Cyprus has always ensured that safety remains a top priority for all shipping operations and is committed to protecting and supporting seafarers, the international key worker of the maritime industry and in recognition of all the hard work and commitment from seafarers over the past year, the Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister, Vassilios Demetriades, visited Limassol Port on 23rd December 2020 to thank seafarers in person.

According to a press release by the Shipping Deputy Ministry, the Minister was joined by the Head of Port State Control Unit, a Marine Surveyor from the Port State Control Unit and members of his Cabinet.

The ship visits were carried out under strict COVID-19 protocol. Almost 70 seafarers were provided with traditional Cypriot gifts as a token of appreciation for the dedication shown by seafarers throughout a challenging 2020.

“Christmas is a time when seafarers are away from families and working harder than ever, while much of the world celebrates with gifts, food and visiting loved ones. It is a time when these key workers can often be forgotten, rather than remembered as the hard-working souls behind the festivities”, the Deputy Ministry comments.

Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister pointed out that 2020 has been a year unlike any other, adding that seafarers have been impacted by extended contracts, unable to return home due to closed borders or even limited contracts due to travel restrictions.

Furthermore said that every seafarer has been impacted, whether at home or at sea.

“We have a duty to support our key workers and thank them for all their passion, dedication and hard work, not only during the festive season but the whole year through. Our gifts are a token of appreciation and part of a wider promise – we remain committed to protecting the wellbeing of seafarers. The Cyprus SDM will continue to adapt and develop new processes and procedures as necessary and appropriate over the coming months, ensuring we are doing all we can to support safe, efficient and compassionate shipping operations”, Demetriades said.

Cyprus has always worked to facilitate safe and efficient shipping and was one of the first countries in 2020 to facilitate a new, safe process for crew changes during COVID-19, the press release reads and adds that crew changes were possible from May 2020, provided certain conditions were met, ensuring some of the most important international key workers were being supported and protected.

“Cyprus will continue to prioritise seafarers and ensure there are policies and procedures in place to support their safety“, the Deputy Ministry says.

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