Shipowners opposed to tax for pollution

Two leading Greek maritime associations, which control the world’s largest fleet, yesterday strongly opposed a plan to tax ships for emitting pollutants, saying they were the cleanest mode of transport. The Union of Greek Shipowners and the London-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee issued the joint warning after holding talks with Greek Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis in London over the last few days. «Maritime transport is the best way of preserving the environment,» the statement suggested, underlining that it was the least polluting form of transportation. It said moves to include shipping companies – which have so far escaped emission-cutting regulations – would «lead to a fall in maritime trade… and raise the price of goods and services.» About 90 percent of world trade by volume moves via the sea, according to estimates. A soon-to-be published United Nations study reproduced in the British press says the annual carbon dioxide emissions from shipping total 1.12 billion tons per year, or 4.5 percent of the world’s total. (AFP)

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