Hellenic Legislation

Legislation in Effect concerning Diving Parks


Α. Basic Legislation

1.Diving Parks are established by article 13 of law 3409/2005 (GG Α/273/2005), as replaced by article 10 of law 4296/2014 (GG Α/214/2014).

2.The term and institution of parks intended exclusively as Diving Parks appears to be utilized for the first time in the aforementioned Greek legislation, which, in combination with law 2971/2001 on the foreshore and beach, sets out the ability to characterise and make concessions of stand-alone marine expanses, independent of the National marine protected areas, to create Diving Parks and in fact ones that can be established by State, municipal, private or mixed-format agencies, as well as by NGOs.

3.This allows for the formation of a broader National System / Network of effectively and sustainably protected and manageable small marine areas, in the form of independent and sustainable Diving Parks, which allow for flexible experimentation with every form of Public, private or mixed initiative and administration, in other words, they allow us to mobilize the full spectrum of social and economic forces in the local economy where these are established.

4.One important innovation of the Greek Law on Diving Parks is, that the provision for their establishment by a State concession of the marine area, differentiates both the form and the effectiveness of the protection these afford the environment as, besides the introduction of legal bans and policing by the competent State bodies (the Hellenic Coast Guard for Greece), which, as we all know, is never enough, the concession agreement creates private rights, which can be protected by the concessionaires both judicially, but also, mainly, directly and independently, in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code.

5.Amongst the basic authors of law 3409/2005, as well as article 10 of law 4296/2014 was the “Athens Law Firm D. Markatos & Partners” in collaboration with marine biologist Kostas Koutsis and other executives in our association.

6.Despite their contrary proposal, article 13 included a regulation that diving parks must maintain a distance of 3 nautical miles from established underwater archaeological sites.

7.This regulation created a major problem and impediment to the development of diving parks in Greece.

8.As documented in a recent scientific article in legal journal “Perivallon kai Dikaio” (Environment and Law), which is reproduced in a separate page of the Tridentstar website, this is an irrational and useless prohibition. Already, in February 2016, our association put together and submitted to the Ministry of Culture a draft bill with its preamble, to eliminate this particular limitation. The draft bill submitted, which was also prepared by the “Athens Law Firm D. Markatos & Partners”, is included verbatim in a separate part of the Tridentstar website.


Β. Spatial Planning legislation

1.The Spatial Planning Legislation which governs Diving Parks is the Hellenic General Framework for Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development (Decision of the Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Public Works for Tourism 6876/4871/2008, GG Α/128/2008), in combination with the Specific Framework for Spatial Planning for Tourism (Decision of the Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Public Works 24208/2009,  GG Β/1138/2009), wherein article 6 sub-chapter E.1.3. establishes diving tourism and its development through the use of Theme Diving Parks with universal spatial planning and provision made for perimeter zones allowing only limited fishing, in order to offer the potential for offset measures for professional fishermen.

2.Amongst the basic authors of Specific Spatial Plan for Diving Tourism was the “Athens Law Firm D. Markatos & Partners” in collaboration with marine biologist Kostas Koutsis and other executives in our association.


C. Legislation for the establishment of Underwater Visitor-Accessible Archaeological Sites (Archaeological Diving Parks).

1.Provisions were made for visitor-accessible underwater archaeological sites under article 11 par. 1 sentence 2 of law 3409/2005, according to which they are established by Joint Ministerial Decision of the Ministers of Culture and Maritime Affairs (now Shipping).

2.Paragraph 1 article 44 of law 4179/2013 inserted the additional text that sets out that: the same decision may also provide the capacity to draw up programme agreements for cultural development in implementation of paragraph 5 of article 100 of L. 3852/2010 (KALLIKRATES) (GG A/287/2010), which shall define the projects, programmes and services of a cultural nature within the visitor-accessible underwater archaeological sites, as well as issues concerning the organisation, management, supervision and exploitation of the activities permitted in these sites, as well as any other necessary detail.

3.On the basis of the aforementioned legislation the following Joint Ministerial Decisions of the Ministers of Culture and Shipping have been issued:

◊ ΥΠΠΟ/ΓΔΑΠΚ/ΔΙΠΚΑ/Φ41/176862/94489/11963/5535/2013, and

◊ ΥΠΠΑΙΘΠΑ/ΓΔΑΠ/ΔΙΠΚΑ/ΤΑΧ/Φ41/2013, which established the first two designated archaeological diving parks in the archaeological sites of Methoni and Navarino (GG Β/2489/2013). The programme agreement under article 100 of law 3852/2010 (KALLIKRATES) provided the concession for the visitor-accessible underwater archaeological sites of Pylos and Methoni from the Ministry of Culture to the Municipality of Pylos – Nestoros, in order to implement the two archaeological diving parks there.

◊ΥΠΠΟΑ/ΓΔΑΠΚ/ΔΙΠΚΑ/ΤΠΚΑΧΜΑΕ/Φ53/12387/6960/772/240 (GG Β/119/2015), The Establishment of Underwater Visitor-Accessible Archaeological Sites – terms, prerequisites for operation and activities permitted within, in the marine areas of the Sporades Islands and the western Pagasitikos Gulf, in the Region of Magnisia, Thessaly.

◊YΠΠΟΑ/ΓΔΑΠΚ/ΔΙΠΚΑ/ΤΠΚΑΧΜΑΕ/Φ17/344762/203211/16908/4712/2015 (GG Β/2655/2015), with which 6 visitor-accessible archaeological sites were established in the marine areas of Lavreotiki/Makronisos, in the Region of Attica.

◊ The initial draft for the first of the above Ministerial Decisions and the corresponding Decision for the Concession of the marine areas by the Ministry of Culture to the Municipality of Pylos – Nestoros, which set out the basic format for all that followed, was carried out by the “Athens Law Firm D. Markatos & Partners” in collaboration with the competent members of staff of the Ministry of Culture, commissioned by the Municipality of Pylos – Nestoros in accordance with the commissioning decision no. 14480/6-7-2012.

4.Despite the existence of the above Ministerial decisions founding them, no visitor-accessible archaeological site has been set up or is functional to date. This is due to the fact that, despite the proposal to the contrary by the foregoing law firm, article 11 of law 3409/2005 requires that visitors be accompanied by divers who are guards of antiquities or archaeologists, who, in the manner in which the Administration interprets this provision, must be civil servants. This, of course, is impracticable and irrational, as it would be inconceivable for any archaeological site that all the guides to the thousands of visitors be civil servants paid from the State, nor is any such provision in effect.

5.In order to resolve this conflict our association has already drawn up and submitted to the Ministry of Culture a draft bill along with its preamble for the amendment of this particular regulation in a manner that would not be to the detriment of the State, which would ensure the protection of the visitor-accessible antiquities greater than that provided for at visitor-accessible archaeological sites on land. The draft bill submitted was prepared by the “Athens Law Firm  D. Markatos & Partners” and is provided in full at a separate point of the Tridentstar website.