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The Week in Review


Nick the Greek
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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.

 

Edited by Nick the Greek
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  • 5 months later...

Easter Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

 

Back after a 2-week absence due to work and travelling. In the meantime it's Easter week in Greece and a first chance for the ferry companies to rack up some serious traffic and income in what still looks like being a pre-Covid season in terms of traffic.

 

- Unfortunately the week is highlighted by a harmless accident in the end of it all, that the Superexpress suffered in Tinos last Friday. Apparently the ship lost control and steering which resulted in her hitting the rocks of the port and slightly damaging the pointed end of her left hull. The voyage was stopped there and then with passengers for Mykonos being forwarded by the SuperStar. She then sailed to Rafina and following inspection she is allowed to resume her sailings. My guess is that her owners will wait for permanent repairs until after the Easter period and most probably the long weekend of the 1st of May. An unfortunate start for the Superexpress which had commenced sailings earlier in the week, one hopes this will not set the tone for the remainder of the 2022 season.

 

- Other than that the week was rather uneventful and the traffic was very much increased, justifying a lot of extra sailings especially in the Rafina - Andros - Tinos - Mykonos route. Attica took the decision to send the Blue Star Paros for her annual refit just before Easter time, stretching as usual the entire remaining fleet in a host of extra sailings in order to cope with the Easter demand. This happens every single Easter for a number of years now. I think the extra sailings are added very late and only when they think they can fill the ships up 100pct, the idea of offering the extra sailing a lot in advance in order to perhaps attract more visitors, seems to be escaping them.

 

- Avid readers may remember me moaning about the delays and completely off timetables in the Adriatic earlier this year. Things have gone better since as far as Grimaldi is concerned, the Asterion II though has picked up the torch and emerged as the infamous champion of delays. The latest one has her sailing from Venice this weekend 24 hours than she would normally have sailed. The reason behind all this is that her speed has dropped down to 18 knots, presumably due to overdue engine maintenance or some issue she may be encountering. Her sailings have been calculated on the basis of 21-21.5 knots which is the speed she ought to have been achieving. It's not the first time a ship is facing similar problems. It's the first time though that Attica are simply refusing to adjust the timetables of the ship bearing in mind the ship's true capabilities at this point in time.

 

- Did a sailing on the Superferry earlier this week. The ship is at her usual high standards, what stood out is the cleanliness even though I was sailing in the early evening and the ship was coming off her morning crossing. I highly recommend a sailing on her, come summertime. Speaking of Golden Star Ferries, their new acquisition Andros Queen is now in Piraeus and the expectation is that she will receive a mild conversion, rather than the drastic rebuilt that we saw on the Superferry. Eagerly expecting the final outcome, in the meantime you can see a collection of photos of her.

 

- Seajets' Sporades Star commenced her sailings and the initial impressions about her seem to be very positive from the locals. An extensive interior rebuilt has gone a long way to justify this, you can see her in her new livery here, together with a host of interior photos.

 

- Another new arrival is the fully rebuilt Antigoni, a landing craft type ferry that has already commenced sailings in the Saronic Gulf. I really like her colour scheme and you can see a lot more of her here.

 

- News about the Smyrna are basically some statement by the deputy Minister of Shipping, highlighting the need for a connection between Thessaloniki and Smyrni(Izmir). I can practically guarantee you the deputy Minister had no idea of this need up until a few months ago, it seems though that the owner of Levante is talking to people very high up in the Greek government. This has resulted in miraculous revelation and enlightment within the Ministry of Shipping, which in turn means one can smell the State subsidy to Levante Ferries for this route. Oh well, we're a rich bunch anyway:rolleyes:.

 

- The schedules of the Cat I from Agios Konstantinos to Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonisos for the summer season has been published. Incidentally the commercial name of the venture is Magic Sea Ferries, a name which personally makes me think of The Who :D. Long story short, from the timetables it looks as if the sailings have been calculated on the basis of the "fast ferry" sailing at 23 knots, instead of the advertised 30 knots. Where I come from this is called a joke, i'm sure if you ask a legal counsel specialising in contract law, if this turns out to be the case, he will tell you that it could conceivably be a breach of the contract of carriage. This one is not starting with the best of omens, let's watch it out.

 

- Last but not least one can already hear the bells of the churches in Piraeus ringing in joy. That's because the union of the ferry owners has finally woken up to the fact that there are a host of new environmental regulations around the corner and that they need to adapt somehow, realising that they cannot afford this. If you look at their deck of slides on the subject, it's stuff that this humble forum has been debating about in our technical section for many years now, I kid you not. Not because we're some sort of wise bunch but because for anyone who works in shipping and looks beyond the confines of the Greek reality, these are issues that have been burning for a number of years now. I guess better late than never, I hope even if belatedly the ferry sector and the surrounding industry can get their act together.

 

- By the way, we have a bunch of new videos in our Youtube gallery, check out the Nissos Samos in Chios, the Amandine in Rotterdam, the Isle of Inishmore in Calais and the Antigoni in Piraeus.

 

All the best,

Nikos, Piraeus.

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