AFP
Wire Service
2 minute read
11 Jun 2022
1:00 am

Greek shipowners, EU’s top fleet, slam climate plan

AFP

Greek shipowners control almost 21 percent of the world's tonnage and 59 percent of the EU fleet.

A cargo ship stands at the quay and is being unloaded at the harbor CuxPort at the North Sea in Cuxhaven, northern Germany, on December 16, 2020. (Photo by Patrik Stollarz / AFP)

Greek shipowners, the sector’s leaders in Europe, criticised the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions plan on Friday as a threat to the competitiveness of the bloc’s fleet and called for global rules instead.

The EU’s “Fit for 55” package aims to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030. 

The head of the Union of Greek Shipowners, Melina Travlos, said the proposals would “strike at the competitiveness of European shipping” by increasing operating costs.

“We insist solutions must be international and under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization,” Travlos told reporters on the closing day of the Posidonia exhibition, Greece’s premier shipping fair.

According to UGS figures, Greek shipowners control almost 21 percent of the world’s tonnage and 59 percent of the EU fleet.

“We should be careful on how we handle European shipping,” Travlos said.

“The (shipbuilding) industry in Europe, which used to be very strong, has left,” she said. “It left because Europe essentially chased it out… at this rate, shipping will also leave for the East.”

The EU’s climate plan was dealt a setback this week when the European Parliament voted against a key part of the legislation, its carbon trading system.

Travlos on Friday also defended Greek shipowners who continue to carry Russian crude oil, amid international outrage over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

“Of course we all condemn any violent acts, such as what is happening now from Russia towards Ukraine. But we cannot comment on any legal commercial activity,” she said.

“Greek shipping is not doing something illegal. It has broken no embargo. Whenever sanctions are imposed, we are the first to respect them,” the UGS president said.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last month said shipowners “may talk to (their) conscience” about transporting Russian oil and other goods, though he admitted there was no ban on the practise.