Cyprus’s Shipping Deputy Minister Vassilios Demetriades has called upon the sector’s community to work towards a sustainable future for shipping, with recognition and protection of seafarers, especially in pandemic circumstances.
Addressing the 32nd regular session of the Assembly of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London on Tuesday morning, Demetriades praised the Organization, its members, and the good office of the Secretary-General for their “strong efforts and initiatives” that have managed to keep the world seaborne trade flowing and have protected the supply chain, including those of food, energy, and medicine.
The Cypriot Minister then noted that the emerging public expectations is urging the maritime transport sector “to contribute to efforts to arrest the climate changes much more than the global proportion it causes.”
He referred to new and emerging environmentally friendly technologies which have the potential to profoundly transform ships, thus improving the environmental sustainability of the sector and its operational efficiency, whilst allowing the time needed for developing alternative fuels and methods of propulsion.
Demetriades also stressed the primary role the seafarers have played in highlighting the global and central role of the maritime transport sector during the pandemic.
“Cyprus, on its part, has been facilitating crew changes and repatriation since May 2020 and is applying a national vaccination plan for seafarers,” added the deputy minister, who also expressed satisfaction over the proposed Assembly measures in support of seafarers.
In conclusion, Demetriades said: “We serve and derive our livelihood from the sea, and we have to demonstrate a genuine understanding of each other’s priorities and to foster diversity and inclusion. Cyprus’ recently adopted strategic vision for the sector, aims to promote a positive agenda for global shipping by promoting a more sustainable; more extroverted; and more adaptable shipping sector in line with IMO objectives.”
The Cypriot Shipping Deputy Minister has also met with the IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lik and exchanged views of the priority issues facing the world’s shipping industry. He is due to hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the UK and Panama.