Communication and Works Minister Efthymios Flourentzou has said here on Monday that the Ministry aims not just to maintain Cyprus´ leading role in the world shipping, but to further develop and upgrade Cyprus shipping.
Addressing here on Monday the “Maritime Cluster of Eastern Mediterranean Conference”, organised by the Maritime Institute of Eastern Mediterranean, Flourentzou underlined that the Ministry of Communication and Works, through the Department of Merchant Shipping, continuously improves and updates the incentives offered to shipping entrepreneurs, and explores new ones, ensuring that Cyprus’s attractiveness and competitiveness as an international shipping centre are safeguarded.
Flourentzou pointed out Cyprus ranks among the largest international ship registries in the world, but unlike other open registries, he added, Cyprus is also a major base for international shipping operations and for other activities related to shipping.
The Minister noted that “a maritime cluster has been developed, a large part of which was established with foreign investment. The nucleus of this cluster comprises ship owning and ship management companies which own or manage more than 2000 ships of 30 million gross tonnage which amount to more than 5 percent of the world’s merchant fleet. Around them, more than 100 companies have been established with shipping related activities ranging from marine insurance, ship chartering, ship broking, financial services, equipment suppliers and telecommunications, to port services, transshipment operations, shipping agents, ship chandlers and ship bunkering. This combination makes Cyprus unique among open registries and offers business opportunities beyond mere ship registration”.
Referring to merchant shipping, Flourentzou pointed out that it represents an invaluable asset for Cyprus with significant political and economic advantages, adding that at the same time, Cyprus has established itself as a quality registry.
Flourentzou said that the government’s maritime policy is based on quality, competitiveness and reliability and that Cyprus maintains a high quality fleet and the effective implementation of the internationally applicable safety, security and environmental protection standards, is the foundation on which it builds its reputation as a respectful maritime flag and as a base for international operations.
Communication Minister expressed great concern over the rapid deterioration of the pirate activity in the high risk areas of Indian Ocean and West of Africa, noting that the Department of Merchant Shipping has prepared a comprehensive new legislation to help counteract unlawful acts against Cyprus Flag ships.
The enacted Law is a pioneering legislation establishing the required legislative framework allowing the use of armed personnel on board Cyprus flagged vessels, in a regulated manner, when these vessels are sailing through high risk areas, he explained.
He noted also that the implementation of a series of legislative and administrative measures for the enhancement of maritime safety and security which are in line with the European legislative framework and the objectives of the local shipping industry, are the factors enabling Cyprus to maintain the “White List”-status in the flag assessment systems on port state control.
The Minister reiterated that Cyprus strongly supports the further development of the EU Integrated Maritime Policy and has placed it as part of the strategic priorities of the Cyprus Presidency to the Council of the EU.
This priority will be highlighted through an Informal Ministerial Meeting on EU-IMP to be organised in Cyprus in October.
“The meeting will highlight the importance of the Integrated Maritime Policy by attempting to ‘re-energize’ this policy through the examination and adoption of a political Declaration in order to create the framework for a new drive for the further development and implementation of this innovative cross-cutting policy” he said.
As he said, Cyprus aims for the “Limassol Declaration” to become the milestone for the future development of EU-IMP.
The “Limassol Declaration”, he continued, will focus on the “Blue Growth” initiative which aims to stimulate growth, jobs and competitiveness from marine and maritime sectors which represent a source of untapped economic potential that is vital for Europe’s future and its economic recovery. It will also emphasize the importance of EU Member States to enhance sectoral and cross-sectoral cooperation with third countries sharing a sea basin with the EU, in line with the legal framework set out by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), thus increasing the potential for sustainable growth perspectives from the oceans, seas and coasts.
The “Limassol Declaration” will be submitted to the Council for further examination and adoption of formal council conclusions, in view of the General Affairs Council in December 2012.
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