Firm Profile > Montanios & Montanios LLC > Nicosia, Cyprus

Montanios & Montanios LLC
DIAGORAS HOUSE
16 PANTELIS CATELARIS STREET
1097 NICOSIA
Cyprus

Maritime and admiralty Tier 1

Montanios & Montanios LLC is praised for its ‘exceptional quality of service’ and for its ‘ability to cover the full spectrum of maritime law matters’ by being ‘devoted to its clients and always making themselves available even on short notice’. It has a full service maritime and shipping practice that deals with all aspects of shipping, ship financing and admiralty matters. Its client base includes P&I clubs, ship owners, ship management companies and banks. Acis Montanios, Adam Montanios and Eric Montanios are all praised for ‘ensuring that high-quality legal documents are produced’ and that ‘there is a ‘strict adherence to deadlines for all ship financing transactions’. It is a ‘high-quality team with good contacts and a goood relationship with the ship registry.’

Practice head(s):

Acis Montanios; Adam Montanios

Other key lawyers:

Eric Montanios; Maria Toumazi; Petros Iacovides; Nicolas Montanios; Elvina Montanios; Helen Georgiades

Testimonials

‘Efficient, customer-tailored solutions. Prompt, pertinent and accurate advice regarding any issues faced. Pleasant cooperation. Integrity. Particular value is assigned to the direct contribution and involvement of the firm’s senior partners in all transactions.’

‘Very good personal service; responsive; able to work as a team; large enough to handle bigger and more complex instructions, whilst still retaining the “family feel”. Adam Montanios is a very experienced practitioner with a good manner; Nicholas Montanios is learning fast’.

‘Long presence in the shipping sector, excellent knowledge of all relevant legal matters, expertise and efficiency in resolving problems, excellent co-ordination and co-operation with other law firms abroad’.

We feel extremely comfortable in dealing with numerous people from this firm because of their knowledge and ability to apply this knowledge to the cases before them. The team is vastly experienced and you feel that you are in very safe hands. We highly recommend Acis, Adam, Eric Montanios and Maria Toumazi. They are able to give first-class objective advice on time. We consider them to be experts in their field and feel very comfortable in the knowledge that they will give the best advice possible’.

‘The biggest advantage of M&M is that it is standing on solid foundations with a long and traditional maritime law background which has developed into a strong team of experienced as well as young aspiring law practitioners. Working with M&M gives you a feeling of assurance. It is long established in the market and always strives for high quality results. Adam Montanios has broad knowledge on maritime law and always provides excellent advice, guidance and support. Petros Iacovides has proved his capacity and extensive experience in litigation and admiralty law’.

‘Helen Georgiades is my contact for ship registration matters. Adam Montanios for more corporate issues. Both are very responsive, pragmatic and sensible and good to work with.’

‘The partners in the firm are like family and act as family both between them, but are also capable of developing personal long term relationships with their clients’.

‘The very high and solid education, attention to details, and thorough approach to every situation. Acis Montanios, Eric Montanios, Adam Montanios and Maria Toumazi are stand-out partners. Always ready to act in the clients’ best interests, great knowledge of the law and an exceptional provision of services at any time’.

Key clients

Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd

Safe Bulkers Management Ltd

Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement S.A.

Olympia Ocean Carriers Ltd

Histria Shipmanagement Ltd

Santierul Naval Constanta S.A.

