Just three days before Christmas, Minoan Lines placed its newest high-speed vessel, Olympia Palace, on the Patras-Ancona route. The Olympia Palace is the fifth new vessel the Crete-based ferry line launched during 2001.
Konstantinos Klyronomos, the line’s chairman, said during the official inauguration ceremony that the newest vessel “opens new company opportunities for Minoan Lines, which will bring it to the top position among the biggest companies within the Greek and European shipping sector.”
Olympia cost the line some 103 million euros and is a part of Crete-based ferry line’s investment program that includes a total of seven super-fast modern vessels. The total cost of the investment program is budgeted at 734 million euros (250 billion drachmas).
The Olympia Palace and the other new ships that will follow allow the company to completely modernize its fleet for both the coastal shipping and Adriatic routes, as well as “being a major effort in strengthening the competitiveness of Greek shipping,” said a company spokesperson.
Olympia can carry up to 1,880 passengers in cruise-vessel style and can transport some 150 transport trucks and 100 cars. Each of its four Wartsila engines is capable of speeding the ship along at 30 knots per hour.
Late last month Minoan accepted 57.5 million euros from a French maritime company in exchange for its ferry Aretousa, which was built in 1995. Minoan is now reportedly trying to sell its Okeanos and Promitheas vessels for about 170 million euros.
In an additional effort to lighten its debt load, the company has arranged a consortium loan of some 200 million euros and is working on convertible (share exchangeable) bond issue worth some 44 million euros.