• Alexandros Vrailas

GEORGIOS BROUFAS Tribute and Moments of Trip

Trip: 14 August 2020. From Piraeus to Salamina, with the GEORGIOS BROUFAS of Broufas Vessels.

The small passenger boat GEORGIOS BROUFAS was built in Greece in 1997 for her namesake owner, Broufas Vessels, for service on the Piraeus-Salamina line (serving the ports of Kamatero and in Paloukia). She was followed by a sister ship, the GEORGIOS BROUFAS II, which also joined her on the Piraeus-Salamina line in 1998. Since then, the two ships have become central figures of the connection between Piraeus and the Saronic Gulf island, which is the one located the closest to Athens. They also make a few crossings between Megalo Pefko (which is near Megara, located in the Elefsina Bay) and Salamina (through the port of Faneromeni) during the summer. After spending 19 years on the Piraeus-Salamina line, she was sent to the Cyclades to operate on the Ios-Sikinos-Folegandros line during the summer of 2016. However, after just one season in this service, she returned to the Piraeus-Salamina line the following year.

Before having my trip the GEORGIOS BROUFAS, I had spent the entire morning in the port of Piraeus, taking numerous pictures while witnessing several ships departing and leaving the port from 06:45. This morning was extremely lively and memorable, as I was happy to spot so many ships carrying out or completing their morning service on the Aegean Sea. However, this day was far from over, as I was then planning to take even more pictures as I was going to see many ships operating in Salamina, as well as seeing countless others when passing by Drapetsona, Psyttaleia, Keratsini and Perama. The ship on which I would go on to spend this trip was the GEORGIOS BROUFAS, which had arrived in Piraeus at around 09:45. This was my first-ever trip with that specific trip, and by traveling with her I had now been onboard both ships currently owned by Broufas Vessels. Indeed, I had already traveled twice with the GEORGIOS BROUFAS II, the first time was on 3 July 2018 from Piraeus to Salamina, while the second time was on 27 July 2019, also from Piraeus to Salamina (unfortunately I was not able to take any pictures during the latter trip). When I had my first trip with the GEORGIOS BROUFAS II, it was the first time that I had been in Salamina since 2000. However, since 2018, I have been to the island five times, while also having the opportunity to travel with the double-ended ferries operating on the shorter Perama-Salamina line. But overall, this was my third trip from Piraeus to Salamina, and also my third onboard a ship owned by Broufas Vessels.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS having just arrived in the port of Piraeus, and seen heading towards her docking spot.

While I was waiting for the GEORGIOS BROUFAS to dock, I took another picture of the small passenger boat POSEIDON of Poseidon Waterways, whose arrival I had witnessed just a few minutes before beginning my trip.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS seen just a few moments before maneuvering in Piraeus.

Just behind her, I noticed another arrival, that of the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA of Aegean Flying Dolphins, which had arrived from Aegina.

The nice and reliable GEORGIOS BROUFAS seen shortly before her undergoing maneuvering procedure in Piraeus.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS seen arriving in Piraeus, in what was her twenty-third season on the Piraeus-Salamina line. Moreover, it was her fourth consecutive summer on the line, as she had spent the 2016 season on the Ios-Sikinos-Folegandros line on the Cyclades.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen arriving in Piraeus as well. Built in 1991, she was bought by Aegean Flying Dolphins in 2010. She initially began service on the Piraeus-Hydra-Spetses-Porto Cheli line on the Saronic Gulf. After just one season there, she was deployed on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line in 2011, where she has since been remaining.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS seen maneuvering in Piraeus, shortly before I embarked onboard her.

Upon embarking onboard the ship, one can see that her stern floor greets passengers with a map drawing of the island of Salamina surrounded by a ship's wheel.

Just like the GEORGIOS BROUFAS II, the GEORGIOS BROUFAS has two decks, with the lower one featuring the ship's indoor lounge area, while the upper one features the passenger outdoor area and the ship's bridge. Here is the indoor area, whose design actually look quite to different to that of the GEORGIOS BROUFAS II. The latter had red and maroon lounges and small wooden tables, while the GEORGIOS BROUFAS has dark blue lounges and some white lounges in the middle section, plastic white tables and a wooden bar featuring a gold metallic board.

A view of the ship's sun deck in the upper outdoor deck area, which, in that case, was quite similar to that of the GEORGIOS BROUFAS II.

The ship's port side outdoor alley leading from the sun deck to the bridge. It also features some blue chairs aligned one next to the other and facing the sea.

