Measures to boost maritime training
The continued development of the maritime sector of the Cyprus economy has been and remains a steady target of achievement and priority of all the Ministers of Transport, Communications and Works.
Cyprus, through its attractive business infrastructure that was created in the past 30 years, has managed to become one of the biggest ship management centres in the world, maintaining at the same time one of the biggest ship registers. The one thousand or so seagoing vessels that raise the Cyprus flag and the more than 140 ship management companies that are based in Cyprus, rank our country among the global leaders in the merchant marine sector.
The companies and organisations that comprise the maritime network of Cyprus presently employ almost 4,500 people, of whom, the vast majority are Cypriots.
There are definitely particularly favourable conditions that will allow this sector to grow even further, by attracting some of the biggest shipping companies in the world. But our biggest weakness is probably the significant lack of technical personnel with seafaring service.
The Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works and the Department of Merchant Shipping have foreseen this vast need and are already promoting a number of measures in order to increase the number of young officers of the merchant navy, such as:
- promotion of this profession at every opportunity within schools and exhibitions;
- increase the number of places available at the Greek Merchant Navy Academies to 40 a year;
- change in legislation to allow young merchant navy officers to rise up the ranks of their profession;
- subsidy of 12-month practical training of merchant marine cadet officers with a significant amount that reaches up to EUR 7,200 a year per cadet;
- provision of scholarship worth EUR 45,000 a year to students of merchant marine academies in Cyprus.
Maritime education in Cyprus, until today, has not been comprehensive, as the missing piece was the training of young merchant marine officers. According to the information we have, the interest among Cypriots to attend maritime studies has significantly improved in recent years, a factor that greatly favours the creation of a maritime academy at this moment.
Equally important was that the initiative of the University of Nicosia was widely embraced by the maritime community and is being held in cooperation with it.
I would like to reassure everyone that the Ministry will continue to warmly support every effort that aim to promote maritime education and the maritime sector of Cyprus. I am sure that the establishment of the Maritime Academy will be a success.