LIBERIA has become the flag of choice for Greek ship owners and operators, securing the leading position for the first time in more than forty years since the early seventies.
Figures produced by the Greek publication Shipping & Finance, which bases its findings on data from the Marine Information Services database for Greek and Cypriot shipping companies, confirm that the Greek merchant fleet now includes 800 Liberian-flag ships, ten more than registered under the Greek flag, and 300 more than are registered under the flag of Panama.
Scott Bergeron, CEO of the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the US-based manager of the Liberian Registry, says, “This news is testament to the strong links which have existed between Greek shipping and the Liberian flag, dating back to the day in 1949 when the Stavros Niarchos-owned oil tanker World Peace became the first ship to be registered under the Liberian flag. From that time until the present day, the Greek shipping community has supported the Liberian Registry, and vice-versa, through good times and bad.
“Liberia’s dominant presence in the Greek shipping sector owes much most recently to the efforts of Michalis Pantazopoulos, Senior Vice-President of LISCR (Hellas) SA in Piraeus, and to the continuing support of Capt Nick Soutos, President of the Soutos Group of Companies and Consul-General of Liberia in Greece since 1971.
“The shipping ties between Greece and Liberia have become even stronger during the extremely difficult economic climate of the past six years, and it is gratifying to see that the Liberian flag is now the number one choice of Greek owners and operators.
“Greece remains the undisputed number one shipping nation in the world, and it is appreciable that it has demonstrated its continuing faith in the world’s leading open ship registry in such a transparent way.”
The Liberian Registry is one of the world’s largest and most active shipping registers, and has long been considered the world’s most technologically advanced maritime administration. It has a long-established track record of combining the highest standards of safety for vessels and crews with the highest levels of responsive service to owners.