Cyprus allows cruise ships to dock in its ports for refuelling purposes

   May 8, 2020 ,   Cruise Industry

Cyprus Island (Greece) will allow cruise liners to dock in its ports (Limassol, Paphos, Larnaca) only for bunkering / refuelling, as the country relaxes restrictions imposed in March because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Shipowners and operators may also bring their vessels to the island for a ‘hot lay-up’ (in which the ship is out of service but can be mobilized into service at short notice, while in ‘cold’ lay-up, it's anchored or moored at a safe place, awaiting new employment or charter).

The decree (issued by Cyprus' Minister of Health) also exempts from restrictions the crew of ships that are in warm lay-up and crews of pleasure yachts. However, it prohibits crew to disembark the vessels for any other reason than crew change.

According to the Health Minister, from May 4, 2020, “docking of cruise liners for supplies (without disembarkation of passengers or crew replacement)” would be allowed, as well as “replacement of crews of commercial vessels and transfer of private crafts to licensed locations for the purpose of berthing, maintenance, and repairs.”

Such leading maritime hubs like Cyprus have been calling for the recognition of seafarers as “key workers” as well as for much-needed crew-exchange to be allowed at major ports during the global pandemic, permitting crew to embark-disembark the vessels.

Around 150,000 seafarers are in need of crew change (as of May 15) - or up by 50% (from 100,000) since April 10, 2020. The current situation risks the safety and mental well-being of seafarers. The continued inability to rotate seafarers also poses a serious threat to the ability of marine vessels to deliver vital cargo in time.