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Vafias: Only 800 out of 5,500 ships have a Greek flag – This must change

(Φωτ. Papadakis Press)

The issues that concern shipowners such as the new measures for greenhouse gas emissions, the regulatory framework, the new constructions and the trends in the international shipping markets were raised in the second panel of the 8th Naftemporiki Conference with the participation of Greek shipowners George Prokopiou and Haris Vafias.

In the last two years, we have seen long delays in deliveries and the prices of new ships increasing, Vafias said. “The shipyards we were working with are also full, and there is a risk with the fuel. Instead of doing nothing, we thought of acquiring second-hand ships,” he explained.

He also referred to the uncertainty about alternative fuels. “Nobody knows what will happen in the future. We may be told that ammonia and green methanol don’t work and we have to continue with oil. Or they may inform us about the end of oil as of 2035,” he said.

Need for IMO feasible targets

Vafias stressed the need for the IMO to set goals that are achievable. He cited the example of ammonia and green methanol, saying that the production of alternative fuels is low if somebody wants to turn to ammonia and green methanol.

The Chinese brand

Asked to comment on the progress in the Chinese shipyards, Vafias said: “Certainly the Chinese have made leaps and their ships have surpassed their Korean counterparts in quality. The problem is still simply the brand. Their brand is considered cheap.”

The Greek flag

One of the big thorns, as he said, is the fact that out of 5,500 ships, only 800 have the Greek flag. “Why not have 2,500 ships with the Greek flag? Because the law is so strict, it doesn’t allow us. It is a shame that countries with a much smaller maritime power have many more ships under their flag,” he commented.