• Alexandros Vrailas

Piraeus Morning Visit on 14 August 2020

Following the amazing experience that I had back in 27 July 2019, when I went to Piraeus to witness the morning departures of numerous ships of the Greek coastal service, I decided to make this a tradition and to therefore go to Piraeus in the early morning at least one during each summer season. This event occurred on 14 August 2020, a day which eventually became very significant as I went on to spend a huge portion of it interacting with the Greek coastal service. Not only did I arrive in Piraeus at 06:30 in the morning and saw dozens of ships departing the port, but I also went on to travel to Salamina, visiting the latter's ports (Paloukia and Faneromeni), then traveled from Salamina to Megara and back, before heading from Salamina to Perama in order to then head home in Central Athens. Overall, I took more than 700 pictures of ships that day, which is without a doubt the most I have ever taken in my life so far. Thus, the next posts that will appear in the Blog will cover that unique day.


As it was the case last year, I managed to find a day where I was free to go to Piraeus in order to take as many pictures as possible. Indeed, and you saw in the previous post, the vast majority of the departures for areas such as the Cyclades and the Northeast Aegean Sea and the Saronic Gulf occur between 06:40 and 08:00, with ships leaving in the morning so that they can serve their respective destinations during the day and return to Piraeus during the evening. At the same time, there are ships from more distant destinations like Crete that arrive from the latter in order to be present in Athens in the early morning. For a shipping enthusiast like me, this an ideal scenery, as I can see a multitude of ships of different kinds leaving the port in order to bring passengers and/or vehicles to various islands across the Aegean Sea. Without further ado, let's have a look at the countless pictures I took that morning, which was the first part of an impressive and memorable day for me.

In 2019, I had witnessed the departures of the different ships from the E2 gate, which is the docking spot for ships operating on the Northeast Aegean Sea, as well as for the ship of Minoan Lines that operates on the Piraeus-Chania line. In 2020, in order to have a different view, and in order to be closer to the port's exit, I decided to take pictures from the E1 gate, which is the docking spot for ships that are primarily operating on the Dodecanese. At around 06:50, I saw the first ship departing Piraeus. It was the BLUE STAR NAXOS of Blue Star Ferries, which performs the very busy service which calls Paros, Naxos and the Lesser Cyclades.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen departing the port of Piraeus at dawn. She operates on the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Irakleia-Schoinousa-Koufonisi-Donousa-Amorgos-Santorini-Astypalaia line, on which she has been deployed since 2018.

Built in 2002, the BLUE STAR NAXOS is one of the most successful ships of the Greek coastal service. Together with her sister ship, the BLUE STAR PAROS, she has cemented her company's presence on the Cyclades, which is where she has spent her entire career so far (while also serving Astypalaia which is on the Dodecanese). She has been praised for her fast and reliable service, and generally for being an essential ship for residents of the Lesser Cyclades, as she is the only ship to connect all these islands with Piraeus on a daily basis. Her impressive and comfortable indoor areas, as well as her famous outdoor sun decks, have made her one of the most impressive ships in Greece, making her appear like a newly-built ship even though she is now 18 years old.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen departing the port of Piraeus in the morning. She connects Piraeus with the Lesser Cyclades on a daily basis through a very tight schedule leaving Piraeus at 06:45 every morning, and returning there the following day at 05:00. The crew only has one hour and thirty minutes to rest before her next departure there. This is why she is such an exceptional ship.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus, in what was her nineteenth summer under Blue Star Ferries.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS about to exit the port of Piraeus. She has been connecting Piraeus with the Lesser Cyclades for many years, namely from 2002 to 2004, from 2007 to 2011, and since 2015. From 2015 to 2017 she operated on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Irakleia-Schoinousa-Koufonisi-Amorgos-Santorini line, while from 2012 to 2014 she notably operated on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos line, which is currently served by the BLUE STAR PAROS.

Next to me was a ship that one usually does not find in the port of Piraeus. However, she went on to spend the entire summer season there as she was undergoing repairs. Indeed, this was the conventional ferry EKATERINI P of Fast Ferries, which was spending the summer of 2020 in Piraeus in order to continue the repair work on her engines, which had suffered a major engine failure right before the 2019 season, causing her to miss the latter.

