ECONOMY

Electronic eye to keep track of marine fuel

The government’s economic team is preparing to table a draft bill in Parliament, in the first quarter of 2008, aimed at cracking down on illegal marine fuel trading. Certain changes to regulations are expected to go into effect as of April 1, 2008, and these have already been worked out by Finance Ministry officials, including Deputy Finance Minister Antonis Bezas. The Finance Ministry is planning to install a new, comprehensive IT system to monitor all operations involving the supply of fuel to vessels. In addition, checks are to be carried out by customs patrol boats. The government believes that the new measures will significantly help to reduce illegal fuel trading, in conjunction with the introduction of a single tax for diesel and heating fuel. In addition to the IT system, the Finance Ministry is planning to equip customs at the port of Piraeus with two small speedboats, to facilitate more effective and systematic control of fuel supply. The bill also envisages the allocation of specially designated docking areas for fuel supply boats to make inspection easier, and provides for the establishment of special ship fuel supply stations.