Another Turkish embargo threatens Cyprus-flagged ships

Ships sailing under the flag of Cyprus are facing a second Turkish embargo as they are prevented from transporting grain from or to Ukraine under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, said Shipping Minister Marina Hadjimanolis. She pointed out that, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there was an agreement between Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the UN to ensure safe passage of grain from three Ukraine ports. “Turkey is the country that controls the ships that pass through the Black Sea and prevents any ship that carries the Cypriot flag or any ship managed in Cyprus from being part of this process. That’s why I have called it a second embargo,” Hadjimanolis said. Since 1987 Turkey has prohibited the docking of ships under the Cypriot flag in its ports The ban also extends to ships managed by Cyprus.

Cyprus meanwhile has said that it would not support a Turkish candidacy for the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) position, because Turkiye had been preventing the docking of Cypriot ships in Turkish ports. The minister said Cyprus intends to be re-elected on the IMO Council for 2024 to 2025.

Hadjimanolis said that, if a Turkish candidate was elected as head of the IMO, it would not affect Cyprus

Speaking to MPs, Hadjimanolis said the Cyprus fleet had reduced to 1,663, with a capacity of 22m tonnes, from the 1,752 that were registered, with a capacity of 25m tonnes, in July 2021.

She noted that Malta and Italy had also reported a drop in their registers, and there was no suggestion that ships were leaving the Cypriot register for another European country.