The beautiful EKATERINI P seen at dawn in Piraeus. Built in 1990 in Japan, she began her career there, as the the ROKKŌ MARU of Kansai Kisen, before she was bought in 1999 by Greek company Fast Ferries. After being converted and being renamed EKATERINI P, she began operations on the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line on the Ionian Sea, where she went on to have a successful service. However, her company had further ambitions for the ship, and in 2012 she moved to the Aegean Sea, in order to provide additional service on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos line on the Cyclades, on which her fleetmate, the THEOLOGOS P, had become a successful ship since 2007. After a new conversion in Perama (during which her bow and her stern were considerably modified), she began serving the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos line with much success. In 2016 she was deployed on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos line, where she also had an outstanding service.

In front of me I saw two ships: one was docked, the other one was departing the port of Piraeus. Indeed, the ferry NISSOS SAMOS of Hellenic Seaways was resting in Piraeus, whereas the high speed ferry WORLDCHAMPION JET of Sea Jets was seen leaving the port.

The impressive WORLDCHAMPION JET seen leaving the port of Piraeus at dawn. This was her second summer in Greece and under Sea Jets. After having a massively successful debut season in 2019 on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Naxos-Santorini line on the Cyclades, she had another successful service in 2020, which she spent on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line.

The NISSOS SAMOS docked in the port of Piraeus. This was her fifth summer under Hellenic Seaways. Indeed, after having been bought from Endeavor Lines in late 2015 (and also following a three-year-long lay-up in the port of Patras from 2012 to 2015), the ship was converted in Perama and began operations on the Aegean Sea in 2016. Her first season was on the Piraeus-Chios-Mytilene-Limnos-Thessaloniki line on the Northeast Aegean Sea, while in 2017 she had a very successful service on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Santorini line on the Cyclades. Since 2018 she has been again operating on the Northeast Aegean Sea, as she is deployed on the Piraeus-Psara-Oinousses-Chios-Mytilene line.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen leaving the port of Piraeus. She is the fastest passenger ship in Greece, and she further cemented her company's reputation on the Cyclades thanks to her impressive speed and her flawless service, with her so far not suffering any engine failures.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen leaving the port of Piraeus, during her second season under Sea Jets.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen leaving Piraeus. She has had a very impressive résumé. Indeed, she was the fastest passenger ship in the world when she was completed in Australia in 2000 in order to enter service for Danish company Bornholmer Færgen (formerly known as Bornholms Traffiken) as the VILLUM CLAUSEN. She also held the world record for the fastest-ever crossing made by a ship of her kind until 2013, when it was surpassed by the then-newly-built high speed ferry FRANCISCO of Argentine company Buquebus. Furthermore, following her first season in Greece, she won the prestigious 'Ship of the Year' award given by Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards for 2019. She became the third Greek coastal service ship to win the much-coveted award, and the first one since 2007, back when the NISSOS CHIOS of Hellenic Seaways (now known as the BLUE STAR CHIOS of Blue Star Ferries since 2020) won it. The first Greek coastal service ship to have received the honour was the sister ship of the NISSOS CHIOS, the NISSOS MYKONOS of Hellenic Seaways (which is now the BLUE STAR MYCONOS of Blue Star Ferries, also since 2020).

A view of the WORLDCHAMPION JET as she is heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET, one of the most important assets of Sea Jets, leaving Piraeus in order to head towards Syros, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Ios and Santorini.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen leaving Piraeus and beginning to sail at full-speed.

Behind the WORLDCHAMPION JET, the next ship that heading toward the exit of the port of Piraeus was one of her fleetmates, namely the small high speed catamaran SEA JET 2.

The SEA JET 2 seen leaving Piraeus in the morning. Just like the WORLDCHAMPION JET, she was operating on the Cyclades. She spent the 2020 season on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Santorini-Amorgos-Koufonisi-Naxos-Paros-Mykonos line, which she served alongside her sister ship and fleetmate, the SUPER JET.

The SEA JET 2 seen leaving the port of Piraeus. So far, the first three ships whose departures I witnessed that day (the BLUE STAR NAXOS, the WORLDCHAMPION JET and the SEA JET 2) had also been present when I did the morning visit in Piraeus back in 27 July 2019.

The SEA JET 2 seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. She was built in 1998 in Norway for the Greek company Strintzis Lines, and began her career on the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Aegina-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line as the MIRAGE. After having an average spell there, she was renamed SEA JET 2 and began operations on the Cyclades, where she has since gone to spend the bulk of her career. After serving the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros line in 1999, her company was taken over by Attica Group, resulting in the creation of Blue Star Ferries. She and her sister ship, then known as the SEA JET 1, joined the Blue Star Jets division. The SEA JET 2 remained on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros line until 2006, when she was bought by Sea Jets (which had also acquired the SEA JET 1 back in 2004, and renamed her SUPER JET). She operated on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros line from 2006 to 2012. Since 2013 she has served the Western Cyclades and islands such as Santorini, Amorgos, Koufonisi, Naxos and Mykonos, while occasionally adding other islands along each summer season.

