Britain’s shipping line P&O has announced it will be re-flagging its entire UK-registered fleet to Cyprus ahead of Brexit, in order to keep its tax arrangements within the European Union.
P&O had said in December that it would re-flag just two of its U.K. ships operating on the English Channel route to France to the Cyprus registry.
But the company has now decided that six of its 20 ships will be re-flagged, changing their national registration from British to Cypriot.
“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,” a P&O spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday.
“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.”
He said that the decision to re-register the entire English Channel fleet will lead to fewer inspections and delays, “and will result in significantly more favourable tonnage tax arrangements as the ships will be flagged in an E.U. 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.