The Department of Merchant Shipping (DMS) was established and started functioning as a distinct entity in the Ministry of Communications and Works, in 1977. The service existed, however since 1963 and functioned under the Department of Ports.
The Department of Merchant Shipping is responsible for the development of maritime activities which include:
The Cyprus registry ranks tenth among international fleets and third within the European Union, with a merchant fleet exceeding 22 million gross tons.
The main efforts of the Department of Merchant Shipping focus on the harmonisation of the Cyprus legislation to that of the European Union and its effective implementation. At the same time, action is taken for the continuous improvement of the existing infrastructure, the incentives available to both residents and non-residents and the enhancement of the international reputation of the Cyprus flag as a maritime flag.
Particular attention is also given to the protection of the marine environment .