies

Chambers & Co has an experienced team of lawyers that provide expert legal advice and representation in all aspects of shipping law in Cyprus.

The firm has extensive experience in advising clients on the registration and licensing of ships under the Cyprus flag, compliance with international maritime regulations, taxation and the resolution of disputes relating to maritime accidents and incidents.

The firm represents a wide range of clients in the shipping industry, including shipowners, operators, charterers, seafarers, and marine insurers. The firm’s clients operate in various sectors of the shipping industry, including container shipping, tanker shipping, dry bulk shipping, and cruise shipping.

We give clear and comprehensive advice on the following matters:

  • Registration of Vessels under Cyprus flag.
  • Yacht and Boat Registration under Cyprus flag.
  • Registration of Vessels and Yachts in Foreign Jurisdictions.
  • Deletion of Vessels and Yachts from Foreign Jurisdictions.
  • Cyprus Yacht Leasing Scheme.
  • Services of Authorised Representative.
  • Ship Security Company Licensing.
  • Financing, Security and the Enforcement of Mortgages.
  • Drafting and Registration of Mortgages and Deeds of Release.
  • Charter party and Seafarer Contracts.
  • Agreements on Sale and Purchase of ships.
  • Shipping Company Law and Tax issues.
  • Legal advice concerning any Maritime or Shipping matter.
  • Services related to the registration and issuance of an IMO number for Fishing Vessels, Sea-going merchant ships and for Shipping Companies & Registered Owners.

Maritime Litigation in Cyprus

The bulk of the shipping related litigation work Chambers & Co undertakes are claims on behalf of cargo owners against the ship and for salvors in salvage actions. We also receive a substantial number of instructions from ship owners in collision, charter party and bill of lading disputes.

Maritime litigation in Cyprus has considerably increased proportionally to the ever-increasing importance of Cyprus as a world shipping centre and we are in a position to provide legal assistance in the following areas.

  • Arrest and Sale of Ships
  • Cargo claims
  • Carriage of Goods by Sea
  • Salvage claims
  • Collisions damages
  • Charter Party disputes
  • Cyprus Yacht Leasing Scheme for VAT
  • Ownership disputes
  • Personal injury claims
  • Pollution casualties
  • Disputes relating to the employment of officers and crew
  • Claims for damages done or received by a ship


See how our lawyers can help you with Shipping & Admiralty Law in Cyprus.