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Shipowner Eligibility 

Any company, irrespective of nationality and place of incorporation, may register a ship in Greece. However, for eligibility purposes, Greece considers the genuine link between a vessel’s owners (not the company’s nationality) and the flag. Thus, a vessel may be recognized as a Greek vessel if more than 50% is owned by Greek citizens or by Greek legal entities whose capital is owned in excess of 50% by Greek citizens. Thus, a Greek vessel may be owned by:
• A Greek citizen
• A Greek legal entity (corporation in the form of societé anonyme, a limited liability company, a partnership, a maritime company, etc.)
• A foreign company or corporation which is more than 50% owned by “Greek interests” (In general, the term “Greek interests” is interpreted broadly to include Greek citizens and nationals of Greek extraction.)

Oceangoing vessels over 1,500 GRT may be beneficially owned by foreign shipowners under the provisions of a joint Ministerial Decision (Instrument of Approval), issued by three ministries pursuant to Legislative Decree 2687/1953 (Regarding Investment and Protection of Foreign Capital, as amended).

About the Flag

Greece is a member of the EU, NATO, the OECD, the UN, and the IMO. It is in southern Europe bordering the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean Seas between Turkey and Albania. The nation has a presidential parliamentary government with its capital in Athens. Its legal system is based on codified Roman law. There is a President and Prime Minister as well as a unicameral Chamber of Deputies.

Greece has a mixed capitalist economy with tourism and shipping as major sources of foreign exchange and agriculture that is nearly self-sufficient. Exports include manufactured goods and foodstuffs, and major trading partners are Germany, Italy, and France. The unit of currency is the euro.

Greece has one of the most celebrated maritime traditions in history. Its registry was established by the Royal Decree of 1836 on Commercial Shipping. Thereafter, the Royal Decree No. 10/7-17-1910, as amended, came into force and continues to regulate all registration procedures.

In June 2012 government reforms re-established the standalone Ministry of Merchantile Marine and the Aegean following three years during which it was part of a combined Ministry of Developement, Competitiveness and Shipping. The maritime community believes this restoration will strengthen the Greek fleet and industry.

The Ministry is the central Registry office, but all major Greek ports may accept vessel registration documents and may record mortgages.

Company Formation

Greek law permits various types of corporations to be formed. Companies may be formed with the Commercial Registry of the Ministry of Industry, Research, Technology and Commerce. A societé anonyme, with shares nominal and to the bearer, has a minimum board membership of three. Greek law also allows the formation of limited liability companies, civil law companies, partnerships, and others. In addition, Act No. 959/1979 authorizes a more flexible company called a maritime company, which is suitable for shipowners and simple to form. Foreigners may hold 49% of the shares of the societé anonyme, maritime companies, and other Greek companies. In addition, there is an entity called the special maritime enterprise for the sole purpose of owning vessels under the Greek flag pursuant to the Legislative Decree 2687/1953 (Regarding Investment and Protection of Foreign Capital). For each vessel, a special joint resolution (Instrument of Approval) of the Ministers of National Economy, Finance and Merchant Marine must be issued. For the formation of such an enterprise, only the name of a lawyer who signs the Articles of Incorporation and the name of an agent to receive service of process need appear. Names of shareholders and the first board of directors need not be mentioned in the Articles of Incorporation. The capital of the corporation is expressed in foreign currency, and the total corporate capital may be owned by one person. Shares may be bearer or nominal, and 51% must be owned by Greeks. This type of entity combines the advantages of a Liberian or Panamanian company with the advantages of the EU flag.