West of England P&I Club

North of England P&I Club

Steamship Mutual P&I Club

Island Oil Limited

Sirios Shipmanagement

Bank of Cyprus

Hellenic Bank

Eurobank Cyprus

Astrobank

The firm: Montanios & Montanios (M & M) is one of the oldest law firms in Cyprus with an international practice. Over the last 70 years, it has acted for a wide spectrum of Cypriot and overseas clients, both corporate and private. It has been involved in a great number of local and international shipping corporate and commercial transactions and has represented litigation clients before all Cypriot courts (other than criminal and administrative). The firm was founded in 1951 by the late Michael Montanios, a barrister-at-law of the Middle Temple (London), in the port city of Famagusta. In 1966 Eric Monwtanios joined the law practice of his father, which was then registered as a partnership under the name of ‘Montanios & Montanios – Advocates & Legal Consultants’. From 1951 to 15 August 1974, when the Turkish army occupied the city of Famagusta, the chambers of the firm were situated in Famagusta. From 1 September 1974 the practice was relocated to Limassol and in 1979 the partners decided to set up the firm’s head chambers in the capital city of Nicosia, while continuing the operation of the Limassol office. In 2010, following the amendment of the Advocates Law, the M & M partnership was incorporated as an LLC.

Areas of practice
Shipping: the firm advises and assists shipyards, owners, ship managers, and bareboat, time and voyage charterers in connection with the building, sale, purchase, chartering and ship management of vessels internationally. This core business of the firm began in 1967 with the registration of a ship under the Cyprus flag and has expanded to registration of all types of vessels and yachts in international registries worldwide.

Shipping finance: the firm assists banks and financial institutions in relation to the Cypriot aspects of shipping loans, guarantees or other facilities granted to or involving Cypriot companies, including the drafting of mortgages on Cyprus flag vessels, pledges of shares in Cypriot companies and issue of legal opinions on Cyprus law.

Admiralty litigation: the firm acts on the instructions of international law firms in major shipping centres of the world, as well as on instructions directly from shipping clients, for both dry and wet cases. On the instructions of ship financing institutions, the firm’s work also includes the enforcement of mortgages and arrest of ships in Cyprus, as well as providing advice and assistance on similar actions overseas.

P&I and defence: the firm has been, for more than 25 years, the accredited legal correspondent of a number of protection and indemnity and defence clubs and a member of IACS, and has been acting for the commercial correspondents of other P&I associations on the island.

Banking and finance: the firm represents banks and financial institutions in the Cypriot aspects of international loan and other financial transactions and bond issues and IPOs involving Cypriot companies, including preparing security documents and issuing legal opinions.

Corporate and commercial: the firm advises and assists on matters including joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, cross-border transactions, corporate restructuring and company redomiciliation. The firm also provides services including incorporation of companies, administration of company affairs and fiduciary services.

Commercial litigation and arbitration: the firm represents clients in litigation in a wide range of substantive national and international commercial disputes, before the Cypriot courts and arbitral tribunals.

Aircraft and aviation: the firm acts for major international aircraft leasing corporations, international banks and owners regarding the Cypriot aspects of international aircraft transactions, involving the leasing, sale, financing and mortgaging of aircraft and their registration in the Cyprus Aircraft Register, and has acted in the incorporation of aircraft owning and leasing companies. It is the Cyprus member of L2B Aviation.

Trusts and tax: the firm advises and assists local and international clients with Cyprus tax matters, tax structures for company groups, estate planning, trust documentation and administration of international trusts.

Real estate: the firm advises on purchasing/selling immovable property in Cyprus, as well as on leasing residential or business properties.

Wills and succession: the firm assists with drafting, execution and registration of wills, resealing of overseas wills and administration of estates under Cyprus law.

