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  • Writer's pictureAlexandros Vrailas

AIANTAS Tribute and Moments of Trip

Trip: 14 August 2020. From Megara to Salamina, with the AIANTAS of Aiantas Ferries Company.

The landing craft AIANTAS was built in 1999 in Greece for the Salamina-based company Aiantas Ferries Company. She was one of two sister ships, with the other one (also built in 1999) being the MARGARITA II of Margarita NE (currently the OLYMPIOS ZEUS of ANEM Ferries). She was deployed on the Megara-Salamina line, where she would usually operate during the summer, while also serving the Perama-Salamina line (where the MARGARITA II was also operating prior to her sale to ANEM Ferries) during other moments of the year. In 2009 she was deployed on the Arkitsa-Aidipsos line, hence connecting mainland Greece with Evoia via the North Evoian Gulf. In 2010 she moved to another service on that same gulf, as she was inserted on the Agios Konstantinos-Agios Georgios Lichados line, which she served for three seasons. In 2013 she returned on a full-time basis to the Megara-Salamina line, where she has since been remaining.

Overall, the AIANTAS rightfully justifies her namesake, who was the legendary King of Salamina in Homer's Iliad. Indeed, she has spent the bulk of her career operating on the Megara-Salamina line, operating there in all but four seasons so far. Despite only being 21 years old, she is the most experienced ship on this short line, which helps connect the Western section of Salamina with Megara (located between Athens and Corinth, and next to Elefsina and Agioi Theodoroi) via the Megara Gulf, which is the Northern section of the Saronic Gulf. She therefore a valuable ship for the island of Salamina, and she has also been praised for providing reliable service almost all year long, with very few absences. She also had a good spell on the North Evoian Gulf during her four seasons there, although her owners preferred to keep her in her preferred home base in Salamina.

As you saw it in the previous Blog post, I headed from Salamina to Megara for the first time with the PANTANASSA of Pantanassa NE. After having seen the port of Megara, it was now the time for me to head back to Salamina in order to return to the port of Paloukia. Coicidentally, the ship that was waiting for me at the port was the AIANTAS. As a result, this was my first time traveling with her, as well as my second crossing on the Megara-Salamina line. Moreover, it was my second trip of the day to Salamina, as I had previously arrived there from Piraeus with the small passenger boat GEORGIOS BROUFAS of Broufas Vessels.

A view of the AIANTAS, right after she had arrived in Megara from the port of Faneromeni in Salamina.

The AIANTAS seen in Megara, in what was her eighteenth season on the Megara-Salamina line, as well as her eighth consecutive summer on the line.

The AIANTAS docked in Megara, whose port is also known as Pachi. She has so far been the only ship to operate for Aiantas Ferries Company.

I boarded the AIANTAS as soon as she had finished unloading her previous passengers. Unlike the PANTANASSA, the AIANTAS looks like a standard Greek landing craft, with her accommodation superstructure and her bridge being located near her stern. The rest of her hull is her open garage, which stretches until her bow and her ramp. Her name is written right below her bridge, in an Ancient Greek character font.

As it is the case with most landing craft, the AIANTAS has side alleys that lead passengers from the entrance to the accommodation superstructure. Here is a view from the starboard side alley.

Just like the PANTANASSA, the AIANTAS has three decks. The first one, the lower deck, includes the garage and the engine room. The middle deck has the ship's bridge and indoor lounge area, while the upper deck is an open deck that has many outdoor seats. Here is a view of the starboard side alley located right next to the indoor lounge area.

A view of the ship's indoor lounge area. It includes multiple dark blue lounges attached to the walls or on metallic columns, as well as a few tables. There is also a small bar in the middle section of the lounge area.

Another view of the ship's indoor lounge area.

Inside the lounge area, I saw a picture frame showing the ship in her original livery, back when she was simply fully painted in white, like most landing craft. She only changed her livery for the first time in 2017, when her hull was fully painted in dark blue and was also featuring the initials of Aiantas Ferries Company. She reverted to her current livery in 2019.

A view of one of the doors leading to the indoor lounge area. While its base is made out of wood, the middle features a glass window, on which a portrait of the legendary King Aiantas (after whom the ship is named) can be seen alongside the ship's name. Aiantas, also called Aias in Greek and Ajax in foreign literature, was the King of Salamina who was said to have fought alongside the Greeks during the Trojan War.

A staircase on the ship's port side, which leads passengers from the middle deck to the upper deck.