The reliable SEA JET 2 seen leaving the port of Piraeus. For more than two decades she has been a major contributor to the coastal service of the Cyclades.

The SEA JET 2 seen leaving Piraeus and heading towards the port's exit.

The next ship that departed the port of Piraeus was a familiar face. Indeed, it was the conventional ferry DIONISIOS SOLOMOS of Zante Ferries.

A view of the NISSOS SAMOS and of the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS. Both ships were built in Japan (with the NISSOS SAMOS being two years older than the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS) and began their careers there before being acquired by Greek companies. Moreover, both ships were previously serving the Ionian Sea. Indeed, the NISSOS SAMOS, back when she was operating for Endeavor Lines as the IONIAN QUEEN, would frequently stop by Kefalonia and Kerkyra (as well as Zakynthos in 2012) as part of her service on the Adriatic Sea, from Patras to Bari and Brindisi in Italy. As for the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS, she operated on the Ionian Sea from 1999 to 2016, mainly on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line but also on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line and on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line (in 2013 and in 2015). Therefore, both ships have had an experience on the Ionian Sea before they moved to the Aegean Sea in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen leaving Piraeus. This was her fourth consecutive summer on the Aegean Sea. All of them have been spent on the Western Cyclades, where she was first introduced in 2017. After her successful spell on the Ionian Sea, and following the continuous excellent service provided by her fleetmate, the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS, on the Western Cyclades since 2009, Zante Ferries decided to deploy the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS there as well. She underwent a major conversion in Keratsini, with her bow being completely modified. In other words, she underwent a similar conversion to that of the EKATERINI P in 2012 (which also moved to the Aegean Sea after having previously operated on the Ionian Sea, in order to provide additional service to a line on the Cyclades which was being successfully served by one of her fleetmates). She began serving the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Ios line in 2017. Since 2019 she has been on the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Ios-Santorini line, which was also served by the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS.

The DIONISOS SOLOMOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus in order to begin her long journey along her lifeline. This year she was the only conventional ferry to operate on the Western Cyclades, as the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS moved to the Alexandroupolis-Samothraki-Limnos line, as she was chosen to cover the void left by the ships of Saos Ferries following the fiasco that Samothraki experienced during the summer of 2019. As a result of this, the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS was left with the difficult task of serving the line, its passengers and freight all by herself. Despite this, she had a very good season and she and her crew were widely praised for their reliability and hard work.

The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. When I went to witness the morning departure back in 27 July 2019, she and the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS were spotted while they were heading to the Western Cyclades. She was a notable part of my childhood, as I would frequently see her in Zakynthos, which is one of the two islands on which I go every summer. I also remember traveling with her multiple times. The last time was more than seven years ago, back on 9 July 2013, while heading from Kyllini to Zakynthos. A few days later she moved to the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line for the rest of that year's summer season.

The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. She is named after the eponymous poet, who composed the Greek National Anthem, and who came from Zakynthos, the island where the ship's owners are based.

The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

Right behind her was a ship whose destinations were much closer to Piraeus. That ship was the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN XXIX of Hellenic Seaways, which operates on the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XXIX seen leaving the port of Piraeus, with her departure being the first one of the day for the ships serving the Saronic Gulf. Built in 1993, she has spent her entire career on the latter area, initially under the famed company Ceres Flying Dolphins, which was then taken over by Minoan Flying Dolphins in 1999. She continued to operate for that company, which was renamed Hellas Flying Dolphins in 2002 and was then rebranded as Hellenic Seaways in 2005.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XXIX is one of the last three remaining hydrofoils operating for Hellenic Seaways. She is also the youngest active hydrofoil in all of Greece.

Another view of the FLYING DOLPHIN XXIX, which was beginning to exit the port of Piraeus and sailing at full-speed in order to head towards Aegina.

One last view of the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS, right after she had exited the port of Piraeus. She was now heading towards Kythnos.

The next ship that followed was the much-appreciated BLUE STAR DELOS of Blue Star Ferries, which was beginning her usual morning and early afternoon service on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Santorini line.