The ship's starboard side alley, which also leads to the bridge and has a few blue chairs facing the sea.

From the ship's port side, I spotted the high speed catamaran FLYINGCAT 4 of Hellenic Seaways, which operates on the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line.

Barely a few seconds after seeing the FLYINGCAT 4, her fleetmate, the FLYINGCAT 6 was departing the port of Piraeus. She also operates on the Saronic Gulf, and in 2020 she was operating on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line.

The FLYINGCAT 6 seen leaving the port of Piraeus, in what was her first season featuring the new livery of Hellenic Seaways, which was added on all of the company's high speed craft, following the end of the advertising partnership with Cosmote. The ship has been operating on the Saronic Gulf since 2018, while she had also been there in 2013, in 2015 and in 2016. From 2005 (when she began service for Hellenic Seaways) to 2012, in 2014 and in 2017 she operated on the Sporades.

The POSEIDON seen resting in Piraeus. Built in 1995 (two years before the GEORGIOS BROUFAS), she was spending her first season on the Piraeus-Salamina line. However, unlike the ships of Broufas Vessels, she serves the port of Selinia in Salamina. Before that, she was on the Thermaic Gulf, operating on the Thessaloniki-Lefkos Pyrgos-Peraia-Neoi Epivates-Agia Triada line during the 2019, which was her debut season under her owners (formerly known as Thessaloniki Waterways). She joined them in late 2018, after having spent three years as the THERMAÏKOS I of Salamina Waterways on the Perama-Salamina line. The latter had reactivated her in 2015, after she had spent twelve years of lay-up in Salamina (at the time she was known as the MARIA K of Kalfaoglou Shipping).

Right next to the POSEIDON was the double-ended ferry ACHAEOS of 2way Ferries, which serves the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line on the Saronic Gulf since 2014.

The FLYINGCAT 4 seen resting in Piraeus. Built in 1999 as the SEA SPEED 1 of Agapitos Lines, she barely had the time to operate for them as she was sold to Minoan Flying Dolphins (which became Hellas Flying Dolphins in 2002), the predecessors of Hellenic Seaways, in late 1999. After spending her debut season on the Cyclades in 2000, she then spent two years on the Agios Konstantinos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos-Thessaloniki line on the Sporades, before then being deployed on the Heraklion-Santorini-Ios-Paros-Mykonos line from 2003 to 2012. After three seasons operating on the Rafina-Cyclades service, she then returned to the service linking Thessaloniki with the Sporades in 2016 and in 2017. She then operated on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos-Ios-Sikinos-Folegandros line in 2018, before heading to the Saronic Gulf in 2019. As such, the ship has operated in many areas of the Aegean Sea in the past 20 years, and her service has always been acclaimed, no matter where she has been operating.

Next to the ACHAEOS was another ferry operating on the Saronic Gulf. Indeed, it was the PHIVOS of Nova Ferries, which serves the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line under the Saronic Ferries joint venture (which includes her company and 2way Ferries).

At around 10:15, the GEORGIOS BROUFAS departed the port of Piraeus. I could therefore see the PHIVOS and the ACHAEOS, alongside the tiny POSEIDON.

At the same time, the high speed catamaran FLYINGCAT 5 of Hellenic Seaways, which had arrived in Piraeus right before the GEORGIOS BROUFAS did, was also seen leaving her docking spot.

As the GEORGIOS BROUFAS was leaving, I spotted the high speed ferry HIGHSPEED 4 of Hellenic Seaways. She was also seen carrying the new livery of her company, which in my opinion looked really good on her.

I then saw the cruiseferry ELYROS of ANEK Lines preparing to depart Piraeus as well. As I stated it in my previous post, this was the first time since 2014 that I saw that specific ship.

The ELYROS about to depart the port of Piraeus. She was spending her first full summer under ANEK Lines since 2014. From 2015 to 2019, she was chartered each summer to Algerian company Algérie Ferries, instead operating for ANEK Lines only during the winter season. However, this year she remained with her owners, and she of course spent the summer on her much-acclaimed service on the Piraeus-Chania line.

As we began to head towards the exit of the port of Piraeus, we passed by the ferry AQUA JEWEL of Sea Jets, which operates under the Sea Jets Ferries division. She was spending her debut season on the Piraeus-Gytheion-Kythira-Antikythira-Kissamos line.

