Tuesday, 17 November 2009

LL13171 (or how to register a small sailing dinghy in Cyprus)

Yes, I finally have a registered boat!

After the capsize in the summer I was strictly informed by the Department of Merchant Shipping that my Wayfarer Galini must be registered. It has taken from then till now to do so.

Now here is what I understand of the law from going through this process. All small boats over 2.5 metres in lenght that sail on the territorial waters of Cyprus must be registered. The Department of Merchant Shipping [we'll call them the DMS from now on] have an extensive website and a page dedicated to the registration of small vessels. Here's what they say by way of introduction:
All recreational craft should be registered either in the Register of Cyprus Ships (these vessels are permitted to sail in national and international waters) or in the Register of Small Vessels (these vessels are permitted to sail only in the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus).

Recreational craft are registered in the Register of Cyprus Ships, in accordance with the provisions of the Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships, Sales and Mortgages) Law 45/63, as amended or the Register of Small Vessels, in accordance with the Emergency Powers (Control of Small Vessels) Regulations of 1955.

Ships that are not registered in Registry of Cyprus Ships are:

(α) ships having an overall length less than thirteen (13) metres, employed solely in navigation on the coast of the Republic or of the Sovereign Base Areas;

(b) ships not having a whole or fixed deck and employed solely in fishing, lightering or trading coastwise on the shore of the Republic or of the Sovereign Base Areas or within such a radius therefrom as may be prescribed.

Under regulation 13 of the Emergency Powers (Control of Small Vessels) Regulations of 1955, failure to register a vessel by its owners constitutes a criminal offence.

The define a recreational craft the following way:
any boat of any type intended for sports and leisure purposes of hull length from 2,5 m to 24 m, measured according to the harmonized standard, regardless of the means of propulsion;
So basically if you have a boat over 2.5 metres, sailing, rowing or power you must register if you are to use it on the sea. If you only want to sail within 12 miles of land you must register in the Register of Small Vessels and if you want to sail further than 12 miles from land you must register in the Register of Cyprus Ships.

So Galini registers in the Small Vessels and King Malu in the Cyprus Ships. If you have vessel capable of doing more than 15 knots under power then you will need extra forms completing and some tests of competency and health. The page on the DMS website describes all this, but it is somewhat complicated to wade through.

The forms needed can be download from the website, but they are not linked to from the description page, but another page under downloads called Small Vessels. I expected links from the description page to the forms so spent ages looking on the site not expecting it to be rather obviously under 'downloads'.

Now Galini is a small sailing vessel so I will describe what I needed to do. I should have used a special Bill of Sale for a Small Vessel when I purchased the boat. I didn't and more of that later. I also need an Application for Registration/Transfer of Ownernship/Deletion/Change of name of a Small Vessel form. Because I have a marine band hand held radio [this is very wise to have if you cruise with a small boat] then I also needed a Declaration for License to install and operate radio equipment on small vessels.

The cost of registration is €34.17 and the cost of license for the radio is also €34.17. Both can be paid by cheque made out to the Director of the Department of Merchant Shipping.

So I downloaded the forms, wrote the cheques and sent them off by Akis Express to the DMS. Then started a long dialogue with a very helpful girl in the DMS by the name of Elena who walked me through the process. First thing she needed was two photos of Galini, which I took and then emailed to her.

Then there was the problem of the lack of bill of sale. Now here was two problems. Firstly I didn't have one, it was a gentleman's agreement witnessed by two other members of the sailing club and secondly the previous owner hadn't registered the boat as he should, so he might get into trouble. However, I had totally forgotten and lost the contact details for the previous owner so he was not going to get into trouble, but that meant I had a boat but no bill of sale.

So I had to write an Affadavit and get it signed and stamped by the Larnaka Court. The wording of this was important to identify the boat clearly and to swear on oath that I had purchased it, that she had not been registered and that she had been kept at my home or the sailing club. I got the text approved and went down to the court house and then sent the duly stamped Affadavit down to the DMS.

The Affadavit had to have so much detail because Galini doesn't have a hull identification number, it is unknown who the builder was and unknown year of build. From the sail number and Wayfarer version I could approximate the year and be pretty sure it was a UK builder, but all this had to be specified in the Affadavit.

Now I have a 2.5 HP Yamaha outboard that belongs to Tim and is on loan to me. That complicated things and eventually sorted it so that it is registered on my boat.

The process proceeded and a final complication arose. Was Galini in Cyprus before Cyprus accession to the EU? I was pretty sure she was as everyone I had spoken to had seen her at the club for years before I bought her. This was all relating to tax and VAT. So I then had to get letter from the chairman of the sailing club to the DMS confirming that the boat had been on club premises prior to Cyprus accession into the EU.

Then the DMS could proceed and eventually I got my registration. I am still waiting for the radio license... What I would love to know is how many of the small sailing boats around Cyprus are registered. I have met none other than Galini myself yet...