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Dear non-Greek speaking members and friends, Ever since the creation of this website, our aim has been to offer an international perspective and look beyond the Greek ferry scene and its small eco-system, for the benefit of both Greek and non-Greek enthusiasts. To that end and for several years now, we have been producing our Hellas Roundup which is with you at regular intervals. Knowing how some of you go to great lengths trying to decipher and translate through google the admittedly difficult Greek language and the colloquialisms we use, we thought we'd make it easier for you and go one step further. So we decided to experiment by producing a kind of recap of the ferry news of the week, in English, which follows in the messages below. The idea is not only to offer developments in bullet points, social-media style, but to enrich them with our commentary, behind the scenes hearsay and personal point of view which will hopefully help you get to grips with and understand better the small Asterix's village which is the Greek ferry scene. As ever, we welcome your comments, suggestions and questions in this depository. Don't forget to browse through our gallery, the vast majority is original content and can be enjoyed without annoying watermarks. For historical purposes and for you to judge us on what comes out to be right or wrong, here is the archive of this weekly commentary.
Saturday, December 19th, 2020 - It appears as if the charter of the Ariadne to Tirrenia has come to an end and the ship will return to Greece. I guess Onorato can find better use for the cash he's been splashing to Attica for the ship. So the question then becomes what will happen to the ship and how Attica will deploy her in the coming months and summer. While there's a number of scenarios and a domino effect which may follow, there's also a rumour that the Ariadne might end up yet again in Italy, only for the account of a different charterer. Obviously GNV springs to mind as the first option, then again you never know. - The new Knossos Palace, former Cruise Bonaria/Olympia Palace is due to sail from Napoli to Greece within the next few days. The entering into service of the ship will conclude Grimaldi's deployment aiming at increased freight capacity in the Piraeus - Heraklion route. The former Knossos Palace to be renamed Cruise Bonaria appears in the Grimaldi lineup between Civitavecchia and Olbia for summer 2021. It remains to be seen whether she will remain a single ship in that role or if there will be a pair of ferries in that route. - The Iris I (former Goheung Iris, IMO 9207651) is a new addition to the high speed Greek fleet. She arrived earlier in the week carried aboard a heavy lift carrier and was floated off in Eleusis Bay while now she is at a shipyard in the Salamina island area. The owner associated with the ship is called Yalozoglou and he is allegedly also the beneficial owner of fast ferry Cat I(former Alkioni). Allegedly this owner is related to Seajets' Marios Iliopoulos. The strange thing here is that none of the 2 ferries has applied for a domestic ferry route so the intentions of their owner are still a mystery. - Check out Arkoumanis' ferry Golden Bridge in Brindisi. In a surprise move this year, her owners decided not to withdraw her in September but maintain a winter presence in the Brindisi - Igoumenitsa route in direct competition with Grimaldi Lines' Corfu and Florencia. Allegedly the ship is working profitably and has attracted considerable traffic. This is a welcome change for me, at last and after so many years we see some expansion move from a Greek company in the Adriatic at the same time when ANEK and Superfast appear to be waiving the white flag to Grimaldi also in this market. - On the same tone, it appears as if 3 of the massive hybrid roros that Grimaldi has under construction at Jinling shipyard, are destined for the Adriatic sea. One of them will be sailing from Turkey and another 2 who will be named Eco Patrasso and Eco Venezia, will be for exclusive Adriatic service. The fact that 500-trailer behemoths will be sailing in the area shows the confidence of Grimaldi in the Adriatic trades and his intentions not only to compete with DFDS in the Italy - Turkey trades but to dominate them. As for the Greek players? All these years they have been communicating that this particular market is rather dead and not justifying any investment. Well, judging by the moves of Grimaldi, dead is their business sense and alive is their complete lack of vision and strategy. It will not be long before the market washes them ashore and we'll be talking in past tense about them. - Loads of discussion around the intended revival of the passenger element in the Greece - Cyprus ferry connection. The 2 governments have decided to subsidise the said connection and the Cypriot side has been heavily promoting and talking about it. As a result of this, Salamis Lines with either the Akritas or the