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DepMin: Shipping cannot be victimised

13/10/2022 07:41

Maritime Cyprus, Cyprus’ world-class shipping conference wrapped up in Limassol on Wednesday sending a message that shipping cannot be victimised.

During today’s third day, the conference hosted Andrzej Lasota, a Polish captain who has been imprisoned for almost three years in Mexico.

Vassilis Demetriades, Cyprus’ Deputy Minister for Shipping told CNA that Lasota shared his grim experience as he was detained for 20 months in a Mexican prison after 225 kilos of cocaine were found aboard his Cypriot-flagged ship.

Demetriades said Lasota’s testimony stirred emotions among the participants as he relayed that despite the fact that he had notified the Mexican authorities of the illegal cargo on his ship he had to endure the hardship of imprisonment until his release in 2021.

“We are trying to highlight this issue so that states will realise that seafarers cannot be victimised,” Demetriades said.

Furthermore, today’s works also included a discussion on shipping’s image with Demetriades stressing that “steps should be taken so shipping’s contribution to economies and households could be visible.”

Moreover, the Deputy Minister added that it is important to introduce shipping diplomacy in foreign relations and that shipping should be extrovert, a notion promoted by Cyprus.

Demetriades said that participation in this year’s conference reached a historic high with more than 900 participants from almost 35 countries.

He added that although usually an event which takes place every two years, Maritime Cyprus will be held again in 2023 as it was postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

On his part, Thomas Kazakos, Director-General of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, said the conference was a great success featuring a large number of participants and speakers.

He also highlighted the that the conference dealt with timely issues in combination with high-level participants, including the IMO Secretary- General and the EU Transport Commissioner.