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CPA yet to respond to claims of illegal activity at Limassol port, a month later

The Ministry of Transport and Limassol port’s operator DP World are still waiting for the Cyprus Ports Authority (CPA) to respond to claims that illegal activities have been taking place at the port – effectively creating a “port within the port” – a full month after they were first made.

As previously reported by the news site REPORTER citing a well-informed source, DP World Limassol has claimed that a private company has rented out space from the CPA and is illegally operating its own port, within the main port. And the complaint has been filed with the Attorney-general as well as the Auditor-general.

According to the source, the company but also a number of dock workers claim to have evidence showing that ships managed by the private company have been carrying cargo, but instead declaring on their approach to Limassol port that they are transporting spare parts. This evidence, they said, has been submitted along with specific data on the ships and dates.

The source said this was causing a chain reaction of problems at the port and particularly in terms of the concession contract that was signed between DP World Limassol and the state, which explicitly states that all port operations belong exclusively to the Operator. It appears this clause is now being violated.

The Limassol port’s operator filed an official complaint with the Transport Ministry at the beginning of April, asking it to take measures to protect both the rights of the Republic of Cyprus (potential loss of income from illegal activity), as well as the contract that has been signed between the two sides. The Ministry, in turn, asked for a full report from the CPA in a bid to get the full picture of the situation.

Asked to comment, Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades told REPORTER: “The Ports Authority is conducting an investigation and it still has not reached any conclusions and so I am still waiting. Limassol port is divided into sections where three-four companies are active and based on the complaints, what is happening is within the area of the Ports Authority. It is conducting an investigation right now and I am waiting to be briefed so I can find out what happened and know which measures to take.”

The CPA probe had been requested as soon as the claims were made by DP World Limassol, with the scientific team in charge of managing the port’s contract reacting immediately and asking for the Authority’s position.

“The first step was taken, I asked for an investigation by the Ports Authority, however nothing has changed. The claims were made at the beginning of this month and we are expecting the answers within the next few days and we will take the necessary measures accordingly,” said Vafeades. “We need to see everything that is going on in order to have the full picture. We are on hold right now.”

Once he has both sides of the story, said Vafeades, he will examine the situation and take the necessary decisions.

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