Shipping is a global industry and without the International Maritime Organization (IMO), global approaches and international discussions regarding industry challenges would be far more difficult.
As a leading flag state, Cyprus believes collaborating with the IMO is essential to driving progress across the entire industry. Cyprus works closely with the IMO to support shipping with its immediate priorities and also participates in the Correspondence Group on the Development of Technical Guidelines on Carbon Intensity Reduction.
Vassilios Demetriades, Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister, met with Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO, to support progress regarding seafarer vaccinations and the pathway to decarbonization of shipping.
The virtual meeting, held on Wednesday 3rd March 2021, focused on discussing Cyprus’ approach to decarbonization and support for shipowners with its recently-launched green incentives programme. From fiscal year 2021, annual tonnage tax will be reduced by up to 30% for each vessel that demonstrates proactive measures to reduce its environmental impact, ensuring shipowners are rewarded for sustainable shipping efforts.
The Minister also discussed Cyprus’ constructive approach to maintaining the maritime supply chain and the action and tangible solutions needed to help facilitate repatriations and crew changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cyprus has suggested a united programme for a practical, feasible and collective approach to addressing the issue of seafarer inoculations based on the duration of sea voyages.
Regarding the meeting, Vassilios Demetriades, Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister, commented:
“Cyprus believes collaboration and cooperation is key to progress. We thank Mr Kitack Lim for all the work he has done thus far on progressing the work of the IMO in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. Naturally, this includes the contact of sessions remotely and the functioning of the IMO Secretariat, which faces the evolving consequences and requirements of the pandemic. We also acknowledge the work done to increase the visibility and key role of seafarers and to seek solutions in the difficulties they encounter because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is no doubt that the focus on our environment will rapidly and exponentially increase. It will become the heart of the primary work of IMO, especially on matters relating to decarbonization. Cyprus supports the proposed short-term measures to reduce GHG emissions and will support the global approach with its own programme of incentives and constructive role in the forthcoming MEPC sessions. We also look forward to supporting with resolving challenging and ongoing issues such as piracy.
“We hope to host our bi-annual Maritime Cyprus event in October this year to continue these productive discussions and encourage the industry to pull together and collaborate for further progress.”