In an effort to solve the legal dispute between Greek-flag Louis Cruises and the Greek Seamen’s Pension Fund (NAT) in regards to unpaid contributions, the Maritime Affairs Ministry recently tabled a law amendment in Parliament until an irrevocable judicial decision is made.
NAT has taken legal action and is claiming some 15 million euros for pension fund contributions that Louis did not pay based on a subsidy agreement it had made with the previous government in 2005.
The ministry’s amendment temporarily freezes the debt. However, Louis Cruises said it did not agree with the amendment as “it is now even more expensive for cruise ships to fly the Greek flag.”
The cruise company said the amendment “shrunk” the competitiveness of Greek flag cruise ships against the flags of other European states that are able to cruise the Greek waters without any restrictions due to the abolishment of the cabotage law.
According to Louis Cruises, the amendment also makes the employment of a Greek sailor expensive for cruise companies that would sign the mandatory contract with Greece to homeport at a Greek port.
Regardless the amendment, up until now not one international cruise company has expressed an interest to sign the contract with the Greek state, a contract that does not apply in any other European country.