Larnaca municipality on Tuesday is looking to various stakeholders to determine its next actions, following the collapse of the Kition Ocean Holdings deal for its port and marina.

Meanwhile, the semi-governmental Cyprus Ports Authority (CPA) is poised to take over the full management of the two facilities following the loading of a last ship bound for Gaza, in the context of the humanitarian Amalthea initiative by Kition, Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades said, speaking on CyBC radio.

Elsewhere, workers unions have also mobilised to safeguard the rights and collective agreements of 50 soon-to-be former Kition employees at the port.

Head of the Larnaca Chamber of Commerce Nakis Antoniou met CPA President Zenonas Apostolou at the port on Tuesday morning.

“He [Apostolou] informed me that the delivery of the port into the hands of the ports authority was done smoothly and assured me we have no problems there,” Antoniou said.

He added that the consortium’s responsibilities were not entirely completed but the authority would also be taking over all activities relating to Amalthea.

Activities to be handed over include staffing of the marina as well as offices outside the port, and the logistics of transfer of electronic data.

“We have a very good cooperation [with Kition],” Vafeades said, adding he expects the handover to be completed within a matter of days despite the company’s strongly worded statement in response to the contract termination on Monday.

Initially the port will remain under the jurisdiction of the ministry until further decisions are made, Vafeades said.

Larnaca Mayor Andreas Vyras, meanwhile, is ready for a meeting with the minister in Larnaca on Friday, where a briefing and a specific proposal in light of the new parameters is expected.

The Larnaca municipal council and the city and district’s development board will attend.

On Wednesday, the mayor will meet the Larnaca chamber of commerce while he will also start meetings with political party members, in efforts to keep the project moving.

One idea being floated is to separate the project into two components: one being the marina, to be granted to an investor; and the second being the port, to remain under the management of the ports authority.

The mayor’s statements addressing the public shockwave of the project’s collapse, were muted as he remarked on the situation as “a negative development” and noted that “it was important to learn from past mistakes.”

Sources have speculated that the deal collapsed when Kition determined its feasibility was in doubt and that costs incurred would be greater than previously estimated. Others have suggested the first mistake was combining the port and marina projects into a single overly ambitious enterprise.

Peo union rep Nadia Kyritsis meanwhile stated that ports ought to retain a “public character” and be utilised for the benefit of the nation, and that it was the failure to do that that led to the “current adventures.”

Confidentiality clauses in the contract have also come under public scrutiny, with suspicions raised of something being amiss, despite official assurances to the contrary. Neither MPs nor Evel have yet to see the contract’s redacted contents despite a request to do so.

Vafeades said the ministry submitted a copy of the confidential agreement to the offices of the parliament last week to which MPs can individually have access.

Chairman of the House transport committee Marinos Moushiouttas said members would convene if interested, however, upcoming elections made the timing challenging.

“Any gaps or issues with the contract will be reviewed and then we draw conclusions,” the MP assured.

The state and Kition have expressed repeated public disagreements as to how the collapse of the deal unfolded, who is responsible, and who has breached the terms of the contract which had been signed.

According to Vafeades, following repeated warnings over Kition’s failure to renew an initial guarantee of €8 million, which expired in January, and disputes over the processing of two other guarantees, the state’s legal service opined that the state was within its legal rights to terminate the agreement.

“As soon as it is clarified by the courts, we will inform the public of what transpired,” Vafeades told CyBC, adding he was also waiting for the auditor general’s findings on the matter.

It is understood that both parties will now assess how much they may claim from each other in court proceedings.

According to the transport minister, a preliminary assessment of damages due to the state from lost guarantees amount to around €15 million. This, however, does not take into account losses of expected revenue through the years from the stalling of the project, for which the state also intends to fight in court.

In statements later in the day, the minister detailed that the state had been left with no choice but to terminate the contract since Kition’s managing director Panos Alexandrou had failed to come through with a promised intent to buy out other shareholders.

The bank has received an order to liquidate one of the three contentious guarantees for the amount of €3.2million by Tuesday, and no further information or action by the company has been announced at the time of writing.