Louis Cruises Plans To Reflag Its Ships
Cyprus-based Louis Cruises, the only cruise company with Greek flag ships, announced last month that it had decided to abandon the Greek flag and switch to the Malta flag.
According to the cruise line company, cruiseships flying the Greek flag have become noncompetitive due to the lifting of cabotage restrictions that will draw in non-European Union flag cruiseships to home port in Greek ports for the first time.
However, according to reports, the catalyst for the company’s decision has been the legal action taken against it by the Greek Seamen’s Pension Fund (NAT), which is claiming some 15 million euros in unpaid contributions over the past five years.
In 2005 and based on the “Kefalogiannis Law” Louis made an agreement with the Greek Government to fly the Greek flag and hire a specific number of Greek seamen under the condition that the state cover a sum of the pension fund contributions for the Greek crew.
However, the pension fund NAT does not recognize the law and has taken legal action against Louis Cruises demanding five-years worth of contributions. The case has been set to go to court on 10 May.