Greek Charter Regulations: an ever-changing feast
After many years of navigating difficult legislative waters, Greece is making further progress towards becoming a fully charter-friendly destination.
Greece has long been one of the top destinations for superyacht charters, and for good reason. With a rich historical and cultural heritage, coupled with a broad spread of experiences from vibrant nightlife, to idyllic secluded beaches and incredible diving, there is something for everyone. The fact that Greece has historically not been an easy place in which to charter only adds to the evidence that the country is a must-visit regardless of the obstacles. Thankfully though, it looks as though things may be changing.
From an Owner's perspective, chartering a foreign-flagged vessel in Greek waters has not been straightforward in the last few years. Laws passed in 2017 meant that any non-Greek flagged yachts wishing to embark guests in Greece, or cruise through Greek waters, needed to apply for a Greek Commercial Charter Licence. Amongst other requirements to satisfy the validity of the Greek Charter Licence, a physical place of business in Greece had to be set up in the name of the ultimate beneficial Owner. This was costly, very time-consuming and complicated. Most foreign-flagged vessels steered away from chartering in Greek waters. For the charter market, this meant that mostly only Greek-owned and operated vessels were available to charter in Greece, supported by Greek crews and management companies. While this still allowed a moderate range of vessel availability, there was ultimately a lack of six-star inventory from which to choose.
Following much canvassing by yachting agents both locally in Greece and further afield to address the cabotage, we recently learned that the Greek Government has begun to reconsider the current restrictions. By voting through a bill on 19th April 2022, a new law allows foreign-flagged vessels of over 35m in length (and of non-wooden construction) to obtain a temporary charter licence for a maximum of 28 days per annum. While this new law still needs to be ratified, we are hopeful that the changes will be solidified by the end of the 2022 summer charter season.
As expected, several taxes are associated with obtaining the temporary charter licence, which will ultimately be passed on to the charterer. These relate closely to the vessel's size, tonnage, and the number of days on the charter agreement.
While there are still a few grey areas that require clarification, including paying the taxes on the charter fee, this is undoubtedly a promising move for the charter market in Greece. Stay tuned for more updates as we bring you further developments, and new opportunities on the horizon.
For further information, please feel free to reach out to one of our Charter Brokers here.