The Cypriot junior minister for shipping visited several vessels anchored in Limassol port on Wednesday and gave presents to some 70 crew members, as a token of appreciation for the sacrifices made by seafarers throughout this year.
Shipping Deputy Minister Vassilios Demetriades said that Cyprus has always ensured that safety remains a top priority for all shipping operations and is committed to protecting and supporting seafarers, the international key worker of the maritime industry.
“Every seafarer has been impacted, whether at home or at sea. We have a duty to support our key workers and thank them for all their passion, dedication and hard work, not only during the festive season but the whole year through,” Demetriades said, as he thanked seafarers ahead of Christmas.
He was accompanied by the Head and a marine surveyor from the Port State Control Unit and members of his Cabinet.
The ship visits were carried out under strict COVID-19 protocol and the seafarers were provided with traditional Cypriot gifts as a token of appreciation for their dedication shown throughout a challenging 2020.
Seafarers away from families, working harder than ever
“Christmas is a time when seafarers are away from families, working harder than ever, while much of the world celebrates with gifts, food and visiting loved ones. It is a time when these key workers can often be forgotten, rather than remembered as the hard-working souls behind the festivities,” Demetriades said.
“This has been a year unlike any other. Seafarers have been impacted by extended contracts, unable to return home due to closed borders or even limited contracts due to travel restrictions.”
“Our gifts are a token of appreciation and part of a wider promise: we remain committed to protecting the wellbeing of seafarers,” he said, concluding, “you continue to deliver Christmas for us, and we will continue to deliver progress and positive change for you”.
Cyprus, with the third biggest ship registry in the EU and a world leader in shipmanagement, was one of the first countries in 2020 to facilitate a new, safe process for crew changes during COVID-19.
Crew changes were possible from May, provided certain conditions were met, ensuring some of the most important international key workers were being supported and protected.
Cyprus will continue to prioritise seafarers and ensure that there are policies and procedures in place to support their safety, a deputy ministry announcement said.