Federal Law on the Repatriation of Seamen
Ata Atun, Clelia Theodolou, Other Committee Members
Federal Law on the Implementation of the Convention Concerning the Repatriation of Seamen
This Law may be cited as the Federal Law on the Implementation of the Repatriation of Seamen Convention, 1926 (ILO No. 23)
2.(1) In this Law, unless the context otherwise requires–
“Article” means an article of the Convention;
“Company” means the owner of the ship or any other organisation or person such as the manager or the bareboat charterer, who has assumed the responsibility for the operation of the ship from the owner and who on assuming the responsibility has agreed to take over all duties and responsibilities of the owner under this Law, the Convention and the Regulations made for its implementation;
“Competent Authority” means the competent authority provided for in section 4;
“Convention” means the Repatriation of Seamen Convention, 1926 (ILO No. 23);
“Court” means a court of competent jurisdiction;
“Cyprus” means the United Cyprus Republic;
“Cyprus seagoing ship” means a Cyprus ship which is used in international navigation;
“Cyprus port” means a harbour basin within Cyprus and includes its anchorages and roadsteads;
“Cyprus ship” has the meaning assigned to it by the Federal Law on Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships, Sales, and Mortgages);
“Department” means the Department having the responsibility for maritime affairs;
“Foreign ship” means a ship which is not a Cyprus ship;
“Gazette” means the federal Official Gazette;
“Minister” means the member of the Presidential Council heading the Department;
“Owner” means the person who owns the ship or a share therein and is registered as such in the Register of Ships of the flag state;
“Prescribed” means prescribed by a public instrument;
“Presidential Council” includes the Transitional Federal Government referred to in Article 41 of the Constitution of the United Cyprus Republic;
“Public instrument” includes regulations and orders published in the Gazette and instructions, directions, notices, notifications and circulars made or issued under this Law;
“Recognized bank” means a commercial bank registered with the Central Bank of Cyprus;
“Recognised organisation” has the meaning assigned to it by the Federal Law on Merchant Shipping (Recognition and Authorisation of Organisations).
“Ships” in this Law means the “vessel” as defined in Article 2(a).
(2) Words and phrases used in this Law and not defined herein, have the meaning assigned to them by the Convention.
(3) For the purposes of this Law, the English text of the Convention prevails.
3 This Law applies to Cyprus seagoing ships subject to the provisions of the Convention irrespective of where they may be and to all seamen employed or engaged in any capacity on such ships.
4.(1) The Competent Authority for the application of the provisions of this Law, the Convention and the Regulations made for its implementation, shall be the Directorate of Maritime Affairs .
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Competent Authority shall have all the powers and competencies which by virtue of the Convention may or are required to be exercised by Cyprus as a Party to the Convention and as a Member of the International Labour Organisation, except those which have been specifically reserved, under this Law, for the Member and has the power-
(a) to inspect Cyprus seagoing ships, irrespective of where they may be and to detain, if necessary, such ships;
(b) to communicate to the International Labour Organisation and the International Labour Office information in accordance with the provisions of the Convention;
(c) to initiate criminal proceedings under this Law;
(d) to determine the terms and conditions of bank and personal guarantees;
(e) to impose administrative fines under this Law in accordance with the directions of the Member to this end.
5.(1) The Member shall be the supervising authority for all matters under this Law.
(2) For the purposes of this Law, the Convention, and the Regulations made for its implementation the Member has the power-
(a) to hear and decide upon hierarchical recourses in accordance with this Law;
(b) to issue instructions and/or directions to the Competent Authority for the better implementation of this Law, the Convention and the Regulations made for its implementation;
to authorize the Competent Authority to issue instructions and/or directions to
the owners, masters or any other person related to Cyprus seagoing ships;
(d) to issue directions indicating contraventions of this Law, the Convention, and the Regulations made for their implementation and the range of corresponding administrative fines for each such contravention:
Provided always that the Competent Authority retains the right of deciding freely the amount of the administrative fine to be imposed under this Law, on the basis of the facts and merits of each particular case, in exercise of its discretionary power, so long as such discretion is exercised within the framework of such directions.
