The Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry (SDM) is a leading flag state and is well positioned to support the European and global shipping industry. With safety and sustainability at the core of Cyprus’ operations, Vassilios Demetriades, Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister, met with EU Transport Commissioner, Ms Adina Valean, to drive progress regarding support for seafarers and the pathway to decarbonization of shipping.
The virtual meeting, held on Tuesday 26th January 2021, focused on discussing Cyprus’ approach to crew changes and seafarer welfare. Being a maritime nation, Cyprus has always been supportive and constructive in the formulation of the EU maritime transport policies. Acknowledging the importance of keeping the maritime supply chain operational, Cyprus was one of the first countries, worldwide, that recognized seafarers as key workers and introduced all necessary measures to facilitate crew changes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since May 2020, over 5000 seafarers have been repatriated through Cyprus’ ports and airports. Cyprus understands the associated challenges as the pandemic continues, but stands firm on adapting necessary and strict measures to continue crew changes and repatriation.
The Minister also discussed Cyprus’ constructive approach to supporting sustainable shipping. Following, the MEPC meeting in November 2020, Cyprus welcomed the draft new mandatory regulations to reduce carbon intensity of ships and instigated its own green incentives to reward shipowners and operators for reducing emissions. The draft amendments of MARPOL Annex VI, which are scheduled for formal adoption in June 2021, relate to mandatory goal-based technical and operational measures to reduce carbon intensity, including a review clause for the evaluation of the measures in the near future and Cyprus hopes to support in its successful outcome.
Regarding the meeting, Vassilios Demetriades, Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister, commented:
“Cyprus believes collaboration and cooperation is key to progress. After speaking to the EU Transport Commissioner, we remain confident in our ability to support the shipping industry in breaking down the barriers to progress in two of today’s main challenges.
“Regarding the ongoing humanitarian crisis pertaining to crew changes, we believe there needs to be a co-ordinated global approach and we advocate the vaccination of seafarers. We would also like to see an international solution to the ongoing issue with pirate attacks, and we look for an international solution to ensure seafarers can work safely around the world. Additionally, after hosting our ETS seminar in December, and launching our new green incentives programme, we are clear in our strategy to support shipping with its energy transition. Cyprus encourages the successful outcome of MEPC and supports research, innovation and new initiatives towards developing and encouraging low and zero carbon technologies for use by the shipping industry.”
“We look forward to working closely with the EU and IMO, at a regional and global level, to support shipping with its immediate priorities.”