Greece – New Chartering Legislation, New Opportunities Ahead

sounion yachting

On the 1st of December a new legislation (L4504/2017) entered into force.
The most important issue, for the foreign flagged yachts, is that

  1. ALL Commercial yachts under an EU flag and
  2. ALL Commercial yachts of a non EU flag, subject they are more than 35m in length and of non wooden construction,

are eligible to issue a Greek charter license practically ending the cabotage Law

All other yachts, not in possession of a Greek Charter Licence, cannot embark OR disembark guests from Greek ports.

While other see the new Law as a barrier, we strive to believe that it is actually a great opportunity for  superyachts, seeking to charter and/or refit in East Med, to choose a Greek marina base as their homeport.

The Owners / Managers, by choosing Greece as homeport, could benefit both from an increased demand for chartering in Greece and East Med vs a quite short and inelastic supply of superyachts as well as from a great supply of widely reliable refit slots and facilities in Athens area.

Here below we summarise to the 10 most important advantages for the commercial activity of yachts under a Greek charter license,

  1. Chartering in Greece is on a continuous increasing demand curve. With more than 1,000 islands, 16,000km of coastline and just 45 yachts above the 35m currently home porting in Greece, there is a great opportunity on those who will choose either the Greek charter license and Greece as their homeport. Greece is amongst the strongest developing yacht charter markets;
  2. There is no taxation related to the company’s charter income for the EU flagged yachts. Yachts are only liable to a yacht tonnage tax per year which is €70 for the first 10ogt and €1/gt thereafter;
  3. Subject to the fulfilment of the obligation to charter for a minimum number of days per year (currently 25/40 for crewed yachts – no restriction if the days are completed in Greece or abroad), the Owner(s) may use the yacht privately as much as they wish. During such private use though, there is no exception on VAT and supply of tax free fuel;
  4. Under a Greek charter license the yachts may embark and disembark from any Greek port;
  5. For yachts in international voyages, VAT on charters is discounted by 60% i.e. VAT 9.6%;
  6. For yachts in local voyages, within Greece only, VAT is discounted by 50% i.e VAT 12%;
  7. Under  a Greek charter license the yachts need to complete formalities just at the embarking (starting) port releasing the obligation of formalities at every port as for other yachts;
  8. Compliance with the requirements of the MCA coding is not a prerequisite, for domestic commercial yachts, to register under the Greek flag. Thus, yachts not built under MCA coding may still find themselves eligible for commercial registration within Greek waters;
  9. Other benefits exist under circumstances e.g. transit fuel on charters, VAT free berthing contract, exceptions on VAT for yacht refit, supplies, provisions, etc.;
  10. In Athens area (Perama), there is a mile long seafront with maintenance and refit yards with good availability in refit slots which can undertake all jobs from the simplest inspections to a full rebuild project. The long tradition in ship repairs had established the Greek work force amongst the most skilful contractors in Med; and
  11. Last but not least, a happy crew. Living is easy and Greece is known as a 4-season destination with its vast historical monuments, the world heritage sites and the beautiful country landscapes. Athens is a cosmopolitan capital city with thousands of choices and facilities as well as an international airport easily connecting with all major destinations. The countryside offers great opportunities for short weekend breaks and all outdoor activities (yes, even skiing is possible Dec – Apr with two mountains just within a couple hours drive from Athens).

Not all benefits come without some little extra effort.

First, a professional and competent registered Agency in Greece must be engaged to represent the yacht and its interests. Then a series of bureaucratic procedures will need to be dealt with and some time to complete them all shall be allowed (currently approx a couple of months).

Our company can assist you in all stages from the issuance of the charter licence and tax compliance to the complete set up of a branch office, budget controlling and full agency support while in Greece.

contact us to learn more…

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