Department Name Email Telephone
Shipping Adam Montanios
Shipping Avra Arestis-Zachariades
Shipping Helen Georgiades
Ship finance Acis Montanios
Ship finance Adam Montanios
Ship finance Maria Toumazi
Ship finance Avra Arestis-Zachariades
Ship finance Anna-Maria Leotsakou
Admiralty litigation Eric Montanios
Admiralty litigation Petros Iacovides
Admiralty litigation Yiannis Papapetrou
P&I and defence Eric Montanios
P&I and defence Petros Iacovides
P&I and defence Yiannis Papapetrou
Banking and finance Maria Toumazi
Banking and finance Avra Arestis-Zachariades
Banking and finance Alki Montanios
Corporate and commercial Adam Montanios
Corporate and commercial Maria Toumazi
Corporate and commercial Elvina Montanios
Corporate and commercial Marina Kalli
Corporate and commercial Glafkos Mitsidis
Commercial litigation and arbitration Petros Iacovides
Commercial litigation and arbitration Yiannis Papapetrou
Aircraft and aviation Eric Montanios
Aircraft and aviation Elvina Montanios
Trusts and tax Acis Montanios
Trusts and tax Elvina Montanios
Trusts and tax George Toumazis
Real estate Acis Montanios
Real estate Marina Kalli
Wills and succession Zoe Montanios
Wills and succession Christina Montanios
Number of lawyers : 22
English
French
Greek
Shiparrested
L2B Aviation
IR GLOBAL
Other offices : Limassol

Shipping in Cyprus

Introduction

Cyprus, a full member of the European Union, has been in the forefront of international shipping for over 6 decades and today it:

  • has the 3rd largest merchant fleet in Europe and the 11th largest globally, and
  • is the largest third-party ship management centre in Europe and amongst the top three worldwide.

The Cyprus flag is a high-quality sovereign flag, which is included in the “White List” of both the Paris and Tokyo MoUs.

Cyprus is an international maritime centre with a constantly growing shipping cluster, hosting more than 200 shipping related companies, including ship owners, charterers, managers and numerous related shipping services, employing more than 5,000 people on shore and 55,000 seafarers aboard Cyprus flag ships.

The Cypriot government has recently established the Shipping Deputy Ministry, to expand the functions and capacity of the ex-Department of Merchant Shipping. Its establishment has been a great success and signalled the government’s dedication to the shipping cluster which accounts to 7% of the country’s GDP. The Deputy Ministry has further enhanced its already excellent level of offered services and now offers a 24/7 service from dedicated maritime specialists in 7 maritime offices around the Globe.

Legal framework

Cyprus is a business-friendly common law jurisdiction.

The registration of ships under Cyprus flag is governed by the Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships Sales and Mortgages) Law of 1963, as amended, which was based on the similarly named English law.

Matters relating to seamen onboard Cyprus flag vessels are governed by the Merchant Shipping (Master and Seamen) Law of 1963, as amended, and all matters relating to working conditions by the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (Ratification) and for Matters Connected Therewith Law of 2012, as amended.

The last major merchant shipping statute is the Merchant Shipping (Fees and Taxing Provisions) Law of 2010, as amended, which deals with all financial matters including the Cyprus tonnage tax system (explained below), which was recently approved by the European Union.

Finally, EU Regulations relating to shipping apply to Cypriot flag vessels and Cyprus has adopted most international shipping conventions.

Registration under Cyprus flag

Pursuant to the Merchant Shipping Law there are two types of ship registrations in Cyprus:

  • ownership registration (provisional and permanent), and
  • bareboat charter (parallel) registration,

and such registrations are effected by the Registrar of Cyprus Ships at the Deputy Ministry of Shipping.

It is also possible when a vessel is not in a Cyprus port at the time of her registration, for provisional (ownership) registration to be effected through a Cyprus Maritime or Consular office abroad (by specific authority of the Registrar of Ships). However, permanent registration and parallel registration can only take place in Cyprus.

A ship may be registered with the Registrar of Cyprus Ships if (a) more than 50% of the shares in the ship are owned by a Cypriot citizen or a citizen of any other EU/ EEA state, or if (b) all 100% of the shares of the ship are owned by a Cyprus or an EU/EEA company or a third Country Company controlled by Cypriot or EU citizens (on certain special conditions).

Furthermore, a vessel may be registered in parallel under Cyprus Flag provided that she is bareboat chartered by a person or entity qualified to own a Cyprus Flag vessel, as per the abovementioned requirements.

Most types of vessels up to 15 years of age are registrable under Cyprus flag but certain restrictions, conditions or additional requirements may be imposed for certain types of older vessels.

