Prompted by the tragic boating accident in Akamas where a woman lost her life, residents in Polis Chrysochous, Paphos have called on the relevant authorities to put an end to the chaotic conditions found at the small harbour in Latchi.
On Monday a 32-year-old Chinese woman married to a Cypriot and living in Limassol died when the speed boat she was on with another Chinese couple, from Paphos, and their two young children aged 11 and 8, under circumstances being investigated crashed into rocks off the Akamas.
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The boat operator, 50-year-old Greek Cypriot Minas Ioannou and a 37-year-old man and his 11-year-old daughter, are currently being treated for their injuries at the Nicosia General Hospital.
Senior official of the Department of Merchant Shipping Kyriakos Kofteros who is heading the investigation behind the boat crash confirmed yesterday that the boat, although registered, was not licenced.
Kofteros noted that the craft had been travelling close to the shore, at a very high speed while the operator had not been attached to the ‘kill cord’ used to shut down the engine in cases of emergency.
In the meantime, the boat’s owner disclosed to police that Ioannou was employed to maintain the boat and not to use it.
Kofteros explained that the Department of Merchant Shipping issued licences for the craft but the necessary monitoring and checks on the craft moored at the harbours were the responsibility of the local authorities and harbour police.
Complaints are also being aired over the situation of the popular Blue Lagoon destination in Akamas which is visited by approximately 1,000 people per day.
Estimates place summer boating visitors to Akamas at around 150,000 while at Latchi harbour there are 15 licenced cruise boats with a passenger capacity of 30-120 people per trip.
Added to these, dozens of private craft use the harbour daily usually to trips to the blue Lagoon while on weekends the situation is chaotic.
Although the beach at the Blue Lagoon has not been classified as a swimming beach, nearly 1,000 people visit the little cove each day.
Despite the numbers of visitors to the area, there are no demarcated boating lanes or swimming areas.
Edek MP Elias Myrianthous told state radio that the harbour police stationed at Latchi were grossly understaffed and unable to execute their duties effectively.
At least another eight policemen were required for the unit according to Myrianthous while calling for special measures to be introduced at the Blue Lagoon.
Polis Mayor, Yiotis Papachristofi said that the harbour police needed to conduct stricter inspections and more patrols in the area.
He puts the blame squarely on the Ports Authority and Harbour Police, who are responsible for monitoring the boats, for the chaotic situation in the area.