The Firm holds a wealth of information and know-how on shipping legislation and ship registration of different countries, which proves useful when advising on cross-border transactions. The Firm has been highly active in shipping since 1963, and has been involved with the drafting and revising of all of Cyprus shipping laws since then, and most recently Cyprus’ Tonnage Tax and Piracy Laws. It is often called upon to provide advice to foreign maritime authorities and professional bodies.
The Firm’s clientele comprises of some of the world’s largest ship owning and ship management companies, advising them on a wide range of issues. The Firm currently represents ship owners who control, approximately, 60% of the Cyprus merchant fleet.
It also represents most of the world’s largest banks, and other financial institutions, which are involved in the financing of ships, and multi-jurisdiction fleet of ships, advising them on the intricacies of finance transactions where Cyprus law, or a Cyprus flag vessel is involved.
The Shipping Department is committed to providing high standards of legal services to the Firm’s global shipping clientele. It is committed to keeping pace with the constant changes in the shipping industry, while investing in highly qualified manpower. The location of the Firm’s headquarters in Limassol, Cyprus, provides the Firm with easy access to the country’s main port, and to the Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Shipping (the Cyprus Flag Administration) which is based in Limassol. This enables the Shipping Department to respond promptly to emergencies, and facilitates in the completion of shipping transactions and related closings.
The shipping unit works closely with clients in order to carry out instructions entrusted to the Firm, in an efficient and practical way. The unit has close links with the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, and with other selected flag administrations, thereby delivering prompt service when completing various registry transactions.
The unit’s legal services consist of negotiating, reviewing, drafting and conclusion of all kinds of shipping related contracts and transactions, including, inter alia:
- Sale and Purchase of second hand tonnage and memoranda of agreement;
- Ship Registration, including transfers, deletions etc under the Cyprus flag, Marshall Islands, Liberia etc;
- Chartering, including bareboat, time and voyage charter parties;
- Lease finance transactions;
- Shipbuilding Contracts;
- Dispute Resolution;
- Crew and related ITF matters;
- Handling of technical enquiries, and exemptions of ships with flag administrations;
- Structuring and tax planning of ship owning groups (Cyprus tonnage tax entry and qualification for shipowners/shipmanagers/charterers);
- Drafting and the negotiation of shipping related contracts;
- Ship management agreements and related matters;
- Construction, sale and purchase of Mega Yachts and advising on VAT related issues, and schemes such as the Cyprus Yacht VAT Scheme;
- Contracts of affreightment, pool agreements and joint ventures.
Yachting and Marinas:
As part of our yachting specialty we also provide advice to private Marinas, and have been involved with the Marina industry since the establishment of the first Marina in Cyprus.
Marshall Islands corporate and maritime program:
The Firm is also the official representative of the Marshall Islands corporate and maritime program in Cyprus. The shipping unit is very active in undertaking and completing, at its offices, of all kinds of registry transactions involving Marshall Islands ships, and the issue of the relevant registry transaction certificates.
As the shipping unit is representing a very large percentage of the Cyprus fleet, and of ships registered in other jurisdictions, it provides a monitoring service to all the Firm’s ship owning and ship management clients, for their ships to comply with the requirements of the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, and of the other flag administrations. This service ensures that the ships are kept in good standing with the flag administrations under the Firm’s supervision.
The offshore industry’s presence is growing in Cyprus since the significant gas finds off Cyprus’ southern coast. Although the industry is still in its infancy as well as the regulation of the same, the Firm is monitoring developments and has been called upon to provide advice to the offshore industry in respect of projects taking place in Cyprus’ EEZ and continental shelf.
The Ship Finance unit, comprising of dedicated finance lawyers and experienced paralegal staff, has developed over 50 years a unique expertise in all aspects of ship finance, both in Cyprus and abroad.
The unit offers comprehensive advice to banks and financing institutions, as well as to ship owners and other parties involved in ship financing transactions. It is instructed on a regular basis by semi-governmental, public and private banks, other providers or arrangers of finance, and international law firms, to advise and issue legal opinions on Cyprus law, in relation to a wide variety of ship financing and security arrangements involving single or multiship finance transactions. It is also regularly requested to draft and negotiate loan and other facility agreements relating to the financing of new building vessels, both at the pre-delivery and post – delivery stage. The unit is also highly specialized in drafting of all relevant loan and supporting security documentation, such as ship mortgage, assignment of insurances and earnings, pledge of shares agreement and pledge of accounts.
The unit’s legal services include, inter alia,:
- the drafting and negotiation of loan and other facility agreements;
- the drafting and negotiation of all relevant security documentation required in a ship financing transaction;
- attendance and participation at closings of refinance and sale and purchase ship transactions;
- registration of ship mortgages and other security documents.
The unit undertakes the registration and deletion of ship mortgages in the Cyprus Ships Registry, and in various other selected registries, including the Marshall Islands, as well as registering of ship mortgages and other related registrable charges with the Registrar of Companies in Cyprus.
The unit has also developed an extensive expertise on refinancing, loan restructuring and mortgage security amendments, where (inter alia) the securities involved include Cyprus ship mortgages or Cyprus entities. It is highly regarded for its work on large syndicated loans involving Cyprus companies or Cyprus ships. It regularly acts as counsel for syndicates of international financiers in the financing of the construction and acquisition of vessels.