Last Wednesday the 28th November 2012, at their offices at the Baltic Exchange (pictured on the right), the Chairman, Mr. Haralambos J. Fafalios, and the Members of the Council of the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee, hosted a working luncheon in honour of the Greek Minister of Shipping, Maritime Affairs and the Aegean, Mr. Kostis Moussouroulis, which event was also attended by H.E. the Greek Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Mr. Konstantinos Bikas, Vice-Admiral (HCG) Panagiotis Petropoulos, the Greek Maritime Attaché Captain (HCG)George Seferiadis, The Director of the Minister’s Office Mrs. Niki Dandolou and others.
Greeting the Minister, the Chairman said that his presence in the City of London is particularly welcome, since it also reestablishes a tradition of some 80 years, of every new Minister of the dedicated Greek shipping ministry visiting the Committee. This tradition was interrupted only by the hiatus of the recent abolition of such a dedicated shipping ministry and the division of the Hellenic Coast Guard and the reallocation of its greater part to other ministries. This situation, which, as the Committee had repeatedly stressed, was extremely harmful to the Greek shipping industry, has now, thankfully, been rectified.
During the meeting particular emphasis was given to the issues of the Ministerial Law currently under development relating to the organisation and operation of the Ministry, and of the Harbour Corps-Hellenic Coast Guard, to the proposed measures for the simplification and acceleration of the procedures for the registration of ships under the Greek flag and for increasing its attractiveness, to the need for the enhancement and strengthening of Greece’s representation at international fora in general and at the IMO in particular and the modernisation and upgrading of maritime training, to the menace of piracy and its worrying spread in West Africa and the lack of strong political will of the international community to address it in a more effective way and to the measures under discussion on the reduction of CO2 emissions from shipping and on the implementation of the Water Ballast Convention.
The Minister outlined the progress made on several of the above issues since the re-establishment of the Ministry, including on the simplification and acceleration of the procedures for the registration of ships under the Greek flag, which is welcome.
In the main, there was general agreement as to the shipping policy to be followed by Greece, aiming not only to support and enhance the Greek shipping industry, itself, but also, ultimately, to benefit the national economy, as a whole and to promote employment opportunities within the Greek maritime cluster.