Foreign commercial and industrial companies of any type or form legally operating in the country of their registration and dealing exclusively with commercial business whose object lies outside Greece may establish an office in Greece for the management and operation of vessels under any flag under a special permit granted by decision of the Minister of National Economy. Likewise, offices or branches of any type of foreign enterprise engaging exclusively in the administration, operation, chartering, insurance, average adjusting, or ship brokerage of ships over 1,000 GRT under the Greek or a foreign flag (except passenger coasters), may be established in Greece under a permit granted by a joint decision of the Ministers of National Economy, of Finance and of the Merchant Marine. Provided they cover their operation expenses in Greece by the equivalent of at least US $50,000 per year, offices or branches shall be exempted from any taxes on their income, turnover tax, stamp duty, and any other withholding or levy on agreements, on collections and payments, and on any transactions carried out by offices or branches relating to the above mentioned shipping services. In addition, alien personnel engaged by the enterprises shall receive a permit of employment in Greece valid up to two years. Such permits may be renewed every two years without restriction. The permit granted by the joint ministerial decision shall specify the kind of operations or services in which the relevant office or branch engages and the conditions under which it operates. A guarantee of at least US $5,000 or its euro equivalent must be issued to the State for the compliance of the office or branch with the terms of joint ministerial permit. The permit shall be valid for five years and may not be revoked before the end of this period. Required documents for the establishment of an office in Greece of such corporation include:
• Petition
• Articles of Incorporation with official translation into Greek
• Minutes of the board of directors, duly legalized
• Recent certification of the foreign country in which the company to be established in Greece is legally operated that the applicant is validly formed and operates
• Sworn statement of the legal representative of the company in Greece, duly legalized, which states that he accepts his appointment and that the business of the company in Greece is restricted to the operation of vessels of 500 GRT and above, under Greek or foreign flag, operating mainly in international voyages (including the names, registry numbers, flags, international call letters, and vessel type and tonnage details)
• If the foreign company is not the shipowner, a letter from the shipowner or his representative duly legalized, appointing the company opening an office as administrator/agent in Greece


Tonnage taxes (for cargo vessels 3,000 GRT and above; steel cargo vessels of dry and liquid cargo 500 GRT up to 3,000 GRT; passenger vessels of 500 GRT and above; floating drilling units over 5,000 GRT, and floating oil refineries over 15,000 GRT)
Age in Years
Calculation Factor in US$ per GRT
Up to 4 years
5 up to 9 years
10 up to 19 years
20 up to 29 years
30 years or more

Registration and Documentation

The following documentation must be filed with the Ministry of Merchantile Marine (one for each vessel):
• Application to the Ministry of Merchantile Marine
• Memorandum of Agreement
• Certificate of Incorporation, by-laws, corporate documents and resolutions of the shipowning company, names of shareholders, and number of shares owned by each of them in order to verify the “Greek interest”
• A sworn statement made by the representative in Greece of the shipowning company, in which it is stated that the shipowner is composed of Greek interests in the majority
• A letter of commitment by a lender or bank, etc. (only needed if the acquisition of the vessel is to be financed by a bank or other lender)
• A statement in triplicate signed by the President of the shipowning company and duly legalized, appointing a physical person as representative in Greece
• A statement of acceptance of such appointment signed by the company’s representative in Greece

Documents should be submitted in Greek or in a foreign language with a certified translation. The Union of Greek Shipowners will review the file first (reviews are made weekly) and give its certification to the Ministry in a sealed envelope if the vessel to be registered is of Greek interests in the majority. Then the Minister of Merchantile Marine will continue the registration process and issue an Instrument of Approval. The Instrument of Approval is later published in the Government Gazette. One of the main benefits of the Instrument of Approval is that Greek flag vessels and their owners registered in this way are constitutionally protected yet not subject to income tax. Once the Instrument of Approval is granted for each vessel, the originals (unless otherwise noted) of the following documents may be filed with the Registry at any of its Greek port offices or at its Consular Harbormaster Offices in New York, London, or Tokyo to effect permanent registration:
• Application for registration with pertinent vessel data such as the shipbuilder’s name, full date and place of construction, deadweight, gross, and net tonnages, and type of propulsion
• Title, Bill of Sale or Memorandum of Agreement, duly legalized
• Declaration of Appointment of an agent and representative
• Affirmation that agent accepts the appointment
• Permission of the previous registry to register the vessel under the Greek flag
• Deletion Certificate, if previously registered in Italy, Cyprus, Germany, Bulgaria, Albania, Egypt, Georgia, Estonia, Jordan, China, Croatia, South Africa, Tunisia and Russia.
• Photocopy of the existing (foreign) Registry Certificate and Measurement Certificate of the vessel with a sworn statement that no alterations in the vessel’s technical data have been made
• Customs Clearance Certificate which is issued after supplying the Greek customs authority with a copy of the Bill of Sale or Memorandum of Agreement
• Sworn statement by the representative of the shipowner or shipowners that all safety and load line certificates of the vessel as required by Greek laws and regulations will be replaced in due course
• Sworn statement confirming that the vessel is not registered abroad or in any other Greek port
• Cabled instructions from the Ministry of Merchantile Marine to the Registrar confirming issuance of the Instrument of Approval and allowing him to proceed with the registration of the vessel

