Reminder of restrictions on vessel calls to Northern Cyprus ports
The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus issued an Order in 1974 (Order P.I. 265/74) declaring the ports of Famagusta, Karavostasi and Kyrenia, in Northern Cyprus, closed to all vessels.
Section 15 (2) of the Cyprus Ports Authority Law 38 of 1973 (as amended in 1979) sets out the sanctions for vessels arriving at or departing one of the closed ports:
“The master and/or the owner of a ship which arrives and departs from a port closed for such ship or enters or stays therein in contravention of an Order under subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and be:
- liable to imprisonment not exceeding two years;
- or to a fine not exceeding €17.086;
- or to both such imprisonment and fine;
and in the case of a ship registered in the Register of Cyprus Ships, the Court dealing with the case has the power to order her deletion from the Register of Cyprus Ships.”
This means if a vessel is found to have called to, or drifted into waters of, one of the above closed ports, it can expect to face penalties in next calls to any of the legal/ open ports of Cyprus (Limassol, Larnaca and Vassiliko).
Such penalties include the imprisonment of the master, a fine and the vessel being struck off the Cyprus Flag Register, if it was sailing under the Cyprus flag, the UK P&I Club explained.
“If the Master has changed between the call to the closed port and to the open port, the new Master cannot be arrested or fined. If the previous master remains on board in any capacity, he will be arrested and fined.”
Meanwhile, the vessel may face such penalties even if it calls at an intermediate non-Cypriot port between its calls to one of the closed ports and to an open Cypriot port.
Additionally, there are insurance implications to be borne in mind e.g. a breach of trading warranties in the vessel’s Hull and Machinery or P&I policies or a breach of warranty of legality i.e. a call to a closed port being deemed an “illegal voyage”.
The Greek Authorities also impose restrictions on Greek-flagged, Greek-owned, Greek-managed or Greek-crewed vessels calling to any port in Northern Cyprus. Penalties range from fines to imprisonment.
Members with any Greek connection whatsoever (Flag, Management, crew, etc.) are therefore strongly advised against calling at ports in Northern Cyprus,
…the Club recommended.