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Hadjimanolis: Cypriot-flagged ships increased 5.5% in past six months

Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanolis said that the fleet of sea-going vessels registered under the Cypriot flag has shown a significant increase of 5.5% (or approximately 1.1 million tons) in the last six months.

Hadjimanolis, who presented at a press conference the work and actions of the Deputy Ministry during the first year of the government under President Nikos Christodoulides, noted that in addition to the long-term support of shipowners who traditionally choose and trust the Cypriot flag, there has been increased interest from new shipowners and shipping companies, who have registered their ships in the Cypriot registry.

She added that strengthening the Cypriot registry was one of the first priorities set from the very beginning and noted that by implementing a specific action plan, a substantial increase in the capacity of the Cypriot fleet was achieved, after approximately two years of continuous decline.

"The dynamic of the Cypriot flag is gaining a new impetus", she underlined. She also stated that in the last 12 months there has been a significant increase of 14% in the number of companies in the European Union approved Tonnage Tax System, reaching 420.

Moreover, she noted that maritime passenger connection between Cyprus and Greece has operated with great success for the second consecutive year, with more than 7,400 passengers, more than 2,400 cars and motorcycles and more than 250 pets.

"These numbers show that this maritime connection is both necessary and has prospects to be sustainable," she added, noting that it will operate for a third consecutive year and begin on May 29th.

The Deputy Minister of Shipping referred to the importance of the shipping sector for the economy and development of Cyprus, but also to the important role that Cyprus plays internationally as a maritime state.

"Our country is a world-renowned maritime complex, which includes a wide range of activities related to shipping", she said, adding that "the upgrading of our services, the high quality of service, the safety of ships, the expertise and know-how of the staff, the efficiency and flexibility, as well as the important bilateral agreements with other countries have established the Cypriot shipping as an important pillar of development and the Cypriot flag as one of the most reliable and competitive in global shipping", she underlined.

Furthermore, the Deputy Minister referred to 2023 that marked 60 years since the establishment of the Cypriot registry and spoke of "a brilliant course" that makes us all "proud".

"Without a doubt we feel proud of the progress of the past 60 years. Our aim is to achieve even higher goals and to further strengthen the competitiveness of Cypriot shipping, the Cypriot registry and the Cyprus maritime complex. Our efforts will be focused on cooperation with the ship-owning and maritime community of Cyprus and abroad, as well as on the implementation of even more actions", she stressed.

Hadjimanolis said that they designed and are implementing a specific action plan to promote the Cypriot registry in Cyprus and abroad, which includes targeted actions, with the ultimate goal of attracting new quality vessel to the Cypriot registry.

"The impressive rise of the Cypriot flag from 13th place to 8th place on the PARIS MoU White List confirms the high standards of quality and safety of ships flying the Cypriot flag and reflects the efforts we are making to improve control and surveillance practices and strengthens the prestige and credibility of the Cypriot registry", she noted. Hadjimanolis added that a legislative framework was adopted to further strengthen the safety levels of navigation and the protection of the marine environment.

The Deputy Minister recalled that the Council of Ministers has approved a revised series of green incentives to reward ships that demonstrate effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. "From January 2024, the annual tonnage tax of ships registered in the Cypriot registry has been reduced by up to 30% for each ship that demonstrates measures to reduce impact on the climate, ensuring that shipowners are rewarded for sustainable shipping efforts," she added.

She also recalled that the Council of Ministers decided to grant state land for the construction of the new building of the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, and that necessary steps towards this goal have already begun.

Hadjimanolis referred to the One Stop Shipping Center that began operation in November, the actions towards a full digital transformation, while she described as very important "our re-election to the Council of the International Maritime Organization for 2024-2025, despite the challenges we had to face due to the current international geopolitical conditions".

The Deputy Minister of Shipping said that the commitment to promote gender equality in the shipping industry is implemented through various actions and noted as an "important recognition of our efforts the decision of the International Maritime Organization to choose the candidate of Cyprus for the first Gender Equality Award of the International Maritime Organization".

She also spoke about the steps to bring the new generation closer to careers in the shipping sector, while referring to the upgrading of the "Maritime Cyprus 2023" conference, that was organized last October, she referred to a record participation of more than 1000 delegates from 35 countries, "establishing it as one of the best and highest quality shipping conferences in the world".

Concluding, Hadjimanolis announced that upon the initiative of the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, the Republic of Cyprus will organize the first Commonwealth Ministerial Meeting on the Oceans on April 18 and 19, 2024. The theme of the Meeting, she said, will be "Our Resilient Common Ocean: From Cyprus to Samoa" with the participation of more than 30 countries of the Commonwealth.

(Source: CNA)

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