The impact taken by the European Union against Russia on Cyprus’ shipping industry are “totaly manageable,” Deputy Minister for Shipping Vassilis Demetriades has said.
Briefing the parliamentary committee of finance and budgetary affairs on the Deputy Ministry’s budget for 2023, Demetriades said that 144 ships have been delisted from the Cypriot registry in the first ten months of 2022, as they could not remain under the Cypriot flag because they were mainly trading with Russia.
But Demetriades said that in the same period a total of 122 new ships have been listed in the Cypriot registry. “Therefore, sanctions against Russia may have not allowed us to have an increase in ships but the reduction is at a totally manageable extent,” he said.
Responding to questions by Cypriot MPs, Demetriades said some sanctions taken against Russia resulted in punishing European shipping without isolating Russia and its economic interests as in the case of the embargo against Russian oil many ships may opt to remove a ship from the Cypriot registry and list to a third-country registry and continue to trade with Russia. “Therefore we shoot ourselves in the leg” he said calling for a uniform implementation of sanctions against Russia. He also recalled that especially on the issue of the cap against Russian oil, the EU and the G7 countries represent only 17% of the global tanker fleet.
Responding to a question on the embargo, Demetriades said the Deputy Ministry has been raising the issue in all contacts abroad and acknowledged that the embargo, Ankara has been imposing on Cypriot shipping constitutes a “disadvantage” for the Cypriot shipping which holds the 11th fleet worldwide while the island constitutes the EU’s largest ship-management centre.
He added the Deputy Ministry encourages ship-owners who have ships that don’t trade with Turkey to try the Cypriot shipping industry which offers a complete cluster of shipping services.
“But if one day the Turkish embargo is lifted the Cypriot shipping industry prospects will spike,” he went on to say.
Moreover, the Deputy Minister said that since 2012 the companies that have registered under the Cypriot tonnage tax system has tripled since 2012 increasing the income from the Deputy Ministry to more than €1.5 million in the last two years.
On the maritime connection between Greece and Cyprus, which was restored this year following 20 years with a state subsidy, Demetriades said that the ferry connection transferred a total of 7,412 passengers, 1,946 vehicles and 205 pets while only 37 passengers have expressed complaint over the service.
He said this year was the first step and next year will be more crucial “to see whether we have recurring passengers and whether we will be able to create a market.”
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupies its northern third. The Turkish embargo on Cypriot-flagged ships has been imposed since 1987 against the ships caring Cypriot flag, ownership or management, while it was extended in 1997 against vessels under any flag sailing to Turkish ports directly from any port of the Republic of Cyprus.
Source: Cyprus News Agency