Archive News


30 Apr 2008 - by Intership Navigation

Cyprus' shipping industry and political leadership gathered in Limassol for the annual general meeting of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC) to take stock of the industry's latest achievements, as well as to reiterate the need for the closer collaboration between state and industry to establish Cyprus as an international maritime centre.

"The development of Merchant Shipping does not only take on important economic dimensions, but it also has political consequences," said President Demetris Christofias addressing the meeting's participants. "In a small state, part of which is occupied, the fact that the Cyprus flag is hoisted on ships across the globe is indeed meaningful. The active participation of Cyprus in international maritime organisations enhances the Republic's status, something which in turn adds to the image of our country and has positive political prolongations," he added.

Addressing the meeting, the President of the House of Representatives, Mr. Marios Karoyan said that the shipping industry could act as the core of Cyprus' economic development strategy. "I am of the opinion that the shipping sector should be at the epicenter of every strategic planning which concerns new opportunities for the Cyprus economy in the future. This is a must, if we consider today's challenges and the opportunities available in this new era. The state turns to the shipping sector with particular attention, and I am sure that with everyone's co-operation, this sector can become the main element of a modern strategic development," Mr. Karoyian said.

A stocktaking of recent developments in Cyprus shipping focuses on two main successes: the establishment of the Cyprus Flag as a quality flag, and the presence of a strong shipping industry on the island, operating mainly from Limassol. The Cyprus Flag is in the 'White Lists' of both the Paris and Tokyo Memoranda of Understanding on Port State control. An audit under the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Voluntary Scheme also revealed that the flag complies with all mandatory international shipping regulations.

"One can clearly conclude that Cyprus as a flag of quality has all the necessary means to bring substantial importance to European as well as international shipping, and at the same time expand and develop its Flag even further. Thus, any unfounded accusations of the past concerning the Cyprus Flag being a so-called 'flag of convenience' or a substandard flag, can no longer be substantiated," said Captain Dirk Fry, President of CSC.

The CSC presently has 130 member-companies, which collectively own, manage and control a fleet of 2170 ships, with a tonnage of 43 million gross tons. This promotes the image of a successful shipping industry centre. "It is no longer a best-kept secret that Cyprus, and more particularly, Limassol, is considered to be the largest third-party ship management centre in the EU and one of the top three largest in the world, an impressive and politically prestigious position to have as a shipping centre," Captain Fry explained. He also referred to the challenges presently facing Cyprus Shipping, including the Turkish ban on Cyprus ships, the taxation of shipping companies, the issue of social security of EU seafarers on Cyprus ships and the need for the creation of a permanent directorate on shipping. The Minister of Communications and Works Mr. Nicos Nicolaides also referred to these issues and assured the CSC that the Republic would be pushing these issues at EU level.

"To this end, the government will spare no effort in aiming to convince the EU that the cornerstone of Europe's potential success in the maritime sector, in the years to come, is the maintenance and enhancement of its competitiveness. The latter can only be achieved by the adoption of flexible rules, policies and arrangements, thus creating a favourable climate for maritime business within the Community," Mr. Nicolaides said.

At yesterday's general meeting, the CSC announced the decision to change its name from Cyprus Shipping Council to the Cyprus Shipping Chamber. The decision to change the association's name was reached unanimously at an extraordinary general meeting that preceded yesterday's annual gathering.

"We believe that the new name will better project our membership structure and spectrum of activities. The renaming will enhance our image as an association, reflecting the fact that we are the official representatives of the shipping sector," said Mr. Thomas Kazakos, General Director CSC.