Ministry hoping e-register will attract more ships to Greek flag

By Nikos Bardounias

The Merchant Marine Ministry is planning to use a three-pronged strategy of cutting red tape, modernizing legislation and boosting development-oriented initiatives in order to render the Greek register more attractive and bring more vessels to the Greek flag – benefiting their owners and Greek economy in general.

A key tool for wooing shipowners to the Greek flag is the electronic register, which will greatly facilitate transactions by supplying information and interactive services, as well as allowing for the electronic submission of applications.

Nowadays getting an application to enter the register approved requires no fewer than 35 documents for all stages of the procedure, with the shipowner having to pay for 28 stamps from six different issuing authorities and having to procure 36 signatures from three ministries. The e-register will create a single data base, from the four that exist today. It will also speed up procedures significantly and allow applicants to see at which stage of the process they find themselves at any given time.

The four data bases that currently operate concern information about shipping companies, ships bearing the Greek flag, ship management firms located in Greece and seamen. They also include data regarding the quality of ships (Paris MoU list), registers etc, but there is no communication between them. The single data base that the ministry is planning to create will have full responsibility for the registration of ships, making the process faster and more efficient by cutting away a good deal of red tape.

The ministry also intends to improve services supplied to shipping companies by using a series of incentives to attract to the country companies that supply auxiliary services to shipping.

Ministry sources say that there are studies confirming that Greece is lagging other European Union countries in this domain: “Such an initiative would offer Greek shipping more competitive services,” Kathimerini was told.