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Cyprus shipping faces second Turkish embargo

31/03/2023 10:19

Ships flying the Cypriot flag are faced with a second Turkish embargo, Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanolis stressed on Wednesday, noting that there is not only an embargo on docking in Turkish ports, but Cypriot-flagged ships are prevented from transporting grain or other products from and to Ukraine in the framework of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

In statements after a meeting with the House Committee on Transport, she pointed out that following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, there was an agreement between Turkey, Ukraine and Russia with the United Nations to ensure the passage of grain from Ukraine.

"Turkey is the country that controls the ships that pass through the Black Sea and thus prevents any ship that carries the Cypriot flag or any ship managed in Cyprus from being part of this process. That's why I have called it a second embargo," she stressed.

It is noted that since 1987, Turkey has prohibited the docking of ships under the Cypriot flag in its ports.

The Deputy Minister said that the ban does not only apply to ships flying the Cypriot flag but also extends to ships managed by Cyprus.

Replying to questions, Hadjimanolis recalled statements made by the Cypriot President that Cyprus will not support a Turkish candidacy for the position of Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as Ankara prevents the docking of ships under Cypriot flag in Turkish ports.

The Deputy Minister of Shipping said that Cyprus intends to be re-elected in the IMO Council for the period 2024 to 2025.

She assured that if a Turkish candidate is elected as head of the International Maritime Organization this will not affect Cyprus, as the operation of the organization is governed by regulations.

Furthermore, she noted that due to the latest international developments and sanctions, unfortunately the Cypriot fleet has been reduced.

Speaking before the House Committee, Hadjimanolis said that the fleet is reduced to 1,663 with a capacity of 22 million tons compared to 1,752 that were registered in the Cypriot registry with a capacity of 25 million tons in July 2021.

Replying to questions by MPs, she noted that both Malta and Italy have reported a drop in their registers, adding that there is no information to show that ships are leaving the Cypriot register to register in another European country.

She also cited data demonstrating the upward trend in the registration of shipping companies, which increased from 273 in 2021 to 302 in 2022.

Regarding the Deputy Ministry's revenue, she said that it increased to €17.3 million  from €16.4 million in 2021. She added that tonnage tax correspond to 50% of the total revenue.

She also said that among the priorities of the Deputy Ministry is the strengthening of the one-stop shipping center framework adding that they already began the process of its implementation.

Regarding the maritime connection between Cyprus and Greece, which was implemented last year after 21 years, she said that in 2023 there will be 22 routes, 14 from Limassol and 8 from Larnaka.