Shipowners to be forced to cough up at least 140 mln

A last-minute change to the omnibus bill submitted to Parliament on Tuesday provides for the compulsory and non-voluntary contribution by shipowners to the national economy.

After significant political wrangling, the word ?voluntary? was taken out of the provision about the contribution of the shipping industry to public coffers. That contribution will have to be at least 140 million euros in the period from 2013 to 2016, although estimates now put it at about 200 million.

The word ?voluntary? was removed from the clause following a meeting between Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and PASOK representatives. It came after a series of meetings between the government and representatives of the shipping industry ? the companies that account for 870 vessels on the Greek register with a total capacity of more than 44 million deadweight tons. The prime minister himself paticipated in two of the meetings.