THE restored caique boat that transferred a gun shipment from Greece to Cyprus for Eoka fighters in 1955 was delivered on Thursday during a special ceremony on the Alyki coast in Chlorakas.
The restoration of the 72-year-old vessel that bears the name Agios Georgios was carried out on behalf of the Council of Historic Memory of the 1955-1959 Eoka Struggle (Simae).
Deputy Minister of Shipping Natasa Pilides inaugurated the caique boat’s display area which was also renovated, during a ceremony organised by Simae and the education ministry.
She said there has been great improvement since the last time she saw the boat in July 2018.
She said that the Agios Georgios was a rare historical vessel “with a beautiful hull based on ancient and tested patterns, a proof of Aegean evolution, a tradition and technique that began 4,000 years ago.”
According to Education Minister Costas Hambiaouris whose speech was delivered by education inspector Genethlis Genethliou, another vessel, the Siren, first arrived on the coast of Chlorakas in March 1954 delivering the first gun shipment from Greece while a few months later, in November, it carried General Georgios Grivas who arrived on the island secretly to organise the Eoka armed struggle against British colonial rule.
“It is important for these areas that are integral part of our history to have the promotion they deserve so that the public will visit them and learn their history,” the minister said.
The Agios Georgios delivered arms in January 1955 also from Greece in the same area in Chlorakas but the British colonial authorities that had been alerted of its arrival seized the vessel, its cargo and arrested the captain, crew and the Cypriot Eoka fighters who were waiting on the shore to pick up the weapons.
Chairman of Simae Andreas Meimarides said that the vessel had not been maintained for 64 years and for that reason a radical renovation had been necessary.
The project’s technical advisors Andreas Keleshis and Kyriacos Kofteros explained to the visitors how the work was done.
According to Keleshis, the Agios Georgios was constructed in Skopelos island in 1947 and, after it was seized, it was sold in 1955 at auction. It was bought by the then Paphos mayor Iacovos Iacovides with the help of the Archbishopric and after independence it was transferred to the Alyki coast in Chlorakas where it was put on display as one of the most important exhibits of the Eoka struggle.