A view of the outdoor area on the middle deck, which features the ship's main lifeboat.

A view of the upper deck, which features a wide open deck area and the ship's funnel. One can spot several dark blue benches, aligned one behind the other.

At approximately 14:15, the AIANTAS departed the port of Megara in order to head towards Salamina. Just like the PANTANASSA, she makes the trip in just five minutes. As a result, passenger barely have the time to take a seat and already find themselves at destination in just a few minutes. Despite this being a short service, it is essential for the regular connection of Salamina with Megara and the nearby towns.

Due to the short distance separating Salamina from Megara, I could clearly spot the port of Faneromeni. There, I saw the other two landing craft operating on the Megara-Salamina line. The first one was the PANTANASSA of Pantanassa NE, which was maneuvering in order to leave Salamina. The second one was the landing craft ALKYON II of Farmakoris-Villiotis NE.

The PANTANASSA seen maneuvering in order to leave Salamina. She was the ship on which I had traveled almost an hour before my trip with the AIANTAS.

The PANTANASSA seen maneuvering in order to head towards Megara. Built in 1990 and owned by Pantanassa NE since 2007, she was spending her debut season on the Megara-Salamina line.

The PANTANASSA almost completing her maneuvering procedure in order to begin heading towards Megara.

The PANTANASSA having completed her maneuvering procedure and now seen heading towards Megara.

A view of the PANTANASSA as she heads towards Megara. She was built in 1990 in Greece, as the PREVEZA for the Municipality of Preveza, for service on the Preveza-Aktion line on the Ambracian Gulf. She operated there until 2002, when the service between both ports she was serving was discontinued following the completion of the construction of an undersea road tunnel. That year she was deployed on the Rion-Antirrion line. She then moved to the Kefalonia-Ithaca-Lefkada line on the Ionian Sea in 2003, where she remained for one season. She then returned to the Rion-Antirrion line in 2004. In 2007 she was sold to newly-established company Pantassa NE, and was renamed PANTANASSA. She underwent a major conversion in Salamina, during which she was lengthened, her bridge was moved forward, an upper deck was added, her bow was completely modified and her engines were replaced. She then entered service on the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line on the Ionian Sea, where she operated for three seasons. In 2010 she returned to the Rion-Antirrion line, which she served over the the next 10 years, before being inserted on the Megara-Salamina line in 2020.

A view of the ALKYON II as she was seen in Salamina. Built in 2018 in Greece, she was spending her second season on the Megara-Salamina line. It was also her first one since 2018, as she was on the Pounta-Elafonisos line in 2019. During that summer, she operated under the Elafonisos Ferry joint venture alongside NE Elafonisou.

A view of the ALKYON II. She is one of the four ships owned by Farmakoris-Villiotis NE, with all of them having been built in 2017 and 2018. She has a sister ship, the AKLYON, which was also built in 2018. In fact, both ships operated together on the Megara-Salamina line during their debut summer in 2018. The ALKYON then moved to the Arkitsa-Aidipsos line on the North Evoian Gulf in late 2018, which is where the AIANTAS had also operated during the summer of 2009. As a result of this move, the ALKYON was lengthened in Perama in early 2019, thus increasing her passenger and vehicle capacity.

The ALKYON II seen in Salamina. She is currently the youngest ship operating on the Megara-Salamina line.

A view of the small ALKYON II, during her second season on the Megara-Salamina line.

A view of one of the two small funnels of the ALKYON II. It features her company's logo, which appears to be a yellow circle by which a yellow stripe passes by, while having a red background.

A view of the ALKYON II as the AIANTAS begins to dock next to her in Salamina. Her other two fleetmates are the double-ended ferries CHRYSA (built in 2017) and ORION III (built in 2018). The latter replaced her in 2019 on the Megara-Salamina line, before she returned to the Perama-Salamina line, where she had spent her debut season in 2018, this summer.

The ALKYON II docked in Salamina.

At 14:20, the AIANTAS had arrived and docked in the port of Faneromeni in Salamina. Here is a last view of the ship shorty after I had disembarked her.

My trip therefore came to end. This marked the end of my time traveling along the Megara-Salamina line. I was very happy to make the return trip to Salamina with the AIANTAS, which is a very reliable landing craft and imposes her presence on the small service on which she has operated for the largest part of her career. It was an enjoyable way to finish the third main part of that very eventful day, during which I saw so many ships, including some for the first time.

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