ECONOMY

Greek-owned merchant vessels are spread across 42 national registers

Greek shipowners continue to be the world’s dominant force as they currently operate 3,148 merchant vessels. However, only 824 of these sail under the Greek flag, adding up to 57,898,789 deadweight tons (dwt), according to unclassified US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) data. In a detailed report, the CIA takes a close look at the fleets of 150 countries in 2007, focusing in particular on a breakdown of national registers to record not only the shipping forces out in the open but also those growing under the umbrella of third or independent registers. As far as the Greek-flagged fleet is concerned, two important points are highlighted. First, the Greek register holds 13th place in world rankings, with 49 vessels belonging to foreign interests. Of these latter, 16 belong to Belgian interests, 15 to British, 10 to American, five to Cypriot, two to South Korean and one to Italian interests. The CIA report also indicates that Greek shipowners own a further 2,324 ships that sail under the flags of 41 other countries. Greek ship managers seem to have the most diverse choice of flags, as they register their ships even in countries such as Sierra Leone, Sao Tome, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Panama on top Panama tops the list as the most popular register with 5,764 ships, each of which is over 1,000 dwt. Its combined capacity is as high as 240,190,316 dwt. However 4,949 of these vessels belong to foreign interests, 473 of which belong to Chinese interests. Baltic Exchange says UK tax change may hurt maritime industry The Baltic Exchange, a London-based provider of shipping prices, said UK government proposals to alter foreigners’ tax status may damage the country’s 1.5-billion-pound ($2.9 billion) shipping-services industry. By levying a fixed-rate tax of 30,000 pounds on people who live in the UK and are not deemed to be domiciled there for tax purposes, the government risks driving investment to rival financial centers, the Baltic Exchange said in an e-mailed statement dated February 8. The exchange said it discussed the matter with the Chamber of Shipping, the Joint Hull Committee, the International Underwriting Association and Maritime London. «Changes to the long-established taxation regime that applies to non-domiciled, remittance-basis UK residents will have a substantial negative impact on the maritime services sector,» the statement said. The UK’s maritime services industry competes with Cyprus, Dubai, Singapore, New York and Greece, the statement said. About 1,500 people are employed in the UK by Greek residents in London through so-called agency companies, the statement said. Greeks living in London control about 15 percent of the world’s fleet of dry-bulk commodity carriers and oil tankers, the statement said. The UK’s international market share of maritime services is, according to International Financial Services London: Ship finance 18 percent; insurance underwriting 23 percent; insurance protection and indemnity 65 percent; Lloyd’s Register 19 percent; shipbroking tanker chartering 50 percent; dry-bulk chartering 30-40 percent, second-hand ship sales 50 percent; new ship purchasing 40 percent. (Bloomberg)