Alexo are rumoured to be heavy favourites. At the same time there's probably a number of companies who might be interested bearing in mind the subsidy. My 2 cents over this is that there's no need whatsoever for a passenger element in this route and that this is just a waste of money. But anyway, let's see who comes out on top in the end. - The recently acquired Hermes is due to take up service between Corfu and Igoumenitsa some time after the New Year. She is now spotting a red hull, catch a glimpse of her over here. - Vintage roro Pelagitis, only one of 2 survivors of a 15-strong class of ships is due to go in winter lay up on January the first, with a view to her 5-year Class survey which is due. After repeated engine problems she is being handled with extreme care and we have to see what this survey might mean for her future. She will be replaced for this period of time by her fleetmate Armenistis(ex- CTMA Vacancier). - Quite a bit of fuss last week around Levante Ferries and the working hours of her crew. In a surprise inspection on board the Mare di Levante, the Greek branch of the ITF claims to have discovered severe breaches of the legislation. Levante Ferries responded and the jury is still out about who's wrong and who's right. Working hours is indeed a serious problem in the Greek ferry industry over many decades and owners have been known to "conveniently misjudge" the timetables of their ferries so as not to trigger any legal obligation for double crews etc. What it comes down to for me, is the unwillingness of the Coast Guard to enforce the law and the fragmented reactions of the Unions. - A blast from the past in the form of a nostalgic view of the former Spero/Sappho and her starboard bridge wing. - The Magellan, freshly acquired by Seajets appears to have found her first employment. The ship crossed the Suez Canal yesterday and is allegedly headed to Oman where she will take up a floating accommodation role. Rather than laying ships up and waiting for the market to rebound, this employment will probably inject some needed cash to the company. Despite what some people may think/hope, this move of buying several cruise ships is destined to be an asset-play only move. And chances are that Seajets/Iliopoulos are frontmen in this business venture, there's got to be some bigger player backing this up. - Check out a view of the Prevelis in Santorini, keen observers will have noticed the expansion of the port. An expansion which is creating a lot of discussions in terms of how effective it is in terms of really protecting the ferries and of course on the front of the lack of corresponding investment on the appalling road which leads to the port. Some things never change in Greece. - Now in some international commentary, with the Spanish press indicating that Armas has put Trasmediterranea up for sale. Armas is allegeldy in heavy debt and in desperate need of cash. Of course Trasmediterranea with some good fleet units and enjoying subsidies in some routes, is an especially sexy looking bride. The news is that apart from Balearia and Grupo Boluda who are the Spanish interested parties, there are 2 unnamed Italian parties interested as well. I consider it a certainty that Grimaldi Lines is one of these 2 parties, I let you imagine the repercussions for the entire Mediterranean if they make a winning bid. At the same time, if the second Italian company which is interested is GNV, in my mind it's a pretty important sign as to the intentions of Aponte in the ferry sector. And if there's one opponent which is stronger than Grimaldi, it's the Geneva based giant. Personal opinion here is that Trasmediterranea will remain in Spanish hands, patriotic capitalism will prevent the government from selling outside Spain. In any case, for sure a hot topic to watch. - Italian sources name the Mobile Express (IMO 9687306) as the roro that Grupo Grendi is chartering in view of their fleet and network expansion. The ship was headed to the Med and is now at anchor off Cadiz. Grupo Grendi have very recently received a concession to operate in and out of Golfo Aranci in Sardinia so there's interesting developments here. If it's not the Mobil Express, there's bound to be another roro in the fleet sometime soon. - The former Fascination/Carnival Fascination has now been renamed Century Harmony and has been sold to unidentified Asian interests, as Tradewinds reported. The aim is to turn her into floating accommodation although it's not known at the moment if this means a hotel open to the public or accommodation for workers in some construction project. - Another piece of international ferry news is that Arab Bridge Maritime of Jordan, appears to have bought the former Grand Peace and now Daleela (IMO 9001306). The ship is underway to Jordan, flies the Cyprus flag and is currently en route to Colombo, Sri Lanka for bunkers. This is a very interesting ferry of a large scale which demonstrates the confidence of the company in the intra-Red Sea trades.