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26 May 2022 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 15:59 GMT+2

May 11, 2022

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Nautilus International criticizes the Swiss government for its removed the flag requirement from the proposed law on tonnage tax

Reported attempt to deregulate the flag Swiss

The nautilus International trade union, whose mission is to safeguard the interests of seafarers in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Switzerland, denounced the Swiss government's attempt to 'deregulate its flag'. Referring to the Proposal for a law on tonnage tax applicable to ships adopted by the Federal Council on 4 May, the trade union organisation pointed out that this proposal 'risks creating conditions that would frustrate any an effort to achieve environmentally friendly maritime transport, socially and economically sustainable'. At the center of the Criticism of Nautilus there is an attempt to introduce a legislation, to be approved by Parliament, which removes what in the opinion of the union is the most important to avoid this risk: the flag requirement.

The bill provides that the conditions according to to which a ship may be subject to tax on tonnage are that is entered in the register of the ship Swiss or in the register of a state that has ratified four international conventions (International Convention of 1973 for the prevention of pollution by ships; Convention 1974 International for the Protection of Human Life in sea; 1978 International Convention on the Standards of training, enabling and keeping watch for seafarers; Maritime Labour Convention, 2006) considered the main on maritime transport and thus ensures compliance with the minimum standards and the obligations laid down therein.

Referring to the will expressed by the Swiss government to create, with the introduction of a tonnage tax in the Swiss tax law, 'an appropriate instrument for creating a level playing field in a competitive environment international in order to attract maritime shipping companies and thus guarantee the attractiveness of the business location Swiss", today Holger Schatz, national representative of Nautilus Switzerland, noted that these arguments ignore the fact whereas 'the granting of the tonnage tax, for example in the EU, is subject to strict conditions allowing regulation in the field of protection of workers, safeguards of the environment and safety concerns'. Schatz has recalled that maintain the flag requirement in legislation Switzerland, as well as all associated conditions aimed precisely at to these safeguards, it would mean that "a company that you wish to benefit from tonnage taxation not only should be domiciled in Switzerland, but should also place a large part of its fleet under the Swiss flag or one EU state. The EU - highlighted Schatz - uses this type of legislation to try to block or even reverse further the phenomenon of the transfer of the flag of ships oceanic towards the so-called "flags of convenience" or offshore flags such as those of the Bahamas, Liberia or Marshall Islands'.

Also referring to the fact that to be admitted to the tonnage Swiss tax ships may fly the flag of a State that has ratified the four international conventions, Schatz has noted that 'this is indeed the case with the most of the offshore flags, but - he specified - there is a big difference between the formal recognition of regulations internationals such as the Maritime Labour Convention of 2006 and their implementation'.

Schatz noted that the legislation proposed by the government it would also undermine the protection hitherto offered to seafarers. from the Swiss flag: "our many years of experience, but also the most recent incidents with seafarers kidnapped by pirates, with imprisonment on dubious charges in Nigeria of seafarers used as scapegoats, or the current fate of the Ukrainian seafarers, all this shows how effectively the seafarers under the Swiss flag are protected at a crisis. An important example is that of diplomacy Switzerland. Under the Swiss flag - schatz stressed - the seafarers enjoy exceptional protection at international, which generally does not happen under flags of convenience».

Schatz concluded by noting that "the abandonment of the obligation of the flag requirement is all the more surprising given that the Swiss government announced recently, in February of this year, which would have developed a maritime strategy holistic and global with the involvement of business, science and parties Social. Now the tonnage tax bill anticipates this process and threatens to create conditions that would nullify any effort to carry out a transport maritime ecologically, socially and economically sustainable'.

ADSP Tirreno Centrale
PSA Genova Pra

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