Next to the AQUA JEWEL was a pair of high speed ferries: the SUPEREXPRESS of Golden Star Ferries and the CHAMPION JET 1, also owned by Sea Jets.

The AQUA JEWEL seen resting in Piraeus. Built in 2003, she has had a very eventful career. She spent the first 11 years of her life on the Cyclades, first with Alpha Ferries (2003-2010) and then under charter to NEL Lines (2010-2014). After being plagued by numerous engine failures in 2013 and in 2014, her charter ended and she returned to Aplha Ferries in 2015. The company repaired her and attempted to reactivate her on the Saronic Gulf and then on the Sporades, but she was ultimately sold to Sea Jets in 2017 in order to resume service on the inter-Cyclades lifeline, which she had also served during her stint under NEL Lines. During the summer of 2018 and the summer of 2019 she was chartered to Atlântico Line for service on the Azores Archipelago. She returned to Sea Jets this year and has since been on her current service.

A view of the FLYINGCAT 5 as she was heading towards the docking spot that had previously been occupied by the FLYINGCAT 6. This was her third season on the Saronic Gulf, as she had also operated in the area back in 2014 and in 2017.

The FLYINGCAT 5 seen alongside her fleetmate, the HIGHSPEED 4.

The ELYROS seen departing the port of Piraeus. Since she began service for ANEK Lines in 2008, she has been the company's flagship.

The FLYINGCAT 5 seen heading towards the docking spot that was previously occupied by her fleetmate and sister ship, thr FLYINGCAT 6. Just like the latter, the FLYINGCAT 5 operated on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line for the first time, after having previously operated only on the Piraeus-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line.

A view of another high speed ferry of Hellenic Seaways: the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED. She was seen in Piraeus carrying her company's new livery. A few days after taking this picture, she began service on the Siteia-Kasos-Karpathos-Chalki-Rhodes line on the Dodecanese.

The ELYROS departing the port of Piraeus in order to head towards Chania.

The impressive ELYROS seen departing the port of Piraeus. Since beginning service for ANEK Lines, she has always been on the Piraeus-Chania line, with the sole exceptions being when she would replace her fleetmates during their annual refits. In such cases, she has had brief spells on the Piraeus-Heraklion line or on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Venice line on the Adriatic Sea.

Next to the AQUA JEWEL and the high speed ferries was the high speed trimaran SUPERSPEED of Golden Star Ferries.

The SUPERSPEED and the CHAMPION JET 1 seen together in Piraeus. Both ships were built in the same shipyard, the famed Incat Shipyard in Australia. They then had eventful careers in Northern Europe before arriving in Greece. The SUPERSPEED has been owned by Golden Star Ferries since 2018, whereas the CHAMPION JET 1 was bought by Sea Jets in 2015.

A view of the CHAMPION JET 1, which had returned to Sea Jets after having spent the 2019 season under charter to Spanish company Naviera Armas. She was notably the first-ever Greek high speed ferry on which I traveled, as I had a trip with her from Santorini to Piraeus on 12 July 2015, during her debut season under Sea Jets.

A view of various well-known ships seen together in Piraeus. We can see the FLYINGCAT 4, the AQUA JEWEL, the SUPEREXPRESS and the CHAMPION JET 1.

At the other side, one could spot the HIGHSPEED 4, the PHIVOS and the ACHAEOS.

As we continued to head towards the exit of the port of Piraeus, I spotted the high speed ferry SUPERRUNNER of Golden Star Ferries.

We also passed by the gigantic NISSOS SAMOS of Hellenic Seaways, which serves the Piraeus-Psara-Oinousses-Chios-Mytilene line on the Northeast Aegean Sea.

In front of the NISSOS SAMOS was another cruiseferry: the KYDON PALACE of Minoan Lines. Formerly known as the FESTOS PALACE, she was spending the first season of her career under her new name, and on the Piraeus-Chania line.

The SUPERRUNNER seen in Piraeus. She was previously known as the SPEEDRUNNER IV of Aegean Speed Lines from 2009 to 2016, before beginning service for Golden Star Ferries in 2017. She spent her first three seasons on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line. Furthermore, I have also traveled with her, during a trip from Ios to Mykonos on 17 June 2018.

As we were nearing the exit of the port of Piraeus, I saw the BLUE STAR 2 of Blue Star Ferries, which had also returned to Piraeus in the morning of that day.

