Small boat owners at the Larnaca marina on Thursday begged for the fees imposed on them for using the marina to be reduced.

The fees were hiked by as much as 25 per cent in March by then operator Kition Ocean Port, sparking protests among small boat owners.

However, with Kition’s contract now having been torn up by the government, the small boat owners have restated their wishes for the fees to be reduced.

They called on Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades to “listen” to their concerns, saying he had not done so in March when the fees were raised.

Additionally, they said they had been “mocked and threatened” by MPs after making their case to the House commerce committee at the time, and that they had received “no positive response” when they asked for a meeting with Vafeades and the transport ministry’s permanent secretary.

“Boat owners at the Larnaca marina are unfortunately the main victims of the poor management of the issue of the marina’s privatisation by the previous government, the sloppiness of the ‘investor’, and the mishandling of the matter by the competent ministry,” they said.

They also highlighted other problems at the marina, saying the marina should have been dredged, and that such a dredging was “absolutely necessary”, but that this was never done, and boats are beginning to run aground as sand accumulates on the seafloor.

With this and other problems unresolved, they said, more than 50 boats have since left the Larnaca marina.

The small boat owners can count on the support of Larnaca mayor Andreas Vyras, who said in April that my basic principle is that no price increases should be imposed on any user of the marina and port, given that renovation works have not yet started.

It is unacceptable and provocative. They are playing with our intelligence. The government must take strict measures to prevent this from happening.”