Chartering commercial pleasure yachts in Greece

Law 4256/2014 on “Touristic Yachts and other provisions” abolished the requirement for commercial pleasure yachts wishing to start and end the same charter in Greece to be in possession of a valid Greek charter license, and instead replaced it with the obligation to register with a special online “Registry of Touristic Yachts and Small Vessels”.

 

Pleasure yachts with a capacity up to 49 passengers, disposing of sufficient and adequate habitation spaces for the passengers, for the use of which the parties enter into a full charter contract, are considered as commercial pleasure yachts.

 

Until the abovementioned Registry becomes operational, the procedure which was applicable prior to the adoption of the abovementioned law applies, and thus yachts either registered with a Greek flag or an EU flag, must apply for a charter license, if they wish to both embark and disembark passengers within Greek waters.

 

Registration requirements

 

Law 4256/2014 provides that the following registration requirements be met for chartering a pleasure yacht:

a) Obtaining of a Greek Tax registration Number through the establishment of a branch office (for non- Greek companies),
b) Registration in the special Registry of Touristic Yachts and Small Vessels held by the Ministry of Mercantile Marine and Aegean (or for the time being, application for a charter license, as above).

 

Flag requirements

 

Pleasure yachts under the flag of a Member State of the European Union (EU) and of the European Economic Area (EEA) may be charted in the same way as those under the Greek flag, under the registration conditions mentioned above.

For pleasure yachts under the flag of a non-EU or EEA State, additional conditions apply, specifically:

 

a) they must be manufactured mainly of metal or plastic, and

b) have an overall length of more than 35 meters; and

c) have a carrying capacity of more than twelve (12) passengers.

 

Chartering requirements

 

Commercial pleasure yachts must fulfill per 3- year periods, starting on the day they are registered at the above Registry, a minimum number of charter days, as follows:

 

(A) 105 days/3 years for bareboat charters (i.e. without captain and crew)

(B) 75 days/3 years if chartered with captain and crew

(C) 25 days/3 years for those determined as traditional, regardless of whether they are being chartered bareboat or not.

 

The above requirements are reduced for ships aged over 5, 10, 15 and 20 years.

The commencement and termination of the charter is based on the charter agreement based on the place and time of delivery and re-delivery of the yacht.

The minimum charter duration is eight (8) hours per day and are allowed up to 2 charter agreements within the same 24-hour period. Charters executed on the same vessel within the same 24-hour period are considered as 1 charter day for the calculation of the minimum charter days.

 

N.E.P.A. : THE GREEK MARITIME COMPANY FOR PLEASURE YACHTS

 

The Maritime Company for Pleasure Yachts (in Greek: Ναυτιλιακή Εταιρεία Πλοίων Αναψυχής) (hereinafter referred to as “N.E.P.A.”), is a commercial company whose exclusive object is the acquisition, exploitation or management of pleasure yachts under Greek flag which are qualified as commercial, in accordance with the provisions of law 4256/2014.

 

The incorporation document (articles of association) of the N.E.P.A. is established in writing by at least two subscribers and is submitted at the Registry of Maritime Companies of Pleasure Yachts.

 

The N.E.P.A. is established for a specific time period, which is defined in its articles of association, and which cannot exceed 30 years.

The minimum share capital of a N.E.P.A. is 10 000 euros, which is subscribed by the subscribers and paid in full, at the time of incorporation. The minimum nominal value of each share is 1 euro.

 

The shares of the N.E.P.A. may be either registered or to the bearer.

 

Only citizens or legal entities of EU or EEA member- states may acquire property rights on shares of a N.E.P.A., however the articles of association may provide that citizens or legal entities from countries which are not members of the EU or EEA, may acquire such rights in shares representing in total less than 50% of the share capital.

 

The N.E.P.A. is managed and represented by a board of directors, composed of at least 3 members, either natural persons or legal entities, who need not be shareholders. The members of the board of directors are elected by the general meeting of shareholders, with the exception of the first members, stated in the Articles of Association.

 

The representatives of the NEPA are required to pay social insurance and pension contributions, subject to obtaining an exemption in case of similar insurance in another member- state of the EU.

 

The existing legal framework in relation to NEPAs accrues significant tax advantages (e.g. no income tax on profits/ income of the company).

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

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*This document does not amount to professional legal advice as it is only intended for information purposes.