The KYDON PALACE seen in Piraeus. This year was quite notable for her, as she operated for the first time on a new service and under a new name. Indeed, from 2001 (the year in which she was built for Minoan Lines) to early 2020, she operated as the FESTOS PALACE on the Piraeus-Heraklion line (while beginning service on the Piraeus-Milos-Herkalion line in 2018). However, this year Minoan Lines decided to undergo a fleet reshuffle, and therefore she switched her service on Heraklion with the one previously served by her fleetmate and sister ship, the MYKONOS PALACE, which had been introduced on the Piraeus-Chania line in 2018. As a result of this, the MYKONOS PALACE was herself renamed FESTOS PALACE, whereas the original FESTOS PALACE was renamed KYDON PALACE.

The impressive BLUE STAR 2, which was spending yet another successful season on the Cyclades and the Dodecanese. For the 2020 season, she was on the Piraeus-Syros-Amorgos-Patmos-Leros-Kalymnos-Kos-Rhodes line.

A view of the SUPERRUNNER and of the KYDON PALACE in Piraeus.

Next to the BLUE STAR 2 was the EKATERINI P of Fast Ferries, which was spending the 2020 season in Piraeus following her engine failure in early 2019. She usually operates on the Rafina-Cyclades service, where she was successfully introduced back in 2012.

Another view of the BLUE STAR 2, which was seen receiving bunkers by the SYROS of Minerva Bunkering (formerly known as Aegean Marine Petroleum).

Upon exiting the port of Piraeus, I saw the cruiseferry KNOSSOS PALACE of Minoan Lines, which had also exited the port in order to head towards Milos and Heraklion.

The KNOSSOS PALACE having left the port of Piraeus. She was built in 2000 for Minoan Lines, and was inserted on the Piraeus-Heraklion line, where she had a tremendously successful service. In 2018 she began operating on the Piraeus-Milos-Heraklion line. For the past 20 years, she has been the company's flagship.

The KNOSSOS PALACE having exited the port of Piraeus.

A view of the port of Piraeus as seen from its exit. I could see the NISSOS SAMOS, the ELYROS and the AQUA JEWEL. Between the two Japanese cruiseferries is the FLYINGCAT 5, while the PHIVOS can also be seen behind the NISSOS SAMOS.

The KNOSSOS PALACE having exited the port of Piraeus in order to head towards Milos and Heraklion. Unfortunately, as I am writing this post, the ship is spending her last days in Greece. Indeed, she is due to join the Italian company Grimaldi Lines, the main company of Grimaldi Group in December. This will be done as part of the ongoing aforementioned fleet reshuffle as the ship is due to be replaced by her other sister ship the CRUISE BONARIA (ex-OLYMPIA PALACE of Minoan Lines, which currently operates for Grimaldi Lines), which is set to rejoin Minoan Lines in order to begin service on the Piraeus-Heraklion line alongside the FESTOS PALACE. As a result, the two ships will trade their names, with the current KNOSSOS PALACE set to be renamed CRUISE BONARIA, whereas the current CRUISE BONARIA will become the new KNOSSOS PALACE.

The KNOSSOS PALACE seen in what turned out to be the final summer of her career under Minoan Lines, as she is due to end her 20-year spell under the latter. She will be missed fondly by the passengers of Heraklion, for whom she became an icon.

Just a few moments after we had exited the port of Piraeus, the flagship of ANEK Lines was seen exiting it as well in order to follow the flagship of Minoan Lines. Indeed, the ELYROS was spotted leaving the port in order to head to Chania.

The ELYROS seen exiting the port of Piraeus.

As the ELYROS was exiting the port of Piraeus and the GEORGIOS BROUFAS was heading towards Salamina, I noticed the small high speed boat SEBECO of ANES Ferries approaching Piraeus.

The SEBECO seen approaching the port of Piraeus. This was her first summer on the Piraeus-Northern Aegina line (serving the port of Souvala) on the Saronic Gulf. Before that, she had spent the first two seasons of her career on the Rhodes-Symi line.

The ELYROS having just exited the port of Piraeus.

The SEBECO about to enter the port of Piraeus. She was built in 2018 in Greece, and was the first newbuilding of ANES Ferries in almost 30 years. Indeed, the last time the company had ordered a ship for construction was in 1990, back when they ordered the small catamaran SYMI II, also for service on the Rhodes-Symi line. That ship has been operating for the Rhodes-based company Sea Dreams since 2018.

Two ships of completely different sizes seen right next to entrance/exit point of the port of Piraeus: the large ELYROS and the tiny SEBECO.