Despite the economic crisis, the country?s merchant marine register remains one of the strongest in the world, as well as providing genuine hopes for a Greek economic rebound.
The Greek flag ranks among the registers with the highest-quality indices. It has retained its spot on the so-called White List — i.e. the quality shipping category — of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, or Paris MoU. Furthermore, Greece has been included in the US Coast Guard?s list of Fully Qualified Flag Administrations for 2012.
The Greek register also ranks sixth in the world according to a recent Lloyd?s List report on the 10 strongest registers internationally. There are 745 oceangoing ships with a total capacity of 74 million tons on the Greek register.
A Merchant Marine Ministry source told Kathimerini that ?there are some specific plans for action that will further improve the competitiveness of the Greek flag, as well as consolidating its position among the quality ones in the shipping sector.?
Updated figures announced at the end of August by the US Coast Guard show that Greece has again been included in its list of Fully Qualified Flag Administrations that participate in the Qualship 21 program. Starting in 2001, this initiative introduced a system of quality valuation and incentive provision for foreign-flagged vessels sailing to ports in the United States.
The inclusion of Greece in the Qualship 21 list means that Greek-flagged ships will continue to enjoy a series of privileges, such as a reduced number of Port State Control (PSC) inspections, supply of quality certificate etc, when they dock at a port in the US. It also serves to reconfirm the Greek flag?s high level of quality.
Greek-flagged merchant ships remain on the Paris MoU?s White List and can now boast an improved record too, according to the PSC inspection results conducted at various harbors around the world by the Paris MoU authorities during the 2011 season.
The checks showed that the Greek register ranks 10th in the Paris MoU?s White List, which features a total of 43 registers. Just 19 Greek ships were referred. In the previous season of monitoring by Paris MoU, 2010, the Greek flag had ranked 12th with 22 ships referred, which illustrates the efforts that shipping companies have been making to further improve the quality of the Greek-flagged fleet.