This circular is addressed to all registered owners, registered bareboat charterers, managers, and representatives of ships flying the Cyprus flag, as well as to all recognized organizations.
This circular repeals and replaces Circular No. 08/2023.
In accordance with paragraph 2 of Regulation V/III/1 of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW78) as amended1, for the purpose of preventing drug and alcohol abuse on board Cyprus flagged vessels, we remind you of the following:
Any level of alcohol consumption by crew members on board a ship has implications for the safety of the vessel, the crew, and the passengers. Even small quantities of alcohol have been shown to sufficiently impair judgment and increase the risk of accidents.
Drug abuse is a serious hazard to the crew members, other persons on board, and the security of the vessel.
It is an offense for a professional seafarer to be impaired by drink (or drugs) whilst on duty on board a ship or at any time on board a vessel if they might be required to undertake emergency duties to protect the safety of passengers.
For the purpose of preventing alcohol abuse, a limit of not greater than 0.05% blood alcohol level (BAC) or 0.25mg/l alcohol in the breath of masters, officers, and other seafarers while performing designated safety, security, and marine environmental duties is established2.
In accordance with section 10 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Laws of 1977 to 2020 (Law 29/1977 as amended) in conjunction with sections 5(1)(a) and 5(3) of the Penal Code (Cap.154) as amended, the use of illegal drugs on board Cyprus flagged vessels is prohibited and constitutes a criminal offense.
Paragraph 8 of Section B-VIII/1 of the STCW Code recommends that all companies should consider the implementation of a clearly written policy of drug and alcohol abuse prevention, including a prohibition on the consumption of alcohol four hours prior to serving as a member of a watch. In addition, the ILO publication "Drug and Alcohol Prevention Programs in the Maritime Industry" (A Manual for Planners)3 provides valuable information and should be taken into account4.
The shipowners and ship management companies must: i. Adopt policies and procedures to prevent drug and alcohol abuse on ships; ii. Educate seafarers on the harmful effects and consequences of the unauthorized possession and abuse of drugs and alcohol; iii. Provide guidance to seafarers on safe and sensible alcohol consumption; iv. Identify, at an early stage, seafarers who may be abusing drugs or have an alcohol-related problem; v. Eliminate the presence of unauthorized drugs on ships; vi. Provide confidential advice, support, and assistance to any seafarers known to have drug- or alcohol-related problems; and vii. Provide instructions to seafarers and the shore-based employees responsible for implementing the drug and alcohol policy.
During the DOC Initial, Annual or Renewal Audit of the Company, the Recognized Organization (RO) auditor must monitor the provisions of this Circular with respect to drug and alcohol abuse and document it on his/her report.
During the SMC Initial, Intermediate or Renewal Audit of the Cyprus flagged vessel, the RO auditor must monitor the provisions of this Circular with respect to drug and alcohol abuse and document it on his/her report.
The shipowners and ship management companies, in case they perform the drug and alcohol tests on board ships by themselves, must maintain and calibrate the necessary equipment for these tests at the standards and limits specified by the manufacturer of such equipment and document it. Relevant records must be maintained in accordance with the Ship's Safety Management System and be readily available to RO Auditors during the above-mentioned audits as well as Flag Inspectors during flag inspections.
This Circular must be placed on board vessels flying the Cyprus flag.