Yachting law first step for Greece’s superyacht renaissance (15 March 2013)

Greece’s Parliament are to vote on a bill to lift ‘cabotage’ laws by the end of the month, the first stage in a plan to boost its prospects as premier superyacht destination.
The rules are predicted to make Greece a more attractive and viable place to charter, but also lay the groundwork for its leasing of marinas for investment scheme, which began last year with D-Marin and Camper & Nicholson Marinas both acquiring marinas for development.
Giannis Markogiannis, lawyer and government adviser on yachting and marinas legislation in Greece, has been working on the drafts of the New Yachting Law including the ‘cabotage’ yachting bill for months, and he is now in a position to achieve voting in before summer.
“I am pressing (competent Ministries) now because if they stall another month they will lose the summer season. The longer it takes for this one to pass the longer they have to wait also for the launching of marinas and the ports tender so it’s now their interest to run,” he said.
Greece’s current system is unpopular with many yacht charterers and captains, who say it requires convoluted and illogical routes. The laws actually came in to replace cabotage which was abolished in 2003, but their requirements on EU flagged yachts ended up as equally onerous. For example, laws require EU flagged yachts when embarking or disembarking passengers in Greece to have a designated office in Greece or appoint a captain with a Greek pension scheme. Many cannot comply and so are forced to skip huge parts of the Greece coastline in order to rush charter guests back to Turkey or Montenegro where they can be legally dropped off.
“From personal experience over the last thirty years, I think a change in this law that allows embarkation in a Greek port and disembarkation in another Greek Port, would attract a many more charters to Greece,” said Captain Jules Cope of 75m Leander, who argued the change could also bring huge benefits to the Greek economy:
“We have all experienced the harsh operating conditions that are present during the Meltemi season. Having no cabotage restrictions would then mean that the western side of Greece could benefit from having many more cruising yachts in that part of the country in July and August, due to the often mirror like conditions. The amount of revenue that pours into ports from superyachts when they are chartering therefore would pour into these ports throughout the Ionian.” (http://www.superyachtnews.com, 13 March 2013)

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