Pleasure cruise boats and small passenger vessels operating off the coast of Cyprus are to benefit from a ‘de minimis’ plan in order to improve their safety, accessibility and emission levels.
The Deputy Ministry of Shipping, now also tasked with monitoring coastal services, including licensing of small boats, is introducing the plan in September with a budget of EUR 3 mln, spread evenly over three years.
Deputy Minister Natasa Pilides said recently that there are about 100 such vessels registered and operating in Cyprus, that carry 1.5 million tourists a year, with 60% of the refurbishment eligible to receive the grant.
A DMS official explained that the first objective is to reduce pollutants, i.e. upgrading vessels to reduce pollution.
The second objective is to upgrade boats so that people with reduced mobility have access to these vessels and the third reason is to improve safety in coastal shipping.
In September, it will be possible for companies with coastal vessels to submit their applications so that they can be evaluated in 2019, the official added.
The plan will be only applicable for Cypriot coast vessels that operate in the tourist industry.
These include pleasure boats operating daily and ‘sunset’ mini-cruises along the popular coastal resorts of Ayia Napa, Larnaca and Limassol, as well as all-inclusive day trips from Paphos harbour to the Akamas shores, Coral Bay and Latchi with brief stops for passengers to swim.
These vessels are also popular in the weddings industry and bachelor parties, with operators hosting events that go well into the night, often referred to as ‘booze cruises’.
Source: The Financial Mirror