Nicosia - Turkey was urged yesterday to allow access to Cyprus ships at its ports in order to help build confidence towards a peace deal. The call was made by President Anastasiades who asked representatives of the world shipping community, gathered in Limassol, to exert their influence on Ankara to end the illegal restriction.
Lifting this embargo is part of a package-proposal put forward by the Greek Cypriot side on a set of Confidence Building Measures which also includes the return of the Turkish occupied town of Varosha to its rightful and lawful owners and inhabitants, Anastasiades said.
Also yesterday a senior EU official told a discussion in Limassol that no negotiating chapters will open in Turkey’s accession talks unless restrictions on Cypriot aviation and shipping are lifted. But in Brussels, a spokesman said member states will decide on October 22 on whether the regional policy chapter will open.
More than 700 delegates from around the world are attending Maritime Cyprus 2013 including Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Koji Sekimizu.
Cyprus is home to around 150 internationally renowned ship-owning, ship-management, chartering and shipping related companies, controlling a fleet in excess of 2,200 ships.
The wider shipping sector employs approximately 4,500 employees and 55,000 sea-farers with high earnings.
Shipping constitutes one of the main economic pillars of Cyprus, with annual revenue of over €1 billion contributing approximately 7% to the country’s GDP.