Cyprus has had shipping going on for hundreds of years. Merchant shipping has historically been favored by this European island state because of its location at the intersection of Europe, Asia, and Africa and its proximity to the Suez Canal. By DWT, Cyprus' merchant navy ranked third in the European Union and ninth in the world in 2005.
The island has always been very important to merchant shipping, which has been around for a long time. Cyprus was a major seafaring player in antiquity and was located along important trade routes, as evidenced by shipwrecks such as the Kyrenia ship found off the island's coast and ancient ports such as Amathus.