Failure to pay the tax and keep proof of payment on board could mean a detained boat – Cruising sailors in Greece are facing increased costs next year as the Government plans to impose a tax on all leisure and commercial tourist craft.
If the law is imposed, the tax will be introduced on 1 January 2014, as a circulation tax and will mean yachts and motorboats between 7m and 12m will have to pay up to €400 each year.
The Cruising Association, based in Limehouse in London’s Docklands, has been monitoring the situation in Greece as it has almost 1,500 members sailing throughout the islands.
CA member, Jim Baerselman, who has sailed in Greek waters for more than 30 years, said this was a significant tax which could put many people off cruising in Greece.
He has been in contact with a Greek tax accountant, who said: ‘The tax will be charged for all recreational and commercial ships and small boats, regardless of their flag, which sail, are moored or anchored in Greek waters.’
Keep proof of payment
Mr Baerselman added that the Minister of Marine and Aegean had said yachts or motorboats sailing in Greek waters needed to keep proof of payment with their registration document which is issued when entering Greece.
Failure to pay the tax and keep proof of payment on board could mean the boat would be detained by the Port, Tax and Customs Authority and a fine of 100% of the tax due to be paid imposed.
Mr Baerselman said the proposed law also stated any boat cruising out of Greek waters after paying the annual tax would not be liable for a refund but the payment would remain valid for the current year.
Why the tax?
The aims of the tax are to ‘strengthen public revenue’ and to ‘correspond to the type and charges made by neighbouring countries, but not to act as a disincentive to tourists.’
The proposed tax is part of an omnibus bill sweeping up a range of detailed legislation and is an addition to a general maritime bill passed in the Greek parliament last month which omitted reference to leisure craft pending consultations.
A final decision on the proposed tax is due to be made in the Greek parliament by the end of November.
Engineers in Italy have succeeded in setting the cruise ship Costa Concordia upright, 20 months after it ran aground off the island of Giglio. They said that the unprecedented salvage effort “reached degree zero [vertical], which was our target”.
In the operation that took all of Monday and most of the night, they used cables and metal water tanks to roll the ship onto a platform.
The Costa Concordia capsized in January 2012, killing 32 people. The bodies of two of the victims of the disaster, by the island of Giglio, have never been found. There are hopes that they may be located during the operation.
Months of work lie ahead, assessing and repairing damage to the ship, before it can be towed away to be destroyed – probably next spring.
The ship was declared completely upright shortly after 04:00 local time (02:00 GMT) on Tuesday. Franco Gabrielli, the head of Italy’s Civil Protection Authority, said the vessel was now sitting on a platform built on the sea bed. “A perfect operation, I must say,” said Franco Porcellacchia, leader of the technical team for Costa Cruise, the owner of the ship.
He added that no environmental spill had been detected so far – one of the main aims given the pristine waters of the marine sanctuary in which it capsized. “I think the whole team is proud of what they achieved because a lot of people didn’t think it could be done,” said salvage master Nick Sloane.
When the vessel was finally righted in the early hours of Tuesday morning, there was a giant cheer from people gathered at Giglio harbour, says the BBC’s Matthew Price, and rescue workers have been out celebrating with coffees.
As daylight broke, the now-upright, brown hulk of the ship was visible – its hull muddy and crushed from 20 months spent submerged on its side.