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1st major cargo ship returns to Estonian register

The tanker Ristna at the end of last week became the first major cargo ship to return to the Estonian register after a special tax regime stepped into force from the middle of the year, reports LETA/BNS.

The Ristna has flown the Estonian national flag before but opted for the Latvian flag in May 2019 due to the tough competition in the shipping market. The decision to reflag back was made in the light of the special tax regime that came into force on July 1 this year. The change of flag took place on Oct. 30, the Estonian Maritime Administration said in a press release.

Marek Rauk, acting director general of the Estonian Maritime Administration, said that the reflagging of the Ristna back to Estonia proves that we are on the right track, as several shipowners are again showing interest in the Estonian flag.

He said that several shipowners have shown interest in the "shipping package" that stepped into force this summer and now the authorities have taken steps to market the package even more actively.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas meanwhile described the reflagging as the first step in the realization of the potential of Estonia as a maritime nation. He said that the Estonian maritime sector is world class as we provide high quality maritime education, have a favorable taxation system and business-friendly environment, and with the shipping package we have created even more favorable conditions for enhancing the competitiveness of Estonian shipping.

"I am more than confident that the Ristna is but the first of many ships to be flying the Estonian flag in light of the new conditions," he said.

The tanker Ristna was built in 1980, its overall length is 98 meters and its gross tonnage is 2,804 tons. The ship's classification society is RINA. The crew consists of 14 members who come from Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine and Russia.

The vessel is owned by NT Marine AS, and the provider of the technical management service is Welton EnterprisesOU. Welton is headquartered in Tallinn, with a subsidiary in Riga, where some of the personnel are also located. In addition to the Ristna, the company also operates five more tankers, which fly the flags of Cyprus, Lithuania and Latvia.

According to the company, the decision to bring their headquarters to Estonia was also made thanks to the tax package. 

The objective of the package of legislative amendments that entered into force this summer is to bring big cargo vessels under the Estonian flag again. The package creates a favorable tax system for shipping companies, enhances the development of the onshore sector and provides social and health insurance for seafarers who are Estonian residents, which is something that many Estonian seafarers do not have today.

Ships with a gross tonnage of at least 500 tons that are engaged in maritime transport of goods or passengers are eligible for the new special tax regime. Also tugboats and dredgers qualify if their activities include maritime transport.

(Source: http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/good_for_business/?doc=160578)


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