Cyprus shipping faces second Turkish embargo

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Ships flying the Cypriot flag are faced with a second Turkish embargo as they are prevented from transporting grain from or to Ukraine under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, said Shipping Minister Marina Hadjimanolis.

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 grain passage from Ukraine.

“Turkey is the country that controls the ships that pass through the Black Sea and 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,” Hadjimanolis said.

Since 1987, Turkey has prohibited the docking of ships under the Cypriot flag in its ports.

The ban also extends to ships managed by Cyprus.

Cyprus will not support a Turkish candidacy for the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) position, as Ankara prevents the docking of Cypriot ships in Turkish ports.

The minister said Cyprus intends to be re-elected on the IMO Council for 2024 to 2025.

She assured that if a Turkish candidate is elected as head of the IMO, it will not affect Cyprus, as regulations govern the organisation’s operation.

Due to the latest international developments and sanctions, unfortunately, the Cypriot fleet has been reduced.

Speaking to MPs, Hadjimanolis said the Cyprus fleet is reduced to 1,663 with a capacity of 22 million tonnes from 1,752 that were registered with a capacity of 25 million tonnes in July 2021.

Malta and Italy have reported a drop in their registers, and there is no information suggesting that ships are leaving the Cypriot register for another European country.

Data shows an upward trend in the registration of shipping companies, which increased from 273 in 2021 to 302 in 2022.

Among the priorities of the Deputy Ministry is strengthening the one-stop shipping centre framework.