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New Cyprus-India agreement on merchant shipping

A new reciprocal agreement on merchant shipping between Cyprus and India was signed in New Delhi on April 28 2017. The agreement entered into force on November 29 2017, replacing an earlier agreement dated February 11 1997. The most significant provisions of the new agreement are as follows.

Each country must treat the other country’s vessels in the same way as it treats its own vessels engaged in international voyages in respect of free access to ports, the use of ports for loading and unloading cargo and embarking and disembarking passengers and the payment of dues and taxes based on tonnage or otherwise, in accordance with national laws and regulations, exercising normal commercial operations and engaging in services relating to navigation (Article 5).
Each country must recognise identification documents issued by the competent authorities of the other country to crew members who are nationals of that country (Article 7).

While a vessel of one country is in a port in the other, all crew must be permitted temporary shore leave in the municipality to which the port belongs and the territories of adjacent municipalities without any visa being required, provided that:

  • they can show the relevant identification under Article 7; and
  • the master of the vessel has submitted a crew list to the appropriate authorities at the port in accordance with the regulations in force in that port (Article 8).

If a vessel of one country is shipwrecked, runs aground, is cast ashore or suffers any other accident off the coast of the other country, the vessel and the cargo are entitled to the same benefits and privileges and are subject to the same liabilities that apply to the host country’s ships and their cargo. The crew and passengers are entitled to the same level of assistance available to the crew and passengers of the host country’s ships (Article 10).

The taxation of income of any kind derived from the use of vessels in international traffic is governed by the double tax agreement between the two countries (Article 11(1)).(1)

Residents of one country who are employed on vessels of the other are subject to tax on income from that employment only in the country in which the vessel is registered and whose flag it flies (Article 11(2)).

Freight income obtained from the operation in international traffic of vessels of one country by enterprises established in accordance with national legislation will be exempt from fees and taxes of any kind in the other country (Article 11(3)).

Shipping enterprises of one country may use income and other revenue deriving from maritime transport operations obtained in a freely convertible currency within the other country’s territory for the purpose of making payments in that territory and may remit any surplus funds abroad (Article 11(4)).
Source: Elias Neocleous & Co LLC

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