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16 June, 2024
 
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Pollution problems plague Cyprus ports

Fines issued as ships discharge waste illegally, raising environmental concerns

Andreas Karamitas

Ports are under scrutiny for violations including changing ballast water without proper consent, leading to significant air pollution and discharge of solid waste. These infringements have resulted in fines, prompted by complaints or inspections conducted by Port Authority officials. Notably, 11 pollution incidents occurred in Limassol port, one in Vasilikos, and four in Larnaca.

Transport Minister Alexis Vafiadis shed light on these incidents in response to a parliamentary inquiry by MP Haralambos Theopeptou. The inquiry focused on waste management from ships anchored in Cyprus waters. Minister Vafiadis highlighted concerns, such as the lack of jurisdiction of the ALC in marinas with numerous yachts and illegal discharge points for sewage into port areas.

In adherence to the MARPOL 73/78 Convention, ships arriving in ports are mandated to dispose of waste at designated sites. Hence, ports must furnish reception facilities (PRF) to handle ships' liquid and solid waste adequately, preventing pollution in port areas and marine environments. A licensed company manages the collection of ship-to-shore waste, encompassing petroleum residues, cargo remnants, wastewater, and household waste.

Regarding inspections, the Minister revealed that the Cyprus Ports Authority (CPA) conducted numerous inspections across all port areas in 2023. These inspections targeted facilities licensed by the ALC and vessels docked in port areas, often conducted alongside officials from the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research (DFA) and the Ministry of State for Maritime Affairs. Regular inspections target vessels anchored for extended periods, those providing services in maritime port zones, and vessels engaged in coastal cruises.

[This article was translated from its Greek original and edited for clarity and brevity]

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