Houthi attacks in the Red Sea are impacting Cyprus, leaving stakeholders increasingly concerned, director general of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber Thomas Kazakos said on Monday.

During a press conference, he explained the unstable situation in the Red Sea is impacting international trade and Cyprus’ imports.

Although there have not been any attacks against Cyprus-flagged ships or any ships owned by companies registered in Cyprus, there are still concerns, Kazakos said.

This is because the changes of sailing ships carrying large cargo of goods, which also serve Cyprus, may have a negative impact on the rate of service in Cyprus.

Kazakos underlined the consequences of the attacks are irrelevant to where the attacked ships are registered.

“Cypriot shipping and Cypriot fleet have not been affected, but the important thing is to ensure freedom of navigation.”

Should shortages of raw materials, fuel or food begin to materialise then everyone will be affected.

“For us it is a matter of principle that international shipping must remain unaffected, otherwise international trade and the global economy and thus all our daily lives are consequently impacted.”

Kazakos thus stressed the need to protect ships, indicating that if what is currently observed in the Red Sea is allowed to continue, no one can guarantee that something similar will not happen in the future in other areas.

“It is necessary for states to provide the necessary protection to free navigation,” he said.

Cyprus is a relatively small economy and due to its geographical location, cargo that is not channelled through the Suez Canal but goes around Africa, may then intensify delays in imports to the country, he said.

In this context, he welcomed once again the EU decision to establish a naval force to protect freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, while expressing satisfaction with the position of the Cypriot government on the need to take measures to solve the problem.