The NISSOS SAMOS seen alongside the BLUE STAR DELOS, which was leaving the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. She was built in 2011 in South Korea for Blue Star Ferries, and is currently the company's second youngest ship. Since the beginning of her career, she has operated on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line on the Cyclades (although she does not serve Ios during the summer), and her service has been hailed as one of the best in the history of the Greek coastal service.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. So far, I have traveled with her 3 times. The first time was on 23 July 2018 from Piraeus to Naxos, the second time was on 14 July 2019 from Santorini to Piraeus, while the third time was on 8 September 2020 from Naxos to Piraeus.

The impressive BLUE STAR DELOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus in order to head towards the Cyclades. Since 2015, she has been serving her destinations by leaving from Piraeus during the morning and arriving back to the latter late at night. The ship that would be operating the same service by leaving Piraeus in the late afternoon has been her sister ship and fleetmate, the BLUE STAR PATMOS, which leaves the Cyclades in the morning after having arrived there from Piraeus at night.

The BLUE STAR DELOS leaving the port of Piraeus, in what was the tenth season of her young and successful career.

The BLUE STAR DELOS about to exit the port of Piraeus. Just a few days ago she began a conversion in Perama, during which she will be equipped with the exhaust gas cleaning system (also known as 'scrubbers'), in order to comply with the sulphur limits imposed by the IMO. She will be the second ship of Blue Star Ferries to undergo this conversion, the first one having been the BLUE STAR PATMOS right before the start of the 2020 summer season. She is also the second ship of the Greek coastal service to undergo this conversion in Greece, with the first one having been her Attica Group collaborator, the SUPERFAST XI of Superfast Ferries, which also received scrubbers before the start of the 2020 summer season.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. She is due to complete her conversion by late January 2021, if everything goes as planned.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen leaving Piraeus during the morning, in order to head towards Paros, Naxos and Santorini.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen exiting the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR DELOS having just exited the port of Piraeus.

After having seen only departures, now it was the time to see a ship arriving in the port of Piraeus. Just like last year, the first ship to arrive in the port was the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA of Aegean Flying Dolphins.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA having just entered the port of Piraeus, after having arrived from Aegina. Built in 1991, she was been owned by Aegean Flying Dolphins since 2010.

In the meantime, I saw the first conventional ferry of the Saronic Gulf that was departing the port of Piraeus for the day. It was the POSIDON HELLAS of 2way Ferries, which was heading to Aegina.

The POSIDON HELLAS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. She was built in 1998 in Greece, as the second-ever double-ended ferry in the history of the Greek coastal service. She has spent her entire career so far on the Saronic Gulf.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA having arrived in the port of Piraeus. In her debut season under Aegean Flying Dolphins in 2010, she operated on the Piraeus-Hydra-Spetses-Porto Cheli line. After just one summer there, she was deployed on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line in 2011, and she has since remained on that service.

Right behind the POSIDON HELLAS was the high speed ferry SPEEDRUNNER III of Aegean Speed Lines, which was also leaving the port of Piraeus in order to begin her daily service on the Wester Cyclades.

The POSIDON HELLAS seen during her twenty-third season on the Saronic Gulf. She initially began service in 1998 for Poseidon Consortium Shipping, before the latter was taken over by Minoan Flying Dolphins in 1999. The ship thus joined that company's division based on the Saronic Gulf, which was known as Saronikos Ferries. She continued to operate for the company, which was renamed Hellas Flying Dolphins before being rebranded as Hellenic Seaways in 2005. After 10 more years with the latter, the POSIDON HELLAS was sold to 2way Ferries in 2015, with that company coincidentally being owned by the Papaïoannidis family which used to own Poseidon Consortium Shipping, her first-ever owners.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA having just entered the port of Piraeus, in what was her tenth consecutive season on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line.

The POSIDON HELLAS and the FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA, two Saronic Gulf veterans, seen together in the port of Piraeus.

The POSIDON HELLAS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. She operates on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Methana-Poros line.

The POSIDON HELLAS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. Since she was bought by 2way Ferries, I have traveled with her five times. The first time was on 16 August 2016 (thus this picture was taken two days shy of the fourth anniversary of that trip) from Aegina to Piraeus, the second and third time was on 21 July 2017 while going from Piraeus to Aegina and back, the fourth time was on 27 July 2019 from Agistri to Piraeus (with this being the first time that I had ever traveled with a ferry from Agistri), and the fifth time was four days after taking this picture, while heading from Piraeus to Aegina, on 18 August 2020.