Related details are contained in the Government Policy on the Registration of Ships, available in the website of the Deputy Ministry.

No fees are charged by the Registrar for the registration of a vessel under Cyprus Flag. Upon registration, the Registrar may however request for the pre-payment of any applicable tonnage tax, annual maintenance fees and radio license fees.

Tonnage tax system

The Cyprus Tonnage Tax System (TTS) was approved by the European Commission (firstly in 2010 for an initial 10-year period and in 2019 for an additional 10-years period) as compatible with the requirements of the EU acquis and in line with the Guidelines on State aid to maritime transport.

According to the Scheme, it is possible for (a) qualifying owners of Cyprus and foreign ships, (b) charterers, and (c) ship managers, who are approved, to be taxed under the TTS and to therefore be subject to an annual tax referred to as tonnage tax, in lieu of taxation under income or corporate tax. This is calculated on the basis of the net tonnage of the qualifying ships which such persons (physical or legal) own, charter or manage, and be exempted from payment of income tax on their profits.

The following physical or legal persons are eligible for the Cyprus TTS:

(a) An owner of a Cyprus ship who owns a qualifying ship which is engaged in a qualifying shipping activity (and who automatically falls within the TTS scope).

(b) An owner of a foreign ship who owns a qualifying ship which is engaged in a qualifying shipping activity and who:

  • is a tax resident of Cyprus,
  • has opted to be taxed under the TTS, and
  • complies with the “Community–Flagged Share” requirement.

(c) A charterer who charters a qualifying ship engaged in a qualifying shipping activity under bareboat, demise, time, or voyage charter and who:

  • is a tax resident of Cyprus,
  • has opted to be taxed under the TTS, and
  • complies with the “Minimal Share of the Fleet in Ownership – % of Chartered in ship” and the “Community–Flagged Share” requirements.

(d) A ship manager who provides ship management services (crew and/or technical) to a qualifying ship and:

  • is a tax resident of Cyprus,
  • has opted to be taxed under the TTS,
  • maintains a fully-fledged office in Cyprus employing a sufficient (in number and qualifications) personnel, at least 51% of which are EU/EEA citizens, and
  • Complies/satisfies the “Community-Flagged Share” requirement as well as a number of additional requirements.

Vessel Mortgaging

A Cyprus flag vessel may be mortgaged as security for a loan or a guarantee or the obligations of a third party.

The instrument creating such mortgage must take one of two statutory forms, that of securing “Principal Sum with Interest” or an “Account Current”, the latter of which is used in the vast majority of cases.

There must be attached to such mortgage instrument a collateral deed of covenants dealing with all matters relating to the mortgage. The mortgage instrument is signed by the shipowner/mortgagor and the deed of covenants by both the mortgagor and the mortgagee.

A mortgage must be filed for registration in the Ship Register (either directly at the Deputy Ministry or through a Cyprus maritime or consular office abroad – on the instructions of the Deputy Ministry) and its priority is determined according to the date and time of such registration.

Recent developments

The Shipping Deputy Ministry recently announced a new range of green incentives with the aim of rewarding vessels demonstrating effective emissions reductions.

By introducing a host of incentives, they encourage and simultaneously reward shipowners who opt for lower emissions or use alternative drives.

From the fiscal year 2021, annual tonnage tax will be reduced by up to 30% for each vessel that successfully demonstrates proactive measures to reduce its environmental impact, ensuring shipowners are rewarded for sustainable shipping efforts.

Furthermore, the Deputy Ministry is currently undergoing a widescale digitalisation project which is expected to increase both its efficiency and the range of services available through its online portals.

Finally, the Deputy Ministry acted swiftly to adapt to the difficulties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and has issued several circulars taking proactive steps to alleviate many negative aspects of the ongoing crisis. An important development on this front, has been a newly implemented procedure of conducting crew change in Cypriot ports or marinas.