The Protection of Cyprus Ships against Acts of Piracy and Other
Unlawful Acts Law of 2012 has entered into force following
publication in the Official Gazette on 15 June 2012. The Law
incorporates the recommendations and guidance of the IMO regarding
the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board
ships navigating in high risk areas and takes into account the
provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,
particularly the rights of a State as a port and a coastal State
within its internal waters, territorial sea and contiguous
The scope of the Law extends beyond acts and attempts of piracy
and purports to address all types of unlawful acts against a ship
or attempts to violate the security of the ship. It includes a
broad definition of "unlawful acts" to include any act or
suspicious act or circumstance which, by its nature or context,
threatens the security of the ship or may cause damage to the ship
or to the persons on board or to the cargo.
The Law provides that Cyprus ships navigating through high risk
areas are required to implement compulsory security measures over
and above those set out in SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code,
taking into account the relevant recommendations and guidelines
published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the
shipping industry. It also enables the operator of a Cyprus ship
(owner, bareboat charterer or manager) to request permission to
engage private contractors providing armed or unarmed security
guards when the ship is navigating through high-risk areas. The
request should be justified by a reasoned security risk assessment
and the contractor and its personnel should be among those licensed
by the Government of Cyprus to provide such services.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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