The SPEEDRUNNER III seen leaving the port of Piraeus. This was her fourth consecutive season operating on the Western Cyclades, and her second summer in a row on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos line.

The SPEEDRUNNER III and the FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA meeting each other in Piraeus. Both high speed craft have companies that are named after the Aegean Sea.

The POSIDON HELLAS seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The SPEEDRUNNER III seen leaving Piraeus. She is the only ship that is currently owned by her company.

A nice view of the Piraeus morning traffic on 14 August 2020. The NISSOS SAMOS is docked, while the BLUE STAR PAROS of Blue Star Ferries is following the SPEEDRUNNER III as they head towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. In between in the cruise ship CELESTYAL OLYMPIA of Greek-Cypriot company Celestyal Cruises (formerly known as Louis Cruises).

The POSIDON HELLAS seen as she is about to exit the port of Piraeus.

The SPEEDRUNNER III seen following the POSIDON HELLAS. Built in 1999, she joined Aegean Speed Lines in 2009. She spent her debut season on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos line, while in 2010 her service was extended to the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos line. She then spent the 2012 season under lay-up due to her company experiencing financial problems as a result of the Greek government debt crisis, but she returned to service in 2013 by being deployed on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos line, which is her company's core area of service. In 2015 she was chartered to Moroccan company Navline for service on the Algeciras-Tangier Med line, while the following year she was chartered to Levante Ferries, operating on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line on the Ionian Sea. After her sister ship, the SPEEDRUNNER IV, was sold to Golden Star Ferries (for whom she operates as the SUPERRUNNER), the SPEEDRUNNER III was re-introduced by Aegean Speed Lines, being inserted on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos line. In 2018 her service was restricted to the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos line, while in 2019 it was further restricted to the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos line.

The SPEEDRUNNER III seen leaving the port of Piraeus in order to head towards Serifos, Sifnos and Milos.

Behind her was the sister ship and fleetmate of the BLUE STAR NAXOS, namely the BLUE STAR PAROS. Her departure was always after that of her sister ship. In 2020 she was operating on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos line.

Another view of the POSIDON HELLAS while she exits the port of Piraeus, right after the BLUE STAR DELOS had already done so.

The SPEEDRUNNER III leaving the port of Piraeus. I also traveled with her, back when I headed from Sifnos to Piraeus on 29 July 2017. This was during her first season back with Aegean Speed Lines, after she had spent the summers of 2015 and 2016 on charter to other companies.

The SPEEDRUNNER III heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR PAROS seen leaving the port of Piraeus in the morning. Just like the BLUE STAR NAXOS, she has been an acclaimed ship on the Cyclades, and her service continues to be praised despite her now being 18 years old. While she has mainly served the Cyclades, she has also operated on the Dodecanese lifeline (in 2016 and in 2017), as well as the Northeast Aegean Sea. Notably, during the 2018 and 2019 seasons, she was on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Ikaria-Fournoi-Samos line.

The BLUE STAR PAROS on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. I have also traveled with her, back when I headed from Mykonos to Piraeus on 20 June 2018. She was the second ship of Blue Star Ferries on which I had traveled, after the BLUE STAR PATMOS.

The BLUE STAR PAROS leaving Piraeus in order to head to Syros, Tinos and Mykonos.

While the SPEEDRUNNER III was leaving the port of Piraeus, I noticed that the small passenger boat GEORGIOS BROUFAS II of Broufas Vessels had entered the port, after having arrived from Salamina.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS II having just entered the port of Piraeus. Built in 1998, she had spent her entire career up until the end of the 2020 season on the Piraeus-Salamina line.

The BLUE STAR PAROS on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The small GEORGIOS BROUFAS II having entered the port of Piraeus. She serves the Piraeus-Salamina line for her company alongside her sister ship, the GEORGIOS BROUFAS.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS II seen in Piraeus, after having arrived from Salamina.

The BLUE STAR PAROS about to exit the port of Piraeus.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS II heading towards her docking spot. She was the first ship on which I traveled in order to head from Piraeus to Salamina, something which I did back on 3 July 2018.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS II seen heading towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

Another view of the beautiful EKATERINI P, as she is seen docked in Piraeus.

