1. The European Union adopted Directive 2009/20/EC (“the Directive”) which provides that as of 1st January 2012, the ship-owners of all ships of 300 gross tonnage or more, irrespective of type, must have insurance in place that covers maritime claims subject to limitation under the 1996 LLMC Convention.
2. The above obligation of having insurance in place, as well as, documentary evidence on board attesting so (Insurance Certificate), applies to the ship-owners of ships:
a) Flying the flag of the Member States of the European Union (EU Member States, including Member States of the European Economic Area – EE);
b) Irrespective of flag they are flying, calling at the ports of the EU/EEA Member States; and
c) Irrespective of flag they are flying, operating within the territorial waters of the EU/EEA Member States, if in conformity with international law.
3. As of 1st January 2012, EU/EEA Member States are obliged to carry out inspections of ships calling at their ports or operating within their territorial waters in order to verify whether such ships hold insurance in accordance with the provisions of the Directive and have the required documentary evidence on board. Ships found in breach of the provisions of the Directive, may be detained, expelled from or denied entry to a port of the Member States. In case a ship is expelled from a port of a Member State, all Member States are obliged to deny to such a ship access to their ports (i.e. the ship is banned), until the ship-owner complies with the requirements of the Directive.
4. Furthermore, the Directive provides that Member States shall impose effective and decisive penalties on ships found in breach of the requirements of the Directive.
5. The process for the enactment of the relevant Cyprus legislation transposing the Directive is at an advanced stage and a new Circular will be issued informing you of its enactment.
6. The ship-owner of:
a) Ships flying the Cyprus flag; and
b) of ships, irrespective of the flag they are flying, calling at Cyprus ports or operating within the territorial sea of the Republic of Cyprus;
having a gross tonnage of 300 and over, are strongly urged to make the necessary arrangements in order to obtain (if they have not done so already), by 1 January 2012, the insurance cover required under Directive 2009/20/EC and to place on board documentary evidence attesting that such a cover is in place.