IONIAN SPIRIT: Greek ferries in Libya evacuation
IONIAN SPIRIT sailed Valletta March 4 for Sirte (Daewoo charter, to go to Chania)
Greek ferry companies can expect to make €15m-€20m from the evacuation to offset record losses last year helping to evacuate tens of thousands of thousands of Chinese, Brazilian and Venezuelan workers.
Three Greek companies are operating eight ferries on rolling round-trip charters between Benghazi in eastern Libya and the southern Mediterranean islands of Crete and Malta.
The average daily charter fee for vessels making the four-day voyage is €250,000 ($346,000.
The coastal ferry fleet undergoes surveys and repairs in February to prepare for the tourist season, so there were plenty of ships available.
Anek and Hellenic Seaways, both controlled by the Vardinoyannis group, chartered five vessels last week to the Beijing government. Agoudimos Lines, a small operator, provided one ship.
Two ships belonging to Minoan Lines, a subsidiary of Italy’s Grimaldi group, which can each carry 2,500 passengers are operating the route between Libya and Malta.
These ships usually operate between Greece and Italy but they’d been taken out of service for the winter.
About 18,000 out of an estimated 48,000 Chinese nationals working in Libya have so far disembarked at the ports of Souda and Heraklion in Crete, along with several hundred Europeans, according to Greek officials.
Only a handful of Chinese arrivals had passports and many carried no personal documents, said a port official at Heraklion.
Everyone got a four-day stay permit while the Beijing authorities arrange to take them home.
The ferry evacuation was expected to continue for another 10 days, following additional charter requests by the governments of Brazil and Venezuela.
Wen Jiabao, Chinese prime minister, sent a letter thanking his Greek counterpart George Papandreou for providing “support and mutual solidarity at a difficult time,”.
The 80-vessel coastal shipping fleet posted operating losses of about €250m in 2010, the Union of Maritime Enterprises said.
Passenger and vehicle traffic fell by 30 per cent as crews staged strikes amid a deepening economic crisis, while the cost of diesel fuel increased by 30 per cent.
IONIAN SPIRIT IMO number: 7128887
20/8/2007 Laid up for sale
15/11/2007 Sold to Agoudimos Lines, Greece, named Ionian Spirit, St Vincent and The Grenadines flag
Sisterships: Jamaa II Apollo Express O
Name Ionian Spirit
ex. Names Roslagen , Wasa Express , Viking 3
Imo Number 7128887
Call sign J8B3748
Flag St Vincent and Grenadines
Builder Jos.L.Meyer, Papenburg-Ems 16/4/1972 Launch 17.12.1971 Keel laid 19/7/1971
Hull number 565
Operator Agoudimos Lines
Owner BLURAY MARITIME INC
Manager FLANMARE LINES SA
Length OA 108.67 m
Length BP 96.5 m
Classification Company Bureau Veritas
Classification I Hull MACH Ro-ro passenger ship Unrestricted
navigation ICE CLASS IA MACH
Ice class 1 A