(3) The Member may authorise the inspection of any Cyprus seagoing ship, subject to the provisions of this Law, to surveyors nominated for the purpose or to recognized organizations.
Port or place of repatriation
(4). A seaman upon termination of his employment shall have the right to choose the port or place to which it will be repatriated among the places provided alternatively in Article 3(1); the seaman may, however, exercise this right in advance, irrevocably, at the time of signing of the contract of employment.
Duty to repatriate seamen left behind
(5) In all the cases stipulated in Article 4, the owner of the Cyprus seagoing ship shall, at its own cost and expense, provide for and take all necessary steps for the repatriation of the seamen employed or engaged on the ship.
Prohibition of Abandonment
(6) The abandonment of a seaman at any port or place without previously making specific provisions for the duration of the stay of the seaman at the said port or place and/or without providing for and taking all the necessary steps for the repatriation of the seaman shall be prohibited.
Subsidiary Responsibility of Cyprus
(7) Cyprus shall undertake the responsibility for repatriation of the seaman who has been abandoned by the owner and shall incur all the expenses relating to such repatriation.
(8) In case Cyprus repatriates a seaman under sub-section (7), the seaman automatically assigns, from the moment that Cyprus incurs the repatriation expenses, his rights against the owner relating to repatriation and, in such cases, the claim of Cyprus against the owner shall amount to the incurred repatriation expenses increased by 50 percent.
Discharge of the Owner and of Cyprus of the responsibility to repatriate
(9) In case a seaman has been discharged and abandoned by the owner due to the willful misconduct of the seaman, neither the owner nor Cyprus shall have any responsibility for the repatriation of such a seaman and/or incur any expenses relating to repatriation.
6.(1) The sailing of ships, which are subject to the provisions of this Law, is prohibited for as long as they do not comply with the requirements of this Law, the Convention, and the Regulations made for its implementation.
(2) If during the inspection, by the Competent Authority, of any Cyprus ship under this Law, the Competent Authority ascertains any contravention of this Law, the Convention, and the Regulations made for its implementation, the Competent Authority shall confirm to the master the particular contravention in writing, call the master to explain the situation in writing and issue an order prohibiting the ship from sailing until the Competent Authority is satisfied that-
(a) the contraventions have been rectified; and
(b) the charges for the inspection of the ship, in order to confirm the rectification of the contraventions have been paid by or on behalf of the ship; and.
(c) in case of an administrative fine being imposed in accordance with the provisions of this Law, such fine has been paid.
(3) An order prohibiting the ship from sailing under sub-section (2) shall also include information about the right to hierarchical recourse under this Law.
7.(1) A master, who attempts to sail in contravention of the prohibition of sailing imposed on the ship under the provisions of this Law or who contravenes the provisions of this Law or of the Convention or who abandons a seaman, shall be guilty of an offence, and upon conviction, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to a fine not exceeding five thousand pounds, or to both such sentences.
(2) The owner, the Company, the agent of the ship or any other person who knowingly aids and/or assists in the commission of an offence under sub-section (1) commits the same offence.
(3) A fine imposed under this Law shall be paid to the Federal Government.
(4) For the purposes of this section, the competent Court, in case of a ship committing an offence under sub-section (1), whilst within any Cyprus port, is the competent Court of the respective constituent State, and in all other cases the competent Court is the Supreme Court of Cyprus.
8.(1) Contravention of the provisions of this Law, the Convention, and the Regulations made for their implementation, shall be punishable, notwithstanding whether a case of criminal or disciplinary liability arises under any other legal provision, with an administrative fine not exceeding five thousand pounds, depending on the seriousness of the contravention.
(2) An administrative fine under sub-section (1) shall be imposed on the owner or the Company or the master, by a reasoned decision of the Competent Authority confirming the contravention.
(3) The amount of any fine imposed under sub-sections (1) and (2), shall be calculated in each case on the basis of directions issued by the Member under this Law.
