ECONOMY

Ship register OK’d

Greek shipowner associations yesterday called on their members to raise the Greek flag and join the national register, following the recent measures by the Merchant Marine Ministry that increase the competitiveness of the country’s flag. There are new prospects ahead for ships in the Greek register, agreed the Hellenic Union of Shipowners (EEE) and the UK-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee at a recent meeting in London. This is considered very significant, as after many years the two associations’ boards are putting their weight behind the effort to boost the Greek register. It gives «full support to the government measures for the competitiveness of the national register by the shipping community.» «The important measures by the Greek government in favor of competitiveness are expected to attract ships on order, the new markets as well as ships with foreign flags, strengthening our national register and increasing the employment of Greek seamen,» said the heads of EEE and the Committee, Nikos Efthimiou and Epaminondas Empirikos respectively. The meeting of the two boards heard that Greek shipping maintains its top position in the world by increasing its fleet and resorting to an extensive and rapid program of quality renewal and modernization. February 07 data show that the current shipbuilding program by Greek shipowners includes over 612 new technology vessels of at least 1,000 gt, with a total capacity of 47,941,470 dwt, the meeting also heard. In 2006 the total capacity of the Greek-managed fleet reached 190 million gt, covering 18.09 percent of the global fleet. The two boards discussed in detail the issue of naval education and its upgrading as well as how to attract more young people. The significance of modern naval education was highlighted along with the need to intensify efforts for more skilled officers, given «the constant growth of shipping and its enterprises, which required greater numbers of well-trained Greek officers.»