The Greek government is considering legislation to formalize the obligations of vessel insurers, according to local reports. A minor cargo spill off the coast of Myconos late last year led to difficulties when the insurer stated that the owners had not paid their premiums, and therefore the vessel was uninsured. 1980-built, Panama-flagged 2,466 gt Little Seyma (IMO 7832804), owned by Dona Line Shipping care of manager M&M Marine Shipping of Istanbul, had been en route from Tuzla in Turkey to Cyprus’s Famagusta port. It started its journey in Russia, with a load of 2,700 tons of animal feed, but on December 22nd 2017 it ran aground off the islet of Tragonissi, near Myconos, in the Aegean Sea. Some of its cargo leaked as a result.
On learning about the incident, the vessel’s insurer, reportedly VSK Insurance Co of Russia, informed the Greek Shipping Ministry that it had not been paid the insurance premium and that, therefore, the vessel was not covered for the damages it caused.
VSK is understood to have agreed to cover the damage “on a voluntary basis”, but not without challenging a proposal by the head of Greece’s state port authority that vessels which could not prove they had paid their insurance should be prevented from sailing.
Legislation being prepared by the government would seek to enshrine the obligations of insurance companies, even in the case of foreign vessels transiting Greek waters, local reports claimed.