The “European Maritime Day in Cyprus” was successfully held for the second consecutive year in the city of Larnaka. The event, which took place between the 9-13 of June at the Larnaka Marina, was open to the public and captivated the interest of many young people and children.
The event was supported by the European Commission and was placed under the auspices of the Shipping Deputy Ministry of Cyprus. The “European Maritime Day in Cyprus” was one of the 630 events that were held this year across all EU countries in honour of the European Maritime Day which is celebrated annually on the 20th of May. This year’s events attracted more than 200.000 European citizens. According to the European Commission, these numbers set a record in the history of the European Maritime Day!
During the 5-day event in Larnaka, numerous activities took place, such as interactive, educational workshops and games focusing on the sea and the marine environment, beach and sea sports, demonstrations of innovative marine technologies, cleaning of the Aliki Salt Lake area -an activity that was places under the auspices of the Commissioner of the Environment, Mrs. Klelia Vasileiou, seabed cleaning of the Larnaka fish port and the “Alexandreia” ship-wreck, photography exhibition having as a subject the sea, as well as realisation of boat tours at the Larnaka seaside. The aim of all these activities was to inform and educate -in a creative and amusing way- people of all ages, especially children and young people about the importance of the Sea.
The closing ceremony of the “European Maritime Day in Cyprus” was held on the 13th of June, at the Larnaka Marina, in the presence of the Member of the Cypriot House of Representatives, Mr. Prodromos Alambritis, the Mayor of Larnaka and Chairman of the Board of CMMI, Mr. Andreas Vyras and the Director of the Integrated Marine Ecosystem Directorate of the Shipping Deputy Ministry, Mr. Ioannis Tipaldos. During the event, prizes were awarded to the winners of the 2nd “Give a Name to a Reef” competition in which all the primary schools of the Larnaka district participated. The reef of “Kastella” beach was eventually baptised “Alia” by the D’2 class of the Saint Fanourios 4th Primary School of Aradippou, which was the winner of the competition. This competition succeeded the same initiative that successfully took place last year and fascinated the teachers and students at the primary schools of the Larnaka district.
Over the course of the competition, the students were asked to give a name to a reef located in the bay of Larnaka. In this way, they were actively involved in a learning and awareness raising process about the protection of the marine environment, the marine life and biodiversity. The 2nd competition was organised in collaboration with the Youth Board of Cyprus, the Larnaka Tourism Board and the company GeoΙmaging and was placed under the auspices of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research.
The awards of the 2nd competition were presented to the primary school students and teachers by Mr Alambritis, Mr Vyras, and Mr Tipaldos. During the award ceremony, Mr. Vyras pointed out that “it’s very important that our relationship with the sea is based on love and respect”, emphasizing that “this relationship must be nurtured at an early stage.” Referring to the role of the schools, he stressed that “their support and cooperation is catalytic to raising awareness and educating children and young people about the protection of the marine environment and therefore to the promotion of a sustainable economic development”.
Finally, the CEO of CMMI, Mr Siokouros, thanked all the co-organizers and collaborating organisations who contributed to the success of the event stating that “once again the participation and enthusiasm of people of all ages and especially children, exceeded our expectations, encouraging us to implement initiatives like this that bring us closer and remind us how important the sea is for our survival and prosperity”. He stressed that “CMMI is part of the socio-economic fabric of Larnaka, part of the city’s life and progress”. In closing, he pointed out that “our aim for this 5-day celebration next year is to become even bigger, by including other coastal cities of Cyprus and bringing more organizations together”.
The ”European Maritime Day in Cyprus” was co-organized this year by 20 organizations. These are: the Cyprus Marine and Maritime Institute (CMMI), the Municipality of Larnaka, the Foivos Stavridis Foundation-Larnaka Archives, the Youth Board of Cyprus, the Youth Makerspace Larnaka, the Larnaka Tourism Board, the Larnaka Cultural Foundation for Children and Youth, the Cyprus Marine Environment Protection Association (CYMEPA), the Maritime Institute of Eastern Mediterranean (MarInEM), Larnaka Napa Sea Cruises, Cyprus Foundation of the Sea (CyFoS), GeoImaging, Active Zone Outdoor, the Cyprus Energy Agency, Cyprus Dive Center Association, Larnaka Nautical Club, the Cyprus Offshore Yacht Club, Wellness Over Waves (WOW) and the 23rd Sea Scout Troup of Larnaka. The sponsor of this event was Kition Ocean Marina.