GREEK COASTAL SHIPPING 1945-1995

 

 

The destruction of Greece’s passenger coastal fleet was one of the worst blows to the country during World War II.

After its liberation in 1944, the Greek state got delivery of some elderly vessels as part of war reparations, which were placed on various coastal routes. One of those ships, the HEIMARA, sunk in 1947 leading to one of the worst maritime disasters in Greek waters. In the following years, Greece agreed with the Italian government in the context of war reparations the construction of a series of four passenger ships, which, however, cost much more than their actual value.

Essentially, the entire post-war development of Greek coastal shipping –particularly during the first two post-war decades– was undertaken by only a few entrepreneurs, without any state support. Starting from scratch, they acquired old British yachts and auxilliary warships and had them converted in Greece into passenger vessels, contributing in the country’s economic reconstruction and in several cases helping their home islands to establish a regular and reliable connection with the mainland.

However, no company lasted long. Most ceased operations having suffered significant losses, while others exited the coastal sector opting to focus on other shipping markets. 

Despite adversities, the Greek passenger coastal fleet managed to gradually grow with the addition of several high-specification vessels capable of efficiently serving Greece’s complex island network. Moreover, the listing of the largest ferry companies on the Athens Stock Exchange in the mid-1990s facilitated the ordering of several newly-built units.

Greek passenger coastal shipping has made notable progress over the past two decades. Nevertheless, some of the sector’s weaknesses, which have negatively affected its growth over the years, still remain.

This section presents all passenger ships placed on coastal routes departing from the port of Piraeus from 1945 up to 1995.

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