Since 1977 the legal framework for the operation of marinas – its modernization is urgent – After Easter new discussion of the issue
The need to modernize the legislation for the operation of marinas was brought before the Trade Committee of the Parliament, with its chairman, Kyriakos Hatzigianni declaring his readiness for the committee to proceed with a law proposal. He also called on the Deputy Ministry of Tourism to prepare, after consultation with the competent agencies and the Mariners' Association, and to inform the Parliament how it will proceed with the modernization of the legislation, while in a period of 1-1.5 months to put before the committee the planning to change the legislation.
The current legislation is from 1977 with anachronistic provisions (given that it governs the operation of marinas created several decades later), with all that this entails for handling key issues that arise in the operation of today's modern marinas – in Ayia Napa, Limassol and Larnaca. Since then, the law has remained the same.
The dispersion of responsibilities among various ministries and agencies makes it difficult for the proper functioning of marinas and leaves important issues out of regulation.
As Kostas Fitiris, who was at the Commission session, explained on behalf of the Mariners' Association, a new modern law should be made which would solve the problems of the mariners and give prospects for their survival. It is expected that after Easter, the competent committee of the Parliament will see separately the link, which will put on the carpet all the issues that must be managed, and its recommendations, so that they can be codified into a law proposal, which will include all issues concerning the operation of marinas, and with a competent authority.
Dispersion of responsibilities
The issue of the single authority for marinas arises as the dispersion of powers is a major issue, according to those involved. As a result, important issues of the daily operation of the marinas are not being handled. For example, the dumping of waste from a boat was not handled, since no competent department and the means to enforce the law were found. Mr. Fitiris explained that marinas operate under maritime regulations. Therefore, the competent deputy ministry should be the Deputy Ministry of Shipping. Instead, because of maritime tourism, the marinas were transferred to the Ministry of Tourism – wrongly, he noted. He also mentioned that it was requested through a letter to be transferred to the responsibility of the Deputy Ministry of Shipping. “It is now necessary to consolidate services that do related work and to make legislation so that there is no dispersion of responsibilities”, emphasized Mr. Fitiris, pointing out that specific decisions are needed.
What needs to be regulated
Among the issues that must be regulated in the context of the new legislation, are the financial issues of the marinas, fuel issues and mainly environmental issues. In addition, provision should be made for servicing vessels passing through for spare parts and fuel, for vessel repairs, as well as issues of competition with marinas in the occupied territories – which, although illegal, are displayed at international exhibitions. The new provisions should also include the docking fees.
The fees at the Larnaca marina
At yesterday's session of the Trade Committee, the issue of berthing fee increases at the Larnaca marina was raised, following the protest of boat owners. It was found, among other things, that the big issue in this case is the lack of foresight on the part of the state to regulate the issue of berthing of the existing vessels of the marina and the need to find a new place, or to offer an alternative option for their berthing, which was mentioned by Averof Neofytou. And this, since with the arrival of an investor the cost of berthing increases significantly and disproportionately to the financial capabilities of the majority of owners. The chairman of the committee, Kyriakos Hatzigiannis, said that the committee is awaiting the initiative taken on the matter by the Minister of Transport, Alexis Vafiadis, who already had a meeting with the boat owners, while his meeting with the Kition Ocean Marina company is imminent. The company, for its part, highlights the need to increase the fees, since the contract with the Ministry of Transport does not specify the increases and open competition between marinas is allowed and in an attempt to cover their current expenses.