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The Shipping Deputy Ministry of Cyprus recommends measures for the safety and security of Cyprus-flagged vessels calling or approaching Israeli ports

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In response to the volatile security situation in Israel, and while the backlog of ships at Israeli ports grows, on the 25th October 2023 the Shipping Deputy Ministry of Cyprus issued Circular 25/2023 regarding the safety and security of Cyprus flagged vessels which call or approach ports / countries where armed / civil conflicts take place (the “Circular”).

As per the Circular, the Shipping Deputy Ministry of Cyprus (the “SDM”) recalls its recommendations to the owners and operators of Cyprus- flagged vessels as these were also raised with Circulars No. 20/2015 dated 30th July 2015 and 33/2021 dated 10th August 2021.

More specifically, it is recommended that any callings and transactions at foreign ports and/or countries where political instability and/or armed and/or civil conflicts take place (or are evidently imminent) should be avoided.

In addition, the SDM reiterates that increased vigilance and close communication should be maintained at all times with Port and Flag State authorities and local shipping agents, in accordance with the requirements of the ISPS Code.

The SDM recommends, in the absence of any specific security-related threats, that owners, operators, managers and masters of Cyprus-flagged ships calling Israeli ports, or when remaining or navigating through the territorial waters of Israel:

  • make frequent checks with local sources of information, e.g. vessel agents, local authorities, Hull and Machinery and Protection and Indemnity insurance providers, in order to obtain the most up-to-date and reliable security-related information available at any given time;
  • carefully assess the security-related situation at each port call or when remaining or navigating through territorial waters, on a case-by-case basis and, as necessary, to implement appropriate security measures aboard in order to protect the vessel and its crew;
  • review, exercise and, if necessary, implement the relevant contingency plans; and
  • maintain the utmost vigilance and increase, as necessary, the rigorousness of implementing the security measures aboard in order to protect the vessel and its crew.

In view of the fact that Israel is already included in the area for Hull War, Piracy, Terrorism and Related Perils by the Joint War Committee of the London Underwriters, the SDM recommends to contact the vessel's war insurer well in advance of arrival at any Israeli port or entry into the territorial waters of Israel. This includes circumstances of exercising the right of innocent passage while it is noted that a similar approach applies for other neighbouring countries.

The SDM encourages interested parties to reach SDM directly for any security–related concerns either by email at maritime.security@dms.gov.cy or ssas@dms.gov.cy or by telephone at +357 99377988.

The content of this article is valid as at the date of its first publication. For further information or advice, please contact Andria Kouloumi, Associate, Limassol office, Tel +357 25363685 or email andria.kouloumi@kyprianou.com

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