Barely a few minutes after having docked in Piraeus, the GEORGIOS BROUFAS II was already seen leaving the port in order to head towards Salamina.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS II having departed the port of Piraeus.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS II heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS II seen as she is about to exit the port of Piraeus.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS II on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

Just behind her was the other ship whose morning arrival I had witnessed a few minutes before taking this picture. Indeed, the FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA was also leaving Piraeus after having loaded her new passengers.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen leaving the port of Piraeus in order to head to Aegina and Agistri.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA beginning to sail at full-speed as she is about to exit the port of Piraeus.

The next ship to leave the port of Piraeus was one that I had seen for the first time a day before taking this picture. Indeed, it was the small high speed boat SEBECO of ANES Ferries, which was spending her first season on the Piraeus-Northern Aegina line (serving the port of Souvala).

The SEBECO seen leaving the port of Piraeus. Built in 2018 in Greece for ANES Ferries, she spent her first two summers on the Rhodes-Symi line on the Dodecanese. In 2020 she was deployed on the Saronic Gulf for the first time in her career, as she replaced her fleetmate, the AGIA MARINA AEGINIS, which has reportedly been sold to Aqua Vera NE.

The SEBECO seen leaving Piraeus, during her first season on the Piraeus-Northern Aegina line.

The SEBECO seen leaving Piraeus. In 2019, a ship which also had her name and which was built in the same shipyard as her was operating on the Saronic Gulf. Indeed, it was the SEBECO II of Alko Ferries, which was built in 2019 (a year after the SEBECO) and was operating on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line. She stayed there for just one season, as she moved to the Rhodes-Chalki line on the Dodecanese (where the SEBECO had previously been operating) in 2020.

The SEBECO on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The SEBECO seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. When she began service on the Rhodes-Symi line in 2018, she became the first ship of ANES Ferries to be deployed on the Dodecanese since the 2012, back when her fleetmate, the PROTEUS, was operating there before moving to her successful service on the Sporades in 2013.

The SEBECO about to exit the port of Piraeus.

The SEBECO seen heading from Piraeus to Souvala in Aegina.

After a few minutes, I decided to head towards the E8 gate in order to wait for the ship that would be taking me to Salamina. As I was in the E1 gate, I had to walk around the entire port, passing by the E2, E3, E4, E5, E6 and E7 gates. While I was at the E3 gate, I spotted the fleetmate of the SEBECO, the ferry AGIOS NEKTARIOS AEGINAS, leaving Piraeus in order to head to Aegina.

The AGIOS NEKTARIOS AEGINAS seen leaving Piraeus, in what was her twentieth consecutive season on the Piraeus-Aegina line. She was built in 1999 in Greece, beginning service on the Sporades as the PANAGIA SKIATHOU for the Northern Sporades and Evoia Shipping Company. In 2001 she moved to the Piraeus-Aegina line, and was renamed AGIOS NEKTARIOS AEGINAS. She was then sold to ANES Ferries in 2007.

While passing by the E4 and E5 gates, I could spot the high speed ferry HELLENIC HIGHSPEED of Hellenic Seaways right in front of me.

Right in front of the bow of the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED was her fleetmate, the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN XVII.

The HELLENIC HIGHSPEED seen in the port of Piraeus, in what was her first season with Hellenic Seaways since 2018. Indeed, in 2019, she was chartered to Fast Ferries in order to cover the service left by the EKATERINI P on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos line, following her major engine failure. Along with her return to Hellenic Seaways, the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED also received her company's new livery, which was introduced on all its high speed craft after the advertising partnership with Cosmote ended.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XVII and the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED docked together in Piraeus. The former operates on the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line. The latter was deployed, a few days after taking this picture, on the Dodecanese for the first time in her career, as she was inserted on the Siteia-Kasos-Karpathos-Chalki-Rhodes line.

The HELLENIC HIGHSPEED seen in Piraeus with her new and beautiful livery. I had notably traveled with her exactly three years and a month before taking this picture, back when I headed from Ios to Piraeus on 14 July 2017.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XVII and the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED, two high speed craft of Hellenic Seaways, seen together in Piraeus.

On the other side, I went on to see a ship for the first time since 2014. Indeed, it was the ELYROS of ANEK Lines, which was spending her first summer in Greece since the latter year. As a result, I was finally able to see the ship again after more than six years.

A view of the ELYROS, which is the flagship of ANEK Lines. She has been owned by them since 2007, and first began service for them in 2008, on the Piraeus-Chania line (the main service of the company). However, during the summers of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the ship was chartered to Algerian company Algérie Ferries for service on the Marseille-Oran line. In 2020 the charter did not take place, and therefore she remained under ANEK Lines on the Piraeus-Chania line.

