Besides celebrating the arrival of new vessels, Strinztis Lines, now know as Blue Star Ferries, has received government approval to place its Blue Island and Blue Galaxy vessels in the Patras- Heraklion route as of July 2. The vessels depart from Patras every Sunday at 20:00 and from Heraklion every Monday at 22:00.
Greece’s newest in a long line of new, modern ferry vessels, the “Blue Star Ithaki”, owned by Strinztis Lines, made its debut last month at the world’s largest maritime fair, Posidonia. (Not long after the Posidonia exhibition, however, the Ithaki lost its title of Greece’s newest ferry to Blue Star 1, which also belongs to Strinztis Lines.)
Immediately after the fair’s opening, fair visitors were welcomed aboard the Ithaki to explore the new vessel and partake in reception activities. The Ithaki has docked outside the exhibition center in Piraeus after sailing from the Korean shipyard Daewoo Heavy Industries on its maiden voyage.
The 10-billion-drachma vessel Blue Star Ithaki is the first modern car-passenger ferry to sail domestic coastal routes. It comfortably carries 1,500 passengers and 300 vehicles, and is considered to be in a class of its own the spacious decks and top- class services to passengers. The new Ithaki sports the fast- food restaurant chain Goody’s and Flocafe coffee shop. (The Goody’s group has had along- time cooperation with Superfast Ferries’ chairman Pericles Panagoulos, who is the major shareholder of Strinztis Lines.)
It will run the Rafina-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Santorini route as speeds of up to 25 miles an hour. Strintzis awaits another two vessels from shipyards in Holland and three additional ones from Greek Shipyards.
Strintzis Lines has taken delivery of the newly- built Blue Star 1 from the Dutch shipyard Van der Giessen de Noord NV. The ultra-modern vessel, which travels at a speed of 28 knots, can carry 1,600 passengers and 700 passenger vehicles or 100 trucks and 100 passenger vehicles, With front and rear openings, the new ferry is capable of loading and unloading in a mere 15 minutes.
Blue Star 1 has an la carte restaurant, a self- service bistro, four bars, a nightclub, two cinema screens, a casino, several shops, a pool and all modern conveniences.
It will service the Patras-Brindisi-Ancona line, a first for Gerasimos Strinztis’s company, and will link the two Adriatic ports. Travel time between Patras and Brindisi will be a record nine hours while that from Patras to Ancona will last 21 hours.
Blue Star 2, which will service the same route, is close to completion. The operation on the two ships will reinforce Blue Star Ferries’ position in the Adriatic as it means seven Strinztis vessels will link all Greek and Italian ports in the Adriatic on a daily basis.
The Greek ferry line holds sport in market share of Adriatic routes with total number of passengers carried reaching over 409,000. On its domestic routes, the line carried almost 1.5 million passengers last year or 17% more than the year before.
Meanwhile, in Greek shipyards, the Blue Star Chios and Blue Star Myconos are being built.
Construction should be completed on the first by next February and the second by May on next year. Both vessels are being built especially for Greek coastal waters and promise to bring new, high-class service and unheard of speed to domestic sailings.
Separately, at its recent general assembly, Greek ferry line Strintzis received approval to increase its capital by almost 28 billion drachmas through the issuance of new shares. The funds will be used in part to pay for the company’s new investment program that is expected to surpass 100 billion drachmas. The program includes the purchase of even more new vessels and the possible purchase of majority shares in other Greek ferry lines.
For the first quarter of this year, the company announced a 7.4% increase in revenue, which reached 4.1 billion drachmas, when compared with the same period last year.