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Cyprus overcame Turkish and Russian opposition in IMO election, minister says

Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanolis

Deputy Minister of Shipping Marina Hadjimanolis revealed on Tuesday the challenges Cyprus faced in the December 2023 elections of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

The minister said that not only did Cyprus contend with the Turkish bloc against it, but it also confronted the Russian bloc, which presented opposition due to the EU sanctions against Moscow following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

During a discussion at the 7th Capital Link Shipping & Offshore Forum, Hadjimanolis underscored the significance of Cyprus’ successful election.

Despite geopolitical pressures, Cyprus managed to retain all the positive votes it had garnered in the 2021 elections. It should be noted that Cyprus has held a position in the IMO Council’s Category C since 1987.

“This reelection was significant because, usually, we have to face the Turkish bloc, but due to European sanctions against Russia, we also had to face the Russian bloc, opposed against all European candidacies,” the minister said.

What is more, in her address at the conference, Hadjimanoli characterised the current period for global shipping as turbulent due to geopolitical tensions.

She explained that Cyprus decided to participate in the European operation ‘Aspides‘ to protect free navigation in the Red Sea.

“The shipping sector is an integral part of the Cypriot identity, reflecting our historical ties and economic resilience,” Hadjimanolis said.

“With one of the largest fleets in the EU, Cyprus significantly contributes to the global shipping sector, playing a central role in global trade and economic prosperity,” she added.

In other shipping-related matters, Hadjimanolis said that decarbonisation, within the framework of the green transition, poses the greatest challenge and opportunity for the shipping industry.

“Green fuels, the utilisation of technology, autonomous shipping, combined with green financing, are the main challenges of the industry and set the basic trends for its future,” she said, adding that these challenges are interconnected.

However, Hadjimanoli acknowledged the need for alternative fuels for shipping that are economically viable and compatible with existing technology.

At this point, the Deputy Minister of Shipping referred to the new incentives, approved by the Council of Ministers, to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gases, recalling that Cyprus had implemented incentives since 2021.

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