(4) The Competent Authority shall notify in writing the person, on whom an administrative fine has been imposed under sub-sections (1) and (2), of its decision imposing the administrative fine and, in case the sailing of the ship has been prohibited under this Law, it shall not allow lifting of the order prohibiting the ship from sailing under this Law, until the administrative fine has been paid, or a bank guarantee issued by a recognized bank of equal amount for the benefit of and with terms satisfying the Competent Authority has been deposited.
(5) A notification under sub-section (4) shall also include information about the right to hierarchical recourse under this Law.
(6) Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-section (4), the sailing of a detained ship which calls regularly in Cyprus may be exceptionally allowed, for only one single return voyage, without the previous payment of the administrative fine imposed or the deposit of a bank guarantee as provided above is effected, so as not to disrupt regular transport services or for any other exceptional reasons, or if the prompt production of a bank guarantee has proved practically impossible-
(a) if the Member approves the sailing of the ship; or
(b) a personal guarantee for the benefit of and with terms satisfying the Competent Authority has been deposited on behalf of the ship.
In such a case the administrative fine due shall be paid on the first return of the ship to Cyprus.
(7) Administrative fines and bank guarantees shall be paid to the Federal Government.
9.(1) A recourse may be filed with the Member against-
(a) an order of the Competent Authority prohibiting the sailing of a ship under this Law; or
(b) a decision of the Competent Authority imposing an administrative fine under this Law.
(2) A recourse under sub-section (1) shall be filed-
(a) within seventy two hours from the time of issue of the order prohibiting the sailing of the ship;
(b) within thirty days from the date of notification of the decision to impose an administrative fine in the case of a contravention confirmed in a Cyprus port;
(c) within sixty days from the date of notification of the decision to impose an administrative fine of a contravention confirmed in a foreign port.
(3) A recourse under sub-section (1) shall not suspend the execution of an order prohibiting the sailing of the ship or of a decision imposing an administrative fine.
(4) The Member shall examine the hierarchical recourse and shall, after having heard the interested parties or having given them an opportunity to express their views in writing, issue a decision on the recourse pursuant to sub-section (5)-
(a) in case the recourse relates to an order prohibiting the sailing of a ship, not later than twenty-four hours;
(b) in case the recourse relates to a decision imposing an administrative fine, not later than ten days;
from the time of the last hearing or of the receipt of the written submissions of the interested parties.
(5) The Member may decide-
(a) to confirm the challenged order or decision; or
(b) to declare the challenged order or decision null and void; or
(c) to amend the challenged decision; or
(d) to issue a new decision in substitution for the challenged decision.
(6) A decision under sub-section (5) shall also include information about the right to a recourse to the Supreme Court of Cyprus in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Law on the Administration of Justice.
(7) A recourse under sub-section (6) shall not suspend the execution of a decision under sub-section (5).
(8) The Competent Authority shall collect any amounts due under a bank guarantee in relation to an administrative fine imposed under this Law-
(a) if no recourse to the Member is filed under subsection (1), after the lapse of the time limits specified in sub-sections (2)(b) or (c); or
(b) if no recourse to the Supreme Court of Cyprus is filed against a decision made by the Member under sub-section (5), after the lapse of seventy five days from the date of the notification of the decision of the Member; or
(c) upon the issue of a decision of the Supreme Court of Cyprus dismissing the case.
10. In case of failure to pay an administrative fine imposed under this Law, the Competent Authority may take steps for the collection of the amount due as a civil debt.
11. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other Law, fines or administrative fines imposed under this Law, as well as any charges for the inspection of the ship after its sailing has been prohibited under this Law, and any expenses incurred by Cyprus in repatriating an abandoned seamen, constitute a charge on the ship and shall be satisfied in priority against any other creditors, subject to their ranking after the last mortgage.
12.(1) The Presidential Council may make Regulations published in the Gazette for prescribing or regulating any matter, which, according to the provisions of this Law and the Convention, needs to, or may, be prescribed or regulated.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of sub-section (1), the Regulations made under that subsection may provide for a fine of up to five thousand pounds for the contravention of any of these regulations.