The ELYROS seen in Piraeus, during her first full summer under ANEK Lines since 2014. While she would spend the summer with Algérie Ferries from 2015 to 2019, she would still operate for ANEK Lines during the winter, usually on the Piraeus-Chania line. However, in recent years, she occasionally operated on the Piraeus-Heraklion line and on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Venice line, in order to cover the service left by her fleetmate when they would be undergoing their annual refits.

The large funnel of the ELYROS, whose current design was added during her conversion in Perama from 2007 to 2008. The original funnel is covered in by the yellow and black shield, and used to be triangular back when the ship was in Japan, before joining ANEK Lines. The current funnel has a similar design to those of her younger fleetmates, the OLYMPIC CHAMPION and the HELLENIC SPIRIT. As it is the case with all ships of the company, the funnel features the company's name and a map drawing of the island of Crete.

The ELYROS was seen in Piraeus alongside her fleetmate, the KRITI II, which operates on the Piraeus-Heraklion line since 2015.

The ELYROS seen in Piraeus Upon her return on the Piraeus-Chania line, she replaced the EL. VENIZELOS, which had operated there from 2017 to 2019. The latter ship remained in Perama for the 2020 season. In 2015, the ELYROS had been replaced by the KRITI I and by the KYDON, which also operated on the Piraeus-Chania line in 2016 before she was chartered on a long-term contract to Ferries del Caribe in 2017.

The impressive ELYROS seen resting in the port of Piraeus.

Another view of the ELYROS in Piraeus.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XVII seen resting in Piraeus. Built in 1984, she has spent her entire career on the Saronic Gulf. Just like the FYING DOLPHIN XXIX, she has operated under Ceres Flying Dolphins (1984-1999), Minoan Flying Dolphins (1999-2002), Hellas Flying Dolphins (2002-2005) and Hellenic Seaways (since 2005).

I then saw another high speed craft owned by Hellenic Seaways: the HIGHSPEED 4, which was docked in Piraeus.

One of the two funnels of the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED, which were once again painted with a red background and with the three dolphins (the logo of Hellenic Seaways) coloured in white. Before that, back when the high speed craft were sponsored by Cosmote, their background was painted in white, whereas the dolphins were painted in red. However, following the new livery change, the funnels were reverted back to their Vodafone-era appearance.

As I was heading towards the E8 gate, I noticed that the small passenger boat ELENA F of Elena F Shipping had arrived in Piraeus from Salamina.

In front of me was the double-ended ferry ACHAEOS of 2way Ferries, which operates on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line on the Saronic Gulf.

And while I was looking at the E9 gate, I spotted the conventional ferry AQUA JEWEL of Sea Jets, which operates under the Sea Jets Ferries division.

Shortly after the arrival of the ELENA F, I noticed another ship having arrived in Piraeus. This was the ferry PHIVOS of Nova Ferries, which had returned to the port after having departed from the Saronic Gulf destinations that she serves during the early morning.

Besides the ACHAEOS was another one of her fleetmates, the APOLLON HELLAS.

The PHIVOS seen heading towards her docking spot in Piraeus. Built in 1980 in Spain, she was bought by the then-newly-established Greek company Nova Ferries in 2004, and, following a lengthy conversion in Drapetsona, she began service in 2005 as the PHIVOS on the Saronic Gulf. She initially served the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros-Hydra line until 2007, when her service was restricted to the Piraeus-Aegina line. Since 2014 she has been operating on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line, following the creation of the Saronic Ferries joint venture (which includes her owners and 2way Ferries).

In front of the AQUA JEWEL was yet another high speed craft owned by Hellenic Seaways: the high speed catamaran FLYINGCAT 4. She was spending her second consecutive season on the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line.

In front of her I noticed the FLYING DOLPHIN XXIX, which had returned to Piraeus after having served the Saronic Gulf in the early morning.

The AQUA JEWEL seen in Piraeus. She was spending her first season on the Piraeus-Gytheion-Kythira-Antikythira-Kissamos lifeline, on which she began serving after taking over the subsidy contract previously held by the IONIS of Triton Ferries, which was inserted on the Lavrion-Kea-Kythnos line on the Cyclades.

