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Michalis Sakellis, President Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies (SEEN)

Michalis Sakellis, President, Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies (SEEN)Philoxenia 2012 greeting.

The Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies (SEEN) represents all ferries and passenger ships employed in Greek Domestic Lines as well as in Greece-Italy lines. SEEN also represents some of the most important cruising companies with vessels calling to Greek Ports.

In total, 92 ships are registered today in SEEN representing a total capacity of 93,711 passengers.

During the last 12 years, a significant renewal of the Greek Domestic fleet has taken place. As a result, 70 percent of the passengers traveling to Aegean Islands in 2012 have been accommodated on ultra modern vessels, not exceeding 10 years of age in average.

Today we are proud to say that the Greek Domestic fleet is one of the best or even the best in Europe.

Out of the 124 inhabited Islands of Greece, 100 are served exclusively by sea whilst the existing airports serve a minor portion of the total traffic. Moreover, all the necessary commercial provisions for the islands and all other material are transported only by sea. It is therefore evident that the survival of the islands as well as their development depends on the good services rendered by passenger vessels.

Greek tourism also depends on the above good services since 60 percent of all tourists traveling to Greece visit our islands.

In 2011 it is estimated that 12 million passengers, 1.5 million cars and 450,000 trucks were transferred to the Greek Islands (excluding Argosaronicos islands).

Greece-Italy Lines are also served with ultra modern ferries of less than 10 years of age. The services that are rendered are of high importance for the Greek economy, contributing considerably to tourism with a total traffic of about two million passengers per year, while rendering excellent services to the 350,000 commercial vehicles that are carried every year.

In addition to the general financial problems we are facing in Greece, passenger companies face additional problems due to the continuous bunker cost increase since 2009 and the traffic drop year by year. These problems, if not addressed immediately, may downgrade the excellent services rendered today, with very serious effects on Greek tourism and our islands.

All Ministers involved in shipping, tourism and economy, as well other officials, are well aware of the critical situation and the necessity to take immediately measures.

We anticipate their actions, hoping that next year we shall be able to visit our beautiful islands enjoying the same quality of fast and frequent services.

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