The Department of Merchant Shipping (DMS) has issued consolidated instructions regarding maritime security in respect of ships flying the Cyprus flag.

Communications with DMS

The instructions set out procedures for communications with the DMS and include contact details for all relevant sections of the DMS.

Recognised security organisations

The instructions include a list of classification societies authorised by Cyprus as recognised security organisations with authority to review and approve ship security plans of Cyprus-flagged ships, in accordance with Part A of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and the additional requirements of Cyprus. The organisations are also authorised to conduct all shipboard verifications (interim, initial, intermediate, renewal and additional verifications), and to issue interim and full-term international ship security certificates on behalf of Cyprus, without any additional authorisation from the DMS for the conduct of any shipboard verifications.

Issue of international ship security certificates

The instructions stipulate that if a ship is unable to undergo an initial verification in order to be issued with a full international ship security certificate prior to the expiry of the interim certificate, the owner or manager must submit a written request to the DMS for an extension of the interim certificate, together with justification for the request. If it consents, the DMS will approve an extension for no longer than six months from the original expiry date of the interim certificate.

The instructions also re-emphasise the obligations of recognised security organisations to issue certificates only when there is full compliance with the stipulated requirements. The ship must have an approved ship security plan and there must be objective evidence to show that the ship is operating in accordance with the approved plan. Certificates should not be issued in cases where minor deviations from the approved plan or the requirements of Chapter XI-2 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea or Part A of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code exist, even if these deviations do not compromise the ship's ability to operate at Security Levels 1 to 3. Certificates should not be issued or renewed where failures are identified

Monitoring implementation of EU Regulation 725/2004

In order to help it to monitor implementation of EU Regulation 725/2004 (ISPS Code) on Cyprus-flagged ships and promote closer collaboration with authorised recognised security organisations, the DMS will participate in International Ship and Port Facility Security Code verifications carried out by all recognised security organisations at ports in Cyprus, Germany, Greece and the Netherlands.

Recognised security organisations must provide the DMS with copies of ship security plan approval letters, shipboard verification reports and any follow-up actions and international ship security certificates as they are issued.

Implementation of International Ship and Port Facility Security Code

The instructions include detailed provisions regarding the ship security plan (which must be in Greek or English and any other languages designated by the operator as the command and working languages on board the ship), confidentiality, changes to the plan and designation of company and ship security officers and their alternates.

Incident reporting

In the event of a security incident occurring aboard a Cyprus-flagged ship, the company security office must immediately inform the DMS, using the "Security Incident Report on a Cyprus Ship" form.


The issue of comprehensive instructions regarding security plans and procedures bears testament to the commitment of the DMS and the government to making Cyprus a well-regulated shipping centre.

Originally published in ILO, August 19 2015

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