Speaking on Friday, Demetriades said that merchant shipping is a business sector ‘for which we are very proud of, it represents an invaluable asset for our country and consequently is placed on the top of our priority list’.
He added that the Cyprus Ship Registry ranks among the leading ship registries internationally and has the third largest merchant fleet within the European Union, while it´s characterised by high standards of quality and safety.
“Cyprus however, is not just a flag; Cyprusis a respected and fully-fledged international maritime centre as well”, he said, noting that the Ministry of Transport will do its utmost to enhance the competitiveness of our flag and of our maritime cluster.
Referring to the discovery of hydrocarbons in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, he said it places new challenges on the shipping industry.
“Cyprus has the potential to develop into an important energy centre in the Mediterranean”, he said, adding that “our aim is also for Cyprus to become a bunker hub. In that respect, we follow closely the issues relating to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as bunker fuel”.
Demetriades noted that the introduction of maritime courses in Cyprus universities is very important, as they will supply to the shipping industry graduates with high quality maritime education and training.
“Our goal is to become gradually a maritime education hub in the Mediterranean,” he concluded.