For the first time, the Swedish Mercantile Marine Foundation, has made a call for research funding. The foundation wants to find out what direct and indirect benefits a change of the 183-days rule would bring.
The 183-day rule means in brief that Swedish seafarers employed on foreign deep-sea shipping vessels, and who stays more than 183 days abroad within a period of twelve months, receive tax-exempt income. One condition is that the employer is domiciled within the EEA, the European Economic Area.
But a problem is that the Swedish merchant fleet that is no longer sailing under Swedish flag has changed its character and is no longer dominated by deep-sea shipping.
- One problem is that a ship that previously gone on ocean voyages, suddenly gets a freight within Europe and perhaps starts sailing in the Mediterranean, which breaks the 183-day rule, says Christer Nordling, from the Swedish Mercantile Marine Foundation.
Since 2014, there is a proposal resting at the desk of the Ministry of Finance to amend the rule so more shipping within Europe would be included. A change in the rule would mean less revenue for the state, but the indirect impacts of a change of the rule of law have not been investigated.
- The 183-day rule is an important issue that needs to be resolved. We hope our research, where we examine the indirect impact of a change, will contribute to a solution. The conditions must change, otherwise Swedish seafarers will be too expensive to hire, Christer Nordling says.
The Swedish Mercantile Marine Foundation has been involved in research projects that are geared toward the seafarers. A common area is the working conditions on board ships. But this is the first time the foundation makes a research call.
- It's exciting, we do not know if there are anyone who are interested, but we hope so. This is a new important research area for us, Christer Nordling says.
And if everything goes well, it's very possible that there will be more calls.
- We have several ideas for future calls, you can see this as a first test, Christer Nordling says.