RIF : from 24 to 15 meters
The so-called Leroy law provides, after its passage in the joint committee, the change of the threshold of eligibility for the RIF flag for professional pleasure craft. Previously limited to over 24 metres, shipowners will now be able to register their vessels with the RIF from 15 metres.
A gain for shipowners already under French flag
For shipowners whose units are currently under French flag first register, the new law opens the possibility by switching to the RIF of an exemption from employer charges to the ENIM.
A very theoretical gain for crews
Vessels between 15 and 24 metres are mainly operated on a seasonal basis. The crew generally sails less than 183 days a year and will therefore not benefit from the income tax exemption due to the RIF. It will therefore not win financially.
The 24-metre limit is an important regulatory boundary, particularly in the area of safety. New entrants to the RIF will depend on divisions 240 or 241 and not on 242 as those over 24 meters. The result will be lighter safety equipment. Moreover, the inspectors of the RIF, more used to large units, will then not necessarily be the most relevant interlocutors. Faced with this, foreign flags, based on the MCA code specially adapted to the activity, will remain more efficient, handling a large volume of vessels.
The RIF not very competitive compared to the other pavilions
According to the Mediterranean vessel managers interviewed, there are already very few vessels under the RIF flag above 24 metres. Indeed, it is not competitive against flags like Malta, the United Kingdom or the Cayman Islands. These are extremely efficient from 20 meters, with fast services and constraints much lower than the French register. The lack of flexibility and overwork in maritime affairs makes it difficult to extend the flag.
A short term effect and after..
For Loïc Lecourt of the yacht management company Atalante,"it might be a sword in the water, stimulating at first but not very effective". The French ships already in the NUC will switch to the RIF, without any gain for the State. The company manager compares the operation to the transition from the TAAF flag to the RIF in 2005, which had created activity for a few months, without launching a dynamic for new long-term registrations. Appointment is therefore taken after the entry into force to measure the effects...