Upon filing the above documents, the Registrar records the vessel that same day and issues the Certificate of Registry, assigning to the vessel an Official Number of Registration, International Call Sign, the Station Radio License and a provisional Admeasurement Certificate of the vessel valid for three months. After that date, a permanent Admeasurement Certificate is issued by the Inspection of Merchant Vessels Department of the Merchantile Marine. Registrations effected at one of the three Consular Harbormaster Offices are valid for one year and during such time the file must be transferred to a Registry within Greece. These offices are also authorized to accept and register mortgages on the so registered vessels. In addition to permanent registration, a vessel may be provisionally registered at any Greek port or in one of the following foreign ports where Greece maintains Consular Harbormaster Offices:
Antwerp, Buenos Aires, Genoa, Hamburg, Limassol, London, Marseille, New Orleans, New York, Odessa, Panama, Port Said, Rotterdam, Singapore, Sydney, and Vancouver.

Greece now offers electronic registration. For more information, visit

Bareboat Charter Registration

Bareboat charter registration into or out of the Greek flag is not allowed under Greek law.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

Nearly every category of ship may be registered in Greece. There is no age limitation except for passenger vessels other than cruise ships, which are not eligible to register if they exceed 20 years of age. Ships already carrying valid safety certificates are not required to be resurveyed upon joining the Registry. Greece recognizes the following classification societies for the issuance of required technical certificates which, depending on the vessel, include:
• Passenger Ship Safety Certificate
• Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificate
• Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate
• Cargo Ship Radiotelephony Certificate
• Exemption Certificate
• International Load Line Certificate
• Grain Loading Certificate (must be endorsed annually)

These and other certificates may be issued by:
• American Bureau of Shipping
• Bureau Veritas
• Chinese Classification Society
• Det Norske Veritas
• Hellenic Register of Shipping
• Lloyd’s Register of Shipping
• Nippon Kaiji Kyokai
• Registro Italiano Navale


The manning of the vessels and composition of the crew are provided for by the appropriate laws, decisions of the authorities, and the Instruments of Approval. There must be at least, depending on the tonnage of the vessel, 8-10 Greek officers and crew of which, the Master or his replacement plus three to five officers, (thus totaling to 5-7 officers), and three to four seamen (usually the cook steward etc.) must be Greek citizens.


Legislative Decree 3899. 1958 regulates preferred mortgages. A ship mortgage, under Greek law, is a security interest in the vessel of a third party (mortgagor) that has been granted to secure the satisfaction in priority of a right of the holder of the mortgage (mortgagee) against a particular property. Future obligations may also be secured. Mortgages may only be recorded on permanently registered vessels. In the financing of a Greek vessel, the loan agreement can be governed by Greek law, but usually it is governed by the law of the lender or is chosen by the parties; however, the law governing the mortgage may only be that of Greece. The Greek law is rather helpful in this respect as all choice of law and forum clauses are considered valid and enforceable by the Greek courts as agreements concerning the contracting parties only. However, if the primary or underlying obligation (i.e., the loan agreement) is invalid under the law selected, then the Greek mortgage is invalid even though such mortgage under Greek law may be perfect and faultless. The Greek ship mortgage (or assignment of mortgage) may be granted by a notarial deed in Greece or abroad in accordance with legal formalities prevailing at the place of execution, but must be legalized by a notary or the nearest Greek Consul. The mortgage when executed abroad may be submitted in a foreign language with an official translation to be recorded simultaneously.

