CONTROL AGAINST ANTI-INTERFERENCE
Mr. Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Madam President of the Supreme Court,
Honorable Presidents of the Board of Directors of the Court of Appeal of Piraeus and the Court of First Instance of Piraeus,
Mr President of the Bar Association,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a special pleasure to be here today to welcome the initiative of the Athens Law School, the Piraeus Bar Association and the Maritime Sections of the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance of Piraeus. To organize today’s important scientific event, which seems to exceed the limits of scientific knowledge and wisdom, at the excellent Eugenides Foundation.
It is an event that aims to highlight the important and systematic work that some of you in this room have done to modernize the Greek Code of Private Maritime Law to a very high degree.
And from what I understand at least as far as I can access this deep scientific knowledge, it was not an easy task at all. I realized this by discussing with my colleagues in the Ministry, people in the naval practice, how difficult it is to arrive at such a codification.
But before I go on, I want to give credit to the previous leadership of the Ministry of Shipping and Insular Policy for having this very important initiative and supporting the project from the beginning which ultimately led to the adoption of the new Code of Private Maritime Law.
I think we all in this room should start with a big thank you to Professor Lia Athanasiou. I think he was the soul and the main pillar of the team as well as his partners, Mr. Antonis Adapasis and Manolis Konstantinidis who gave flesh and bones to this difficult task.
It is difficult to list all the participants who had such an important contribution but I think my thanks go to everyone: Scientists, Academics, Judicial Officers, Legal Specialists, Executives of our Ministry and representatives of key Shipping Agencies. For the thorough and essential work that has been done.
I also thank everyone who is ready today to speak and share important knowledge in the sessions that will follow and I believe they will help even further to be able to implement this Code in a fair and objective way.
The Code with knowledge and expertise contributes decisively to the success of the maritime justice project. It was built with collective wisdom and I think we should all be proud.
If one sees the result, even someone like me who is not related to maritime law, has no scientific basis, I think the result speaks for itself.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The shipping sector was, is a source of development for our country. I think he is the country’s best ambassador abroad. I think this is the first time I feel such power representing the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy.
You feel equal with your interlocutors, and I think this is extremely important. It proves how strong Greek shipping is. When we build on this important strength of Greece, which is shipping, the more we build the strength of this sector increases, and it enables us to have such an important international presence.
Strengthening this sector was and remains a strategic goal of the Prime Minister and the Mitsotakis government. At the same time, this sector is so important for Greece, for Hellenism, it plays an indisputable and very vital role in our economic interests, so that very high-level jobs, professional employment in the whole range of occupations related to shipping are offered. But it also opens up a lot of jobs for the new generation which is very important.
But in a fluid and rapidly changing global and regional geopolitical landscape, it is imperative that the legal framework of Greek shipping be modern, adaptive and flexible. To be able to respond to today’s needs and challenges. But also of the immediate future.
The recent updates to the Code of Private Maritime Law serve this very purpose. And they confirm our commitment to ensure that our maritime legislation is not only up to date but in harmony with European and international standards.
The new legislative framework, beyond the fact that it brings Greek maritime law into the modern era, seeks to establish and maintain the international profile of national maritime legislation. Always in coordination with existing and anticipated international regulations.
This is a great value and again kudos to the contributors.
It also seeks to connect with organizational and technological developments. Which are undoubtedly many and are largely linked to the progress of digital technology and the adoption of measures for the development of the so-called “Green Shipping”.
Even more, it seeks to make the Greek legislative framework more attractive and friendlier to traders, so that it is more often chosen as applicable by the contracting parties and to contribute, to the extent it is responsible, to the strengthening of the Greek flag.
It goes without saying, of course, when we are talking about a Code of Maritime Law, as with all legal matters, that some of the individual issues, as Mrs. Athanasiou explained to me in our meeting, still need further processing. The team is ready at any time to do this processing and be able to adapt the new data.
In cases where the issuance of more specific regulations is required, with Ministerial decisions, such as in the case of keeping the register and other public books, the electronic filing and issuance of documents and certificates, I believe with your own advice and monitoring Mrs. Athanasiou and the other contributors, this process should be immediately activated by us at the Ministry.
After all, it is required to give substantial substance to the demand for effective publicity and better service to traders.
Our Ministry’s priority is through the new data that the Code brings, and I believe that it will indeed be a revolution for the Ministry, is the digitization of the register. And we are launching the procedures to implement this necessity as quickly as possible. We are already late, we must admit, but you show us the way through your great work.
Equally important, based on the European experience I have, is the international orientation at many levels, which is also based on the Code but extends to other areas as well. In order to make the Greek regulations more widely known and to strengthen the cluster of legal maritime services, to facilitate the reception of new International agreements.
For this purpose, a translation of the Code into English has already been prepared and will be released under the supervision of the President and Members of the Legislative Committee.
In the same spirit, as far as International Conventions are concerned, we are preparing, with the agreement of the Agencies, to ratify the International Convention regarding Liability for Damages related to the transport of dangerous and harmful substances (HNS 2010). And the Code, from what I am informed, has prepared the ground regarding the status of liability and its limitation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In closing, I would like to point out that there is a lot that still needs to be done in various pieces of legislation and they concern maritime law issues, some more imperative and others less so, I and the Ministry’s Services are aware of this.
I had a very constructive and productive experience through this relationship with Mrs. Athanasiou’s team, but these actions proved to be what we call a good start. With system, method and prioritization, everything will fall into order.
Our commitment is that together we will continue the effort to complete this great project that will make not only the Code but the maritime legislation in Greece the most innovative. Greek shipping is entitled to it, the Greek sailor is entitled to it, the country is entitled to it.
We must invest in the issues of shipping, maritime law, the Code, in order to keep the lead and be ahead of everyone because we deserve it.
Thank you very much.
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