The navy on Monday honoured Ayios Nicholas, its patron saint, with a celebration at Evangelos Florakis naval base in Mari held in the presence of military officials, MPs and Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides.
The celebration began with a religious ceremony and an address by navy chief Dimitris Massouras.
“Today is a day of remembrance and honour for everyone in the navy who lost their lives defending the homeland,” he said.
The navy’s ongoing collaborations and joint drills in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region with naval forces from countries “that share the same values and a common vision for security and stability, are proof we are not alone, and that the navy will play an important role in the area,” he added.
In his own address, Petrides thanked members of the navy for their service, highlighting their contributions to regional peace through their collaboration with neighbouring navies.
“Their success raises the demand for further such activities, but also infrastructural advancements to aid their mission.”
To this end, he said that the government has upgraded the navy’s fleet and artillery, while also building a helicopter base and drawing up plans to be able to host larger vessels.
Petrides also mentioned the navy’s contribution to EU-funded research programmes on navigational safety, and how it is expanding its mission to include search and rescue operations within the government’s jurisdiction.
The minister congratulated the navy’s commanding officers for their work, ending his speech in hopes that “the endless blue of the sea and its life-giving air will give the navy strength and power to continue their mission with zeal and devotion”.
The ceremony ended with a wreath being thrown into the sea in memory of those who died while serving in the navy, a moment of silence and the national anthem.