The need to modernize marina legislation was raised before the House Commerce Committee, with its chairman, Kyriakos Hatzigiannis, declaring his willingness to move forward with a legislative proposal. He asked the Deputy Ministry of Tourism to prepare, in consultation with the relevant departments and the marina association, and inform Parliament on how to proceed with the modernization of legislation, while putting the design for the change of legislation before the committee in 1-1.5 months.
The current legislation dates back to 1977 and contains outdated provisions (given that it governs the operation of marinas built several decades later), with all of the implications for dealing with key issues that arise in the operation of today's modern marinas in Ayia Napa, Limassol, and Larnaca. The law has remained unchanged since then. As Costas Fytiris, who was present at the Committee meeting, explained on behalf of the Marinas Association, a new modern law should be created that solves the problems of marinas and gives them a chance of survival. After Easter, the relevant committee of the Parliament is expected to meet separately with the association, which will present all of the issues that need to be addressed, and its recommendations will be codified in a proposed law that will include all issues related to the operation of marinas and with a competent authority.
There is a need to modernize all existing legal provisions as well as to regulate all issues that arise, particularly environmental issues that are not addressed in existing legislation.
Division of responsibilities
According to those involved, the issue of a single authority for marinas arises because the division of responsibilities is a major issue. As a result, critical issues in the day-to-day operation of marinas go unresolved. For example, the discharge of waste from a vessel was not addressed because there was no department with the authority and resources to enforce the law. Mr. Fytiris explained that marinas follow maritime regulations. As a result, the Deputy Ministry of Shipping should be the competent Deputy Ministry. Instead, the marinas were wrongfully transferred to the Ministry of Tourism because of nautical tourism, he noted. He also stated that it was requested in writing that the responsibility of the marinas be transferred to the Deputy Ministry of Shipping. "We now need to consolidate departments that do related work and make laws so that there is no division of responsibilities," Fytiris said, emphasizing the importance of making specific decisions.
What should be regulated?
Among the issues that must be regulated under the new legislation are marina financial issues, fuel issues, and, most importantly, environmental issues. Furthermore, a provision should be included for servicing boats passing through for spare parts and fuel, boat repairs, and issues of competition with marinas in occupied territories, which, while illegal, are displayed at international exhibitions. Berthing fees should also be included in the new provisions.
Larnaca Marina Fees
Following the protest by boat owners, the issue of docking fee increases at Larnaca Marina was also raised at yesterday's Commerce Committee meeting. The big issue in this case, according to Averof Neophytou, is the state's lack of foresight in regulating the issue of docking existing vessels in the marina, as well as the need to find new space or offer an alternative docking option. This is because when an investor arrives, the cost of mooring rises dramatically and is out of proportion to the financial capabilities of a large proportion of the owners.
The committee's chairman, Kyriakos Hatzigiannis, stated that the committee is awaiting Transport Minister Alexis Vafeadis' initiative on the issue, who has already met with boat owners and is scheduled to meet with the company Kition Ocean Marina. The company, for its part, claims that there is a need to raise the fees because the contract with the Ministry of Transport does not specify the increases and open competition between marinas is permitted in order to cover current costs.
[This article was first published in the printed edition of 'Oikonomiki' and was translated from its Greek original]