Deputy Shipping Minister Vassilis Demetriades said on Sunday he would begin contacts to reassess the situation after a tender for a Cyprus-Greece ferry link failed to attract any bidders.

The maritime connection between Cyprus and Greece has been inactive since 2000. The deputy ministry sought to revive the connection with a €5 billion subsidy approved by the EU’s DG Competition.

However, the tenders deadline ended on Friday without attracting any binding offers. Under the terms, the connection was due to commence in the summer of 2021 even amid the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

“We will begin contacts immediately to chart the way ahead,” Demetriades told CNA. He said the pandemic and the associated uncertainty had to be a factor.

Under the the EU rules concerning general economic interest services, the state subsidy was solely associated with the passenger aspect of the ferry link.

Demetriades said he would consult on Monday with technocrats to assess the situation and decide on the way forward.

“If it is evident that the pandemic was the decisive factor that affected the tender, we would have no problem in relaunching the tender at a later stage,” he said.

Thomas Kazakos, General Director of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, commended the deputy ministry’s efforts to promote the sea connection but added that the commercial circumstances, combined with the negative impact of pandemic, were not conducive in attracting long-term commitments.