In less than two years, Crete-based Minoan Lines plans to accept delivery of at least seven new fast-ferry vessels. A number of these vessels are slated for routes to European ports, while others will replace older vessels on basic Greek routes.
Of the seven newbuildings, four are under construction at the Fincantieri Shipyards in Italy. Samsung Shipyards of South Korea will build the other three. Total expenditures for the seven reach $650 million. Some 30% of that will come from Minoan, with the remainder from a loan prepared by a consortium of banks in Greece and Europe.
Delivery dates for the new vessels begin this November with a ship to be christened Knossos Palace. Another four vessels are expected in February, April, July and October of next year, and the final two in March and April of 2002.
Separately, Minoan recently completed all the prerequisites to obtain the ISO 9002 certificate for quality and safety aboard its ferry vessels. The award was passed over to Minoan’s vice president, Manolis Koulentakis, by Germanischer Lloyd’s Greek office.
The ISO quality services certificate follows an ISM passenger safety certificate that Minoan first earned in 1996.
Meanwhille, the company’s subsidiary, Minoan Flying Dolphins, has taken delivery of a new highspeed vessel which will ply twice daily between Rafina and the Cycladic islands of Tinos, Syros and Mykonos.
The latest addition, Highspeed 3, is the company’s third vessel linking Rafina with Cyclades.
Minoan Flying Dolphins, which claims to be the biggest coastal shipping company in the world with revenue of 43 million drachmas and a fleet of 77 vessels, recently increased its route frequencies as well. Highspeed 2 carries 625 passengers and 75 cars and sails to the western Cyclades daily except Tuesdays. Sister craft Highspeed 3 leaves every day except Wednesday from Rafina for Tinos-Mykonos. Highspeed 4, which can carry 1,000 passengers and 200 vehicles, began operating in June. It leaves from Piraeus for Paros-Naxos.