The lobby is obviously prevailing, but those with ambitions to sail in Greek waters (or already there) are not in clear weather yet. Payment of a new Greek tax for all sailing in Greek waters, which is likely to have the effect of sending cruising sailors straight to Turkey or Croatia - or anywhere more friendly, has been delayed by the Greek government.
Sailing Greece - are they sailing in Greece or ’transiting Greek waters’?
Discussions are still continuing between the Ministry of Economy, which is the lead ministry, and the Ministry of Shipping, Maritime Affairs & the Aegean, which is instructed to levy the tax.
The fee will be collected on- line through the new Greek TAXIS system. But, collection agents and the system for payment will not be ready for up to two months, resulting in two concessions being promised:
There will be a new deadline for payment and no penalties will arise before this new deadline. Originally the deadline was January 1 of this year.
Britain's Cruising Association, which has members sailing throughout the Mediterranean and Aegean is participating in the negotiating about how much notice the deadline should give.
Two other areas of the tax have been clarified:
Boats immobilised do not need to pay the new tax. If they are to be launched and used, the tax must be paid. This means that you can keep your boat in dry dock without having to pay the tax.
Boats in transit through Greek waters under the terms of UNCLOS - the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea which allows free passage for all leisure craft, have no obligation to pay (although it is still unclear whether boats in transit through the Corinth canal is regarded as 'a boat in transit'). This, on the face of it, may give cruisers the option of being 'continually in transit'. Only time will tell.
Here is the original translated notice:
The tax will apply to small vessels of all nationalities (commercial or leisure) over 7m LOA, as defined on their registration documents, which sail, moor or anchor in Greek waters. The tax will allow circulation for one calendar year. The annual charge will be:
7m - 8m €200
8m – 10m €300
10m – 12m €400
Over 12m €100/metre
Vessels over 12m have two options to reduce costs; pay €10 per metre per month, or be 'permanently based' in Greece and obtain a 30% discount from the annual fee. Conditions to be met to prove 'permanently based' have yet to be published.
'Electronic' payment will be possible annually in December for the following year, or on entry into Greek waters. When arriving in a port of entry, EU boats obtaining a DEKPA, and non-EU boats obtaining a Transit Log, can pay cash on arrival. Boats already in Greece on 1 Jan 2014 will need to pay at their local tax office or port authority to remain in Greece. Receipts for payment must be carried with the DEKPA or transit log, and may be asked for at any time. If proof of payment cannot be produced on request, a penalty fee of 100% (no discounts!) will be added to the tax due.
The circulation tax is not repayable for periods spent outside Greece, but remains valid for the whole period covered by the payment.