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Displaying items by tag: Seafarers' Scheme

The European Commission has approved extending an Irish scheme to refund employers' social security contributions for seafarers on certain vessels until December 2028.

The aim of the scheme is to increase the attractiveness for Irish shipping companies to employ seafarers, thereby enhancing the competitiveness of the Irish shipping sector.

The measure was originally approved by the Commission in September 1999, was extended in 2005,2011 and 2018, and is due to expire on December 31st 2022.

The Commission says that Ireland notified the prolongation of the scheme until December 31st, 2028, with a budget increase of €300,000, bringing the overall budget to €4.2 million.

Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of reimbursement of social security contributions to employers of seafarers working on vessels registered in the shipping register of a member state of the European Economic Area.

The registered vessels must be self-propelled and have more than 100 tons of gross tonnage.

The Commission says it assessed the scheme under the EU State aid rules, and in particular under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Guidelines on State aid to maritime transport.

The Commission says it found that the scheme continues to be “necessary and appropriate to promote the attractiveness of the employment of seafarers in Ireland and enhancing the competitiveness of Irish ship operators”.

It said that the measure “continues to be proportionate, as it is limited to the minimum necessary, and to have a limited impact on competition and trade between member states”, and so extension is in line with EU State Aid rules.

Published in Ports & Shipping