Ferry company and freight operator P&O is to re-flag its UK registered vessels to Cyprus to keep its tax arrangements in the EU ahead of Brexit.
“In advance of Britain leaving the European Union on March 29, 2019 we undertook a review of the flag status of our ships on the English Channel. For operational and accounting reasons, we have concluded that the best course of action is to re-flag all ships to be under the Cyprus flag,” a spokesman for the UK-based company said in a statement.
“The Cyprus flag is on the `white list` of both the Paris and Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding, resulting in fewer inspections and delays, and will result in significantly more favourable tonnage tax arrangements as the ships will be flagged in an EU member state."
“We have no plans to make any other changes, including the terms and conditions of any of our seafarers, as a result of the new arrangements," he added.
Last month P&O announced it would re-flag two of its UK ships working the English Channel passage to Cyprus – and will now transfer the remaining four.
In 2006 the company was sold to Dubai’s DP World.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union has previously described P&O's reflagging of UK ships as "pure opportunism", claiming the firm's "long-term aim has always been to switch the UK fleet to a tax haven register".
Source: the national.aer