The idea was conveyed by the Institute’s President Zacharias Shokouros, and the Cyprus Shipping Chamber’s Director-General, Thomas A. Kazakos, with the ideal essentially entailing the creation of a higher education centre for nearly the whole spectrum of maritime activities.
European Structural Funds are credited as being a fruitful source to help develop the Maritime Institute, alongside support from the European Investment Bank.
In honour of the late Minister of Communications and Works who had been one of the first voices to strongly support the initiative, it has been proposed that the Institute be named ‘Tassos Mitsopoulos’.
The local Institute would be modelled on the National Maritime College of Ireland, which was created jointly by the public and private sectors of Cork, Ireland, and has been the centre of many important scientific and commercial actions, which even include specialised training, innovation and research in the field of mining and exploitation of offshore hydrocarbons, both in Ireland and internationally.
The proposal also calls for the immediate involvement of Cyprus’ two public universities for the provision of high-level English-language education in the sectors of Maritime Communication and Technology and Maritime Sciences and Biotechnology, as well as for a Centre for Business Innovation and Maritime Technologies with the participation of relevant international organisations.
In addition, the Institute will become the National Reference Point for the ‘Blue Professions’, operating as a Connecting Agency to the corresponding organisations of the Industry.
By also acquiring its own Training and Research Vessel, the Institute will make it easier for Cypriot Merchant Navy Cadet Officers to gain the required maritime service experience, while it will also be able to be utilised by the Cyprus Naval Command Officers and the staff of the domestic maritime industry.
The proposed seat of the Institute is a designated space that will be provided by the state in the city of Limassol, a suitable option being the space of the former Nemitsa factory that is situated next to the city’s harbour.
The same space – spanning some 16,000m² - can even simultaneously accommodate the related maritime state services.
The proposal calls for the construction of the facilities to be the product of a public-private sector collaboration, with a private organisation being responsible for construction and maintenance, thereafter being repaid through a long-term lease from all corresponding public services.
In supporting this initiative, the Maritime Institute of Eastern Mediterranean and the Cyprus Shipping Chamber has reiterated to the Government the example of Ireland, which, like Cyprus, is a small island nation with an EEZ much larger than its land-size.
In recent years, Ireland has managed to take great advantage of the opportunities offered by the sea, spending tens of millions of euros from European Programmes in infrastructure and training with the result of becoming distinguished in the sectors of Blue Education, Training, Research, Technology and Innovation, creating hundreds of new employment positions in the process.