The Cyprus university of technology (Tepak) is undertaking the digitisation of the traditional fishing boat Lambousa, currently in its final stages of restoration at the Limassol shipyard.

The vessel, which operated for years off Kyrenia and later off Limassol, was built in 1950 in Piraeus and registered in 1965 in the port of Famagusta. It acquired its name from the ancient Roman settlement located in the north.

“The Lambousa stands as a singularly preserved vessel of its kind today, and perfectly represents a sample of Greek shipbuilding tradition and a cultural heritage, a living memory of Cyprus’ fishing history,” Tepak said.

The university’s Digital Heritage Lab is using an innovative method involving photogrammetry and scanning, to ‘map’ the boat.

This type of boat appeared in the late 18th century as a sailing vessel. It dominated the Aegean in the 19th century and was later known as ‘aerotrata’ in the early 20th century.

The vessel came under the ownership of the Limassol municipality when the government decided to subsidise the withdrawal of fishing trawlers and transform them into visitable spaces, either on or off the sea, to teach the public about traditional fishing methods.

The rescue of the Lambousa owes itself to the sustained interest of the Limassol municipality, initially under mayor Dimitris Kontides, then under Andreas Christou, and finally under the current mayor Nikos Nikolaides, who all believed in the project’s significance.

At the moment, the historical vessel is in Limassol’s shipyard, where experts are undertaking the final stages of its restoration, aiming for its relaunch in the first half of 2024.

The Limassol municipality and Tepak’s Digital Heritage Lab have agreed to conduct comprehensive digitisation, documentation and recording of the historic vessel.

“To protect and preserve the vessel’s history, work has already commenced, supported by European funding,” Tepak added.

“Using the pioneering method of photogrammetry and scanning, the Tepak research team has been digitising both the interior and exterior hull of the vessel, aiming for its three-dimensional modelling and comprehensive documentation.”