Shipping and Island Policy minister, Panagiotis Kouroumplis, has tabled a 'catch-all' bill in parliament which includes regulations reducing bureaucracy, legalise port facilities, simplify the procedures for small but necessary projects up to Euro 20,000 and regulate the age of certain types of ships that operate in Greek waters and hand more regulatory duties to classification societies.


The bill has long been promised and comes in the wake of criticism of the government over the sinking early September of a small loaded bunker tanker off Salamis island and the decision to raise the sunken cruise ship Sea Diamond, a decade after it went down off Santorini.

The bill contains a provision in Article 107, which states certification of compliance of Greek ships to national, European Union and international rules and regulations by the ministry's Ship Control Division, port authorities, and Greek ship inspection services will cease and such certificates shall be issued by recognised oganisations, in other words, classification societies.

Article 109 provides that from 2018 tankers / barges of more than 50 years old, will not supply marine fuel (bunkers), while from January 1, 2019 the age limit be lowered to 40 years old, and from January 1, 2022 only vessels under 30 years of age will be able to supply marine fuel (bunkers). The tanker which sank, was 46 years old.

The bill also envisages municipalities with a population of less than 5,000 people, being serviced by public service contracts of one to five years duration, for the service of a particular line or lines, signed by the Shipping minister. They are now up for renewal much more frequently and further, in accordance with the bill's provisions, municipal enterprises, development companies, special purpose enterprises of any legal form, companies of Regional Authorities and of shipping companies of Law 959/1979 (A '192), will be allowed to bid for these services.

There is also a provision for the establishment of a Port User Board with a three-year mandate in each Port Authority SA, which acts as advisory body on to the port's administration on issues pertaining to planning and organising the upgrading of services provided to users of ports and the wider area of jurisdiction of the organisations.

The bill also will allow companies included in the Electronic Waste Register to receive and manage ship-generated waste and cargo residues, provided they meet the minimum requirements to be imposed by ports. This provision, however, has prompted a strong reaction from the port authorities, with the Piraeus Port Authority said to be totally opposed to this proposal.

Filed: 2017-11-03