The defence ministry has received the donation of a semi-inflatable 40-foot Rafnar search and rescue vessel, which will be added to the navy fleet as part of upgrading coastal security in Cyprus’ maritime zones.

The vessel, which will be delivered in two months or so, was donated by Safe Bulkers Inc, according to Defence Minister Vassilis Palmas who hosted a ceremony on Thursday in the presence of the Chief of the National Guard Georgios Tsitsikostas, company’s CEO Polys Haji-Ioannou and its president Loukas Barbaris.

Palmas said that the addition of the new semi-inflatable vessel to the fleet would enhance the ability of the National Guard to deal with the challenges arising in search and rescue incidents “with immediacy, precision and efficiency”.

“It will add operational benefit both in terms of the ability to quickly move to the area of the incident, and the ability to successfully execute the operation under adverse weather conditions,” he said.

He then thanked the CEO of the company, describing the donation as a “generous act”.

The recent crises in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East had upgraded role of Cyprus as a pillar of security and stability, cooperation and understanding in the wider region, the minister said, citing as examples the country’s recent contribution to international efforts for the evacuation and reception of civilian evacuees, as well as the contribution to the Amalthea project for the management of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“As the Republic of Cyprus, fully aware of our obligations under both the conventions and regulations of international organisations, we established a complete and reliable search and rescue system a priority in recent years. In fact, today we have one of the most modern centres in Europe, which is a model for states wishing to organise their own SAR system and for this we are very proud,” he said.

Haji-Ioannou said that the aim of the company, which has been based in Cyprus since 2015, is to contribute wherever it can, based on its social and corporate governance plan.

“Companies based in Cyprus enjoy the security and institutional framework that the Republic of Cyprus provides us to do business in all parts of the world through a safe environment,” he added. “In this regard we hope the vessel will be useful as it is able to intervene immediately with great speed in all incidents so that people who fall victim to traffickers are not at risk at sea.”

The vessel will be delivered by its Greek manufacturer within two months, he said.