Behind the FLYING DOLPHIN XXIX was one of her fleetmates, the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN XIX. In what has been one of the most unexpected comeback stories of the past few years, she was operating for the first time in eight years. After beginning to serve the Saronic Gulf in 2004 (back when Hellenic Seaways was known as Hellas Flying Dolphins), she remained there until right before the start of the 2012 season, when her service abruptly ended following a major accident in the islet of Melopi, while sailing between Aegina and Agistri. She was salvaged and towed to Perama, whereupon she was declared a constructive total loss. As she was due to be retired the following year after having reached 30 years of service (as these were the restrictions at the time in Greece), she was removed from the fleet of Hellenic Seaways. She remained laid-up in Perama until she was unexpectedly given the chance to have a second career in 2019. Indeed, after her fleetmate and sister ship, the FLYING DOLPHIN XVIII, was completely destroyed by a fire and was scrapped in Perama, Hellenic Seaways sought to fill the void left by the latter by deciding to reactivate the FLYING DOLPHIN XIX, despite her having been declared a constructive total loss. Following a huge refit, she was reactivated in 2020, entering service on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line for the first time in eight years.

I was also able to see the cruiseferry KNOSSOS PALACE of Minoan Lines, which was serving the Piraeu-Milos-Heraklion line.

The KNOSSOS PALACE resting in Piraeus. She was built in 2000 in Italy for Minoan Lines, and has so far spent all 20 years of her career on the Piraeus-Heraklion line. Since 2018 she has also added the island of Milos to her itinerary, thus operating on the Piraeus-Milos-Heraklion line.

I also saw another high speed craft of Hellenic Seaways: the FLYINGCAT 6. She also operates on the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XXIX seen departing the port of Piraeus once again.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XXIX seen leaving Piraeus. In my opinion she looked very nice with the new livery that was introduced on all the high speed craft of Hellenic Seaways.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XXIX leaving Piraeus in order to head to Aegina.

The ACHAEOS seen in Piraeus. Built in 2006 in Greece, she began her career on the Piraeus-Aegina line, where she stayed for just one season before moving to the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line on the Ionian Sea. She stayed there until 2013, and in 2014 she returned to the Saronic Gulf, being introduced on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line, where she has since been very successful.

The ACHAEOS docked in Piraeus during her seventh consecutive summer on the Saronic Gulf. She was notably the first ship on which I traveled for the 2020 season, as I headed with her from Piraeus to Aegina on 7 August 2020, hence a wee before taking this picture.

The FLYINGCAT 6 seen in Piraeus. Built in 1997, she joined Hellenic Seaways in 2005. She began service on the Sporades, where she remained until 2013, when she moved to the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line. She returned to the Sporades in 2014, but then spent the 2015 season and the 2016 season on the Saronic Gulf. After returning once more to the Sporades in 2017, since 2018 she has remained on the Saronic Gulf.

A view of the HIGHSPEED 4, which has been a jewel of the Cyclades since she began service in 2000. I notably traveled with her on 29 July 2018, while traveling from Paros to Piraeus.

The KNOSSOS PALACE seen resting in Piraeus.

The ACHAEOS seen in the port of Piraeus. Her success on the Saronic Gulf in 2014 led her owners to purchase the POSIDON HELLAS in 2015 from Hellenic Seaways, as well as the APOLLON HELLAS in 2016 (also from the same company), which was reintroduced on the Saronic Gulf in 2017 (after having been on the Sporades from 2014 to 2016).

A view of the PHIVOS and of the ACHAEOS, which were two of the four ships operating under the Saronic Ferries joint venture.

The PHIVOS having docked in Piraeus, during her seventh consecutive season on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line.

The APOLLON HELLAS was then seen leaving the port of Piraeus. Just like the PHIVOS, she also operates on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen leaving Piraeus. Just a day before my visit in Piraeus, I had traveled onboard her, while heading from Aegina to Piraeus on 13 August 2020. This trip was particular, as it marked my first trip with the ship following her impressive refit prior to the summer, during which her indoor areas were upgraded and modernised to the extent that she appeared like a much younger ferry.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen leaving the port of Piraeus, in what was her fifth summer under 2way Ferries. She spent her debut season under the latter on the Sporades in 2016, on the Agios Konstantinos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line, where she had also been operating in 2015 under her former owners, Hellenic Seaways. Since 2017 she has been operating on the Saronic Gulf, an area which she had also previously served from 1990 (the year during which she was built) to 1995 (the year during which she was sold to South Korean company He Il), and then from 1999 to 2013 (following her repatriation). In 2014 she operated on the Sporades for the first time, as she was deployed on the Volos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line for that season.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen leaving the port of Piraeus.

The PHIVