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Greek merchant ships, the strongest worldwide

President of the Union of Greek Ship owners, Yiannis Lyras, said recently that the Greek merchant fleet stands for at least 17.4 percent of…

President of the Union of Greek Ship owners, Yiannis Lyras, said recently that the Greek merchant fleet stands for at least 17.4 percent of the world fleet in terms of tonnage, adding that in March, 2000, Greek-owned ships amounted to some 3,548, or 150,966,324 tones. He said that ships carrying the Greek flag headed the league in the face of other EU member nations and represented some 38 percent of the EU`s merchant fleet.

The Greek-owned merchant fleet today was the largest in the world, with the second largest trailing far behind. But only 25 percent of the Greek-owned fleet bore the Greek flag, bringing the Greek-flag fleet to the 5th position worldwide, and number one in the EU, where it accounted for 50 percent of the European fleet.

At the other side of the Atlantic, and specifically in New York, Greek Minister of Merchant Marine Christos Papoutsis told reporters that Greece is the number one maritime force in the world and this role was recognized by the United States which, as a political superpower, played an important role in world organizations where the interests of Greek shipping find a forum for discussion or formulate the legal framework within which Greek shipping functions.

The Greek Minister, who was in the US for talks with US officials, said that Greece is a very important interlocutor of the US, which shares the same principles for the development of shipping policy, and particularly safety of navigation, protection of the marine environment, and boosting competition.

Noting that Greek coastal shipping vessels were considered among the safest to enter US ports, Papoutsis also said that the safety of the services provided to passengers and tourists in Greece are applied with the strictest specifications.

Papoutsis underlined that Greece is included among the countries that impose strict controls on ships bearing its flag and adheres to all the international specifications and rules of safety, and the rules for protection of the marine environment, taking significant initiatives in that direction in the framework of the EU and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Papoutsis, who also met and held talks with NY-based ship owners, said that the Greek government was optimistic that in the forthcoming years Greek shipping will have, at political level, the best possible framework to enable it to develop and reign supreme in the world once again.

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