Prompted by numerous emails asking how to divest from the Belgian or Dutch flag due to the recent abolition of the “light” recreational registers that the two European nations had established, we verified that going back to the Italian flag is a real mess. And it is much less expensive to adopt the French one (about 1000 euros).
Roberto De Varda, one of our readers, found an alternative at an even lower cost. Switch to the Slovenian flag. In a few simple steps. He decided to tell us how he did it in a letter to our editor.
SO I SWITCHED TO THE SLOVENIAN FLAG
Dear Mr. Director,
I have been a devoted reader of yours since the first issues of the beautiful magazine.
I would like to inform you about my experience regarding the Belgian flag, a topic that your magazine has often covered.
I am a happy owner of a Belgian-flagged boat that has been moored for several years in Greece and that I do not intend to bring back to Italy for now.
As is well known, it is no longer possible to renew the registration so I was planning to return to the Italian flag. I had already arranged with a licensed Italian engineer to make a little trip in the spring to Leros for the visit and then the issuance of the famous “RINA Certificate” necessary for registration.
Unfortunately, COVID 19 disrupted the plans, so we postponed the trip first to June and then to September. In the meantime, I read in your magazine the article, “Chaos Flags: France Beats Italy”(HERE the web version) in which the enormous difficulties in returning to the Italian flag in addition to the impossible costs and timeframe are very well explained.
Alarmed, I looked for alternatives to the French flag as suggested in the article. I have tried S.Marino, Poland, Malta but to no avail. Then I came across an account of an Italian shipowner who had successfully opted for the Slovenian flag.
I also turned to the same Slovenian agency (MARE OPTIMUM -Izola – Slovenia:
– +386 41 508 233 ) and a new world opened up. I sent the required documents, and after a week I was sent the nr. Slovenian registration of the boat. After another 7 days the Slovenian navigation booklet was ready up to 200 miles from the coast.
The VHF license with the MMSI number was sent to me after another 15 days because it was issued in Ljubljana. All this at an insignificant cost of only €610. Incredulous, I considered going to Izola to pick up the much-desired booklet in person.
I got to know the owner of the Mare Optimum Agency Sign. Tom Davidovic, a kind, punctual and professional person who also speaks perfect Italian. Along with the booklet he also proudly handed me the Slovenian flag to hoist on my boat.
Since the shipowners who have to or will have to divest the Belgian flag are several hundred of whom I think a good part of your readers, and who will surely find themselves in great difficulty as I had found myself, I hope you will publish this experience of mine to inform your readers. In thanking you, I salute you.
Roberto De Varda
(Cover image source: greenpearl.org)
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