CNA - Α draft anti-piracy Bill adopted on Friday by the Cabinet creates new standards in combating piracy incidents against Cypriot vessels, by providing for armed escorts.
The Minister of Communications and Works Efthymios Flourentzos, while speaking to Cyprus News Agency, said the Bill was "pioneering and important", noting that its approval by the Cabinet and its consequent adoption by the House of Representatives will turn Cyprus into "a pioneer on a global scale" on the matter. The Cyprus Shipping Chamber welcomed from its part the adoption of the Bill, noting that it may provide an answer to the "gangrene" of the phenomenon of Piracy.
Flourentzou, in his statements to CNA, said that the Bill regulates the provision of armed escorts to Cyprus-flagged vessels, by specially trained and certified guards. "A coordinated work has been done by all involved," Flourentzou noted, referring to the Ministries of Communications and Works, Justice and Labour, as well as other competent authorities. All parties addressed the draft Bill by taking into account the international context and with an aim to strengthen Cypriot shipping, the Minister added.
He also disclosed that many ship owners were discussing the problem, exerting pressure in favor of a solution, due to piracy-related problems in the area of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. The Minister said that there are other countries that have taken similar measures and noted that Cyprus is one of the first countries to adopt such legal acts, making it a pioneer in the field. "The goal is Cyprus to retain its position in world shipping", he added.