Lloyd's List - EU tonnage tax pressure on Athens and general backlash against offshore business seen as boosting MAR's momentum

MANAGERS guiding the International Shipping Register of Madeira are predicting that Greek shipowners will follow in the footsteps of many of their German counterparts and gravitate to the world's fastest-growing ship registry.

The Portuguese international register, or MAR, is positioning itself as a 'safe haven' for European owners in countries threatened by European Commission moves to enforce a 60% EU-flag quota for fleets to enjoy national tonnage tax benefits.

The two main countries said to fall short of this measurement are Germany and Greece.

A year ago, Brussels asked the Greek government to apply the quota and has given Athens until the start of 2019 to implement the measure, although the issue is one strand in a wider ongoing squabble between the two sides over Greek shipping taxation.

The Madeira-based register has been in existence since 1989 and is still small compared to the top European flags.

But in December 2013, the long-term concessionaire for the flag, Sociedade de Desenvolvimento da Madeira, or SDM, appointed as its agent Euromar, led by managing partner Jorg Molzahn, who had been the Liberian Registry's top man in Hamburg for a decade, together with Albrecht Gundermann, also a former senior manager of the Liberian Registry in Germany and a former director of global shipping at Commerzbank.

In the last three years, Euromar has used its flag service experience and connections in Germany to expand MAR's fleet by 768%. >> read more