ABSTRACT

This chapter examines maritime safety from the Greek angle. Greece being a traditional maritime country with a high number of vessels flying its flag, an important number of Greek officers and many enterprises active in the maritime cluster, displays sensibility and consistency regarding both the adoption and the implementation of safety rules. In the introductory remarks, the focus is put on the endangered ‘values’ in need of protection, i.e. human life and the environment, and the progressive international awareness to that end; a brief presentation of the legislative sources of safety rules (international, European, domestic law) is also provided therein. The chapter is further divided in three parts:

The first part provides a systematic presentation of the ex-ante (preventive) regulatory framework, including the measures relating to the construction and operation of vessels as well as those fostering the powers of Greek authorities (in their quality as flag State authorities). In this context, there is a brief analysis of the specific rules that Greece has adopted in order to comply with the flag State requirements, together with the framework relating to the role and liability of the classification societies. The second part examines the ex-post protection of maritime safety, through the implementation of the above preventive measures; thus, the additional perspective of Port State Control is introduced and assessed, taking into account that Greece is bound by European safety packages and is also a member to the Paris MoU. A panorama of the additional legislative and administrative tools that may be used as a vehicle for assuring maritime safety, is also presented, i.e. the weapons of compulsory insurance for maritime claims, of the compensation regimes and of the criminal sanctions that might be imposed for pollution offenses. The third and final part of the chapter is dedicated to some special issues faced and dealt with by Greece, which affect several branches of law and raise sensible socio-political and economic concerns: firstly, the use of armed guards (formally permitted by law) and its impact on maritime safety; secondly, the massive migration flow by sea and the challenges arising therefrom regarding the protection of human lives, the efficiency of maritime law principles and the operation of shipping.