The vital importance of maritime transport has already been recognised in the White Paper of the European Commission on European transport policy as well as in the Community guidelines on State aid to maritime transport. In its 2004 Guidelines the Community states that 90% of all trade between the Community and the rest of the world is transported by sea and that Community maritime transport is one of the most important in the world. Many third countries apply an open registration policy and enjoy a significant edge over the registers of Member States. The aim of the Community guidelines is beneath other objectives to safeguard quality employment and to stimulate a competitive shipping industry. The European Community clearly states that the campaign undertaken in recent years must be pursued but it must be better targeted. Measures to promote Community seafarers must in particular be the subject of more active monitoring.The aim of the study is to evaluate whether the guidelines on State aid to maritime transport are, nevertheless, too narrow. The study takes into account economic as well as legal effects of the non-inclusion of ship management companies. A special focus is given to the Cypriote tax regime granting ship management companies a special tax relief.