With the theme of this year’s World Maritime Day (today) ‘sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet’, the Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry (SDM) has reinforced its commitment to both environmental initiatives and measures that support the physical and mental wellbeing of seafarers.
Vassilios Demetriades, the recently-appointed Shipping Deputy Minister, will later this year launch a series of green incentives which reward those actively taking steps to support the transition to a zero carbon future. The incentives will take the form of a tonnage tax rebate for vessels demonstrating further reductions of the attained Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) or reductions of the total oil consumption in two consecutive reporting periods. A long-term strategy for Cyprus is also in development, with the sustainability of the Cyprus flag, maritime cluster, and the wider shipping industry at its core.
Shipping is the backbone of global trade and – even during the current pandemic – it is essential to the sustainability of the sector that crew changes are facilitated where possible. Cyprus, as a leading maritime nation, was one of the first countries in the world to recognise seafarers as essential workers and implement practical measures for crew changes. Since May 2020, around 5,000 seafarers have been repatriated or have been able to return to work through Cyprus. Crew changes remain possible in Cyprus provided certain conditions are met and the SDM remains committed to implementing procedures that enable seafarers to return to their families.
The SDM believes effective co-operation and collaboration between regulators and the industry lies at the heart of ensuring a better and sustainable future for shipping, and therefore the planet. The Shipping Deputy Minister’s experience from previous roles in working with the EU towards achieving this will support Cyprus’ continuing role in shaping progress in relation to both the environment and seafarers.
The European Green Deal has identified waterborne transport as a key area for growth within the transport system. Any future EU legislation should nurture innovation, create new employment opportunities, and drive positive environmental change on a global level, while ensuring that European shipping is not placed at a disadvantage in relation to the rest of the world. Ultimately, when it comes to climate change mitigation and the global seafaring community, there are no borders.
Mr Demetriades said: “Striking the right balance between achieving a sustainable but commercially viable future for shipping is the greatest challenge facing the industry today. But it also presents significant opportunities for those willing to embrace the challenge and tackle it head on.
“Ambition is essential to drive change on a global level, but we are also committed to ensuring we are protecting EU shipping operations. Cyprus is working constructively with the EU shipping community, regulators and industry, not only in building an environmentally sustainable EU maritime transport cluster that will lead the global efforts to mitigate climate change, but also to support safe, efficient shipping operations, ensuring continuity of trade and the wellbeing of seafarers. I look forward to continuing efforts in both these critical areas in order to move forward together into a new era of sustainable shipping.”