The Greek ship mortgage, once recorded, grants a "right in rem" to the mortgagee. The encumbrance follows the ship, even when sold. Thus, the mortgagee has a right to pursue, attach, or have the ship sold in order to collect this credit, with preference over creditors of less standing. It is essential that the mortgage specifies the maximum amount secured, as well as the date of maturity. The interest may fluctuate. Registration may be canceled either upon request by the owner through his legal representative or "ex officio," or if the vessel ceases to be owned by Greek interests in the majority. No vessel is deleted when having a mortgage duly recorded at the Greek Registry unless there is prior written consent or discharge from the mortgage holder.


There are no registration fees. There are only minimal documentation dues and other small charges.
For more information, contact the registry.


Ship inspection and casualty investigation services
Commander H.C.G. Christos Stampoulis
Head Officer
Akti Vassiliadi
Gate E1-E2

+30 2131374458
+30 2131371189
+30 2131371627 Gen.duty off. - non office hrs


Stockholm Agreement 96
IMO Convention 48
* IMO amendments 91 
* IMO amendments 93
SOLAS Convention 74
SOLAS Protocol 78
SOLAS Protocol 88
LOAD LINES Convention 66
LOAD LINES Protocol 88
TONNAGE Convention 69
COLREG  Convention 72
CSC Convention 72
CSC amendments 93
SFV Protocol 93
STCW  Convention 78
STCW-F Convention 95
SAR  Convention 79
STP Agreement 71
STP Protocol 73
IMSO Convention 76
INMARSAT amendments 94
INMARSAT amendments 98
IMSO amendments 2006
IMSO amendments 2008
FACILITATION Convention 65
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex I/II)
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex IV)
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex V)
MARPOL Protocol 97 (Annex VI)
London Convention 72
London Convention Protocol 96
INTERVENTION Convention 69
CLC Convention 69
CLC Protocol 76
CLC Protocol 92
FUND Convention 71
FUND Protocol 92
FUND Protocol 2003
NUCLEAR Convention 71
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex III)
PAL Protocol 76
PAL Protocol 90
PAL Protocol 02
LLMC Convention 76
LLMC Protocol 96
SUA Convention 2005
SUA Protocol 2005
SALVAGE Convention 89
OPRC  Convention 90
HNS Convention 96
Cape Town Agreement 2012
SUA Convention 88
SUA Protocol 88

IMO Conventions

Status of Conventions Greece

IMO Convention 48 x
SOLAS Convention 74 x
SOLAS Protocol 78 x
SOLAS Protocol 88 x
SOLAS Agreement 96
LOAD LINES Convention 66 x
LOAD LINES Protocol 88 x
TONNAGE Convention 69 x
COLREG Convention 72 x
CSC Convention 72 x
CSC amendments 93
SFV Protocol 93
Cape Town Agreement 2012
STCW Convention 78 x
STCW-F Convention 95
SAR Convention 79 x
STP Agreement 71 x
Space STP Protocol 73 x
IMSO Convention 76 x
IMSO amendments 2006
IMSO amendments 2008
FACILITATION Convention 65 x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex I/II) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex III) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex IV) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex V) x
MARPOL Protocol 97 (Annex VI) x
London Convention 72 x
London Convention Protocol 96
INTERVENTION Convention 69
CLC Convention 69 d
CLC Protocol 76 x
CLC Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 76 x
FUND Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 2003 x
NUCLEAR Convention 71
PAL Convention 74 d
PAL Protocol 76 d
PAL Protocol 90
PAL Protocol 02 x
LLMC Convention 76 x
LLMC Protocol 96 x
SUA Convention 88 x
SUA Protocol 88 x
SUA Convention 2005 x
SUA Protocol 2005 x
SALVAGE Convention 89 x
OPRC Convention 90 x
HNS Convention 96
OPRC/HNS 2000 x

x: Accession/ratification
d: Denunciation

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