Money laundering and embezzlement charges against Greek ship owner, Victor Restis, were dismissed by the Athens-based Greek Supreme Court which stated the defendant’s actions had been standard business practice and therefore not illegal.
Greek ship finance continues its year-on-year contracting, first registered in 2009. At the dawn of 2016 bank loans to Greek shipping companies stood at $62.711bn, a decrease of 2.04% from $64.019bn, though more banks are lending to Greek owners.
A feisty Theodore Veniamis, president of the Union of Greek Shipowners, pulled no punches when he told fellow shipowners gathered for the UGS agm, on 3 February, that Greek shipping is under attack from many quarters.
Even in these times of hardship the renewal of the Greek fleet continues at a pace. To mid-October, a total of 118 ships have been ordered by Greek interests since 1 January for a committed investment of just over $5.6bn.
Greek shipowners face higher tonnage taxes and the phasing out of special tax treatment under the terms of the 3rd bailout deal for the cash-strapped country.
In a bid to defuse mounting concern within Greek shipping that the industry is being seen by the country’s creditors as a possible cash-cow, the government team responsible for shipping has met with the top executive members of the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS).
On 29 June Greek banks and the country's stock exchange remained shut and will do so for at least a week said the government as it imposed capital controls amid fears of a Greek debt default and exit from the Euro.
The influential Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee (GSCC) has attacked the plague “of new laws and legislation that, whilst well-meaning, do not actually better the lot of the seafarer, the environment or the shipping industry in general”.