The Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Shipping has issued Circular No. 17/2022 informing registered owners,bareboat charterers, managers and representatives of ships flying the Cyprus flag that arrangements have been made by Cyprus financial institutions, namely, Bank of Cyprus, Hellenic Bank and Eurobank, in order to facilitate the opening of bank accounts for seafarers affected in view of the gravity of the situation in Ukraine.

The aforementioned arrangements by Cyprus banks require the submissions of the below documentation:

1. Copy of passport duly verified as a true copy of the original by the employer or Digital ID (depending on the preference of the relevant financial institution).

2. Proof of address: 

a. Copy of utility bill verified as true copy by the employer, or

b. Employer letter/attestation providing confirmation of the residence address of the seafarer.

3. During the first 6 months after on-boarding, the financial institution may request to hold a virtual meeting (any form of video call) with the client, based on the on-boarding due diligence framework of that institution. 

4. Duly completed and signed by the client, account opening form of the relevant financial institution, verified by the employer as true copy or the client's signature may also be obtained digitally

5. Any other document required by the Financial Institution in order to provide the requested services (Debit Card, WebBanking). Similarly as in 3 above, client's signature will be verified by the employer as true copy or the client's signature may also be obtained digitally. 

6. Current account to be opened with a maximum monthly declared debit and credit turnover equal to the monthly salary of the client. No credit facilities will be assigned to this account. 

7. Debit card will be sent to the employer and pin number will be communicated as per the financial institution's internal policy/procedural framework.

The arrangements contained in the Circular are notwithstanding the arrangements recommended by the Government of Ukraine in relation to payments to Ukrainian seafarers. These are set out in the Note Verbale of the Embassy of Ukraine in London which is attached to IMO Circular Letter No.4519 of 1 March 2022.

It should be noted that the financial institutions do retain a wide degree of discretion and in this respect may request additional documents or screen prospective clients for sanctions and for the purpose of complying with the applicable laws on the prevention of money laundering.

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.