I recently read the Wall Street Journal article called Tide Turns for Greece’s Shipping Industry. I was struck by the view of the EU creditors who thought that they would be able to push the government to impose heavier tonnage taxes on shipping owners. This indicates to me that the EU creditors and regulators do not understand the shipping industry. The flag of convenience is called that for a reason. The EU will force an industry that supports the Greek economy through meaningful work for over 200,000 people to move to another location. The shipping companies are just the “land based HQ” for the actual core of the business: SHIPS.
This move, or any move that could drive these ship owners to relocate to another country, can only lead to a worsening of the economic conditions in Greece. The Bahamas, and Cayman Islands appreciates the disastrous work of the EU creditors on this issue. As an American Merchant Marine Officer I can appreciate the true cost to Greece. The US has diminished as a true maritime power following WWII to where we are today. In 1955 we had 1,072 US Flag vessels representing 25% of the tonnage worldwide. Today we are 191 ships representing less than 2% of tonnage worldwide1. Is this going to be the same fate for Greece? Only time will tell if this will be the case.