Republic of Cyprus

International Legal Framework


According to international law and the legislation of the Republic of Cyprus, the maritime zones of the Republic of Cyprus are the Territorial Sea, the Contiguous Zone, the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf. The maritime zones of Cyprus are measured from the baselines, the coordinates of which the Republic of Cyprus submitted to the United Nations in 1993. The waters lying on the landward side of the baselines constitute the internal waters of Cyprus (these, also, include ports, rivers and lakes).


The legal framework governing the maritime zones is based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was ratified by the Republic of Cyprus by virtue of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ratifying) Law of 1988 (Law No. 203/1988). The 1982 Convention was ratified by the Republic of Cyprus on 12.12.1988 and entered into force on 16.11.1994. In view of that, the 1982 Convention is applicable to the maritime zones of the Republic of Cyprus, whilst the laws governing the maritime zones are interpreted and implemented in accordance with the 1982 Convention, which is otherwise referred to as the “Constitution for the Oceans”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in its own initiative and with the accord of the Attorney-General of the Republic and the Minister of Justice and Public Order, undertook the coordination of the government’s efforts to review and reform the legal framework with regards to the maritime zones and the maritime resources of the Republic of Cyprus. The project concerns the review of the legislation (primary and secondary), which establishes and regulates the regime of the maritime zones, where the Republic of Cyprus exercises sovereignty or sovereign and other rights and jurisdictions, and which allocates competences to governmental authorities in relation to these zones. The purpose of this project is the harmonisation of the legislation with international law and, in particular, the 1982 Convention, as well as the European Union legal framework, including the policies of the European Union concerning the Integrated Maritime Policy and the Maritime Spatial Planning.


List of international agreements relating to the sea to which the Republic of Cyprus is a contracting party:

  • The International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules concerning the Immunity of State Ships (1926)
  • Convention regarding the Regime of Straits with Protocol (Montreux) (1936)
  • International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (1946)
  • International Convention for the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (1946)
  • The International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules relating to Penal Jurisdiction in Matters of Collision or other Incidents of Navigation (1952)
  • Convention on the Continental Shelf (1958)*
  • Convention on the High Seas (1958)*
  • Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (1965)
  • International Convention on Load Lines (1966)
  • International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships (1969)
  • International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (1971)
  • The Special Trade Passenger Ships Agreement (1971)
  • Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (1972)
  • Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter – Dumping Convention (1972)
  • The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea from Ships – MARPOL Convention (1973/1978)
  • International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (1974)
  • Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution and Protocols (1976) (Barcelona Convention)
    - Dumping Protocol
    - Prevention and Emergency Protocol
    - LBS Protocol
    - Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity Protocol
    - Offshore Protocol
    - Hazardous Wastes Protocol
    - ICZM Protocol
  • Convention on the International Maritime Satellite Organization (1976)
  • Convention concerning Minimum Standards in Merchant Ships (1976)
  • The Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (1976)
  • International Conventions on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (1978)
  • International Convention on Search and Rescue – SAR Convention (1979)
  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982)
  • Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation – SUA Convention (1988)
  • Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context – ESPOO Convention (1991)
  • Protocol to amend the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 29 November 1969 (1992)
  • European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (1992)
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (1992)
  • FAO Agreement to promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (1993)
  • Energy Charter Treaty (1994)
  • Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area - ACCOBAMS (1996)
  • International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (2001)
  • International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (2001)
  • Maritime Labour Convention (2006)
  • Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (2007)

* The Republic of Cyprus had acceded to two of the four Geneva Conventions of 1958, namely the Convention on the Continental Shelf and the Convention on the High Seas. The 1958 Conventions have been replaced by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982; however, they continue to be in force in relation to contracting parties, if they are not contracting parties to the 1982 Convention.


International organisations relating to the sea to which the Republic of Cyprus is a member:
  • United Nations
  • International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  • International Hydrographic Organization (IHO)
  • General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)
  • Energy Charter
  • International Renewable Energy Agency
  • United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (EuroGOOS, CIESM)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – fisheries
  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS)
  • Eurogeosurveys
  • The International Seismological Centre
  • European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre
  • Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)
  • Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER)
  • European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG)
  • European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSOE)
  • Association of the Mediterranean Transmission System Operators (Med-TSO)
  • Mediterranean Energy Regulators Association (MedReg)
  • Euro-Mediterranean Gas Platform
  • Euro-Mediterranean Electricity Platform
  • Euro-Mediterranean Energy-Efficiency Platform
  • International Gas Union (IGU)
  • Energy Community

No documents found