The ferry link between Cyprus and Greece that will soon resume after 21 years is a successful project and must be embraced to become viable, Deputy Minister for Shipping Vasilis Demetriades has said, adding that in the near future it could be extended to include a neighboring country.
“The ferry connection between Cyprus and Greece is a successful project, since after 21 years we managed to give an alternative option to our fellow citizens and create the framework for further development of maritime tourism between the two countries”, Demetriades said.
The Deputy Minister was speaking at a panel discussion in the framework of the Famagusta Business Forum organised by the Famagusta and Piraeus Chambers of Commerce and Industry that was also attended inter alia by Ioannis Plakiotakis, Greek Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy.
Demetriades added that this effort must be embraced by Greece and Cyprus in order to become viable and noted that in the near future it could be extended to include a third neighboring country, so as to create further conditions for enhancing the viability of the whole effort.
Furthermore, he said that Cyprus’ shipping is growing and the industry is ready to change to contribute to green transformation. However, he noted, there is a lack of technical staff in Cyprus, adding “we need to bring young people closer to the sea and for this purpose many actions are being taken, including in schools “.
He expressed hope that young people will embrace the Sea Festival that will take place for the second year in Limassol on May 20 and 21, where 40 organizations will join forces to promote the sea as a sport, an activity and a choice of studies.
Ioannis Plakiotakis, Greek Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, said that the Cyprus-Greece ferry connection was a common pursuit of both countries.
This link will further strengthen the already excellent relations between Greece and Cyprus, while it will greatly strengthen the tourist product, since both Greeks and Cypriots will be able to visit the two countries by car, he noted.
Greek MP Ioannis Melas, said that the ferry link is a historic moment for the two countries and it was a joint request of the people of Cyprus and Greece. It is very encouraging, he added, that it was embraced by the people who have already made many bookings.
Mark Klerides, member of the Cyprus Union of Shipowners said that the ferry link between the two countries is very important and added that Cyprus offers a very secure institutional framework for shipping companies to operate and many other advantages, including competent staff, ie accountants, lawyers and insurers.
He pointed out that shipping companies in Cyprus lack technical staff and expressed hope that young people will consider shipping as one of the options in their career.
On behalf of the managing company for the ferry link Cyprus-Greece, Charalambos Manoli, said that the ship that has been chartered for this purpose has a capacity of 400 passengers, with the capacity to transport more than 100 cars.
The first sail of the ship this year, he continued, will take place on June 19 and the last on September 17.
He pointed out that until today more than 3,000 bookings have been made, while there is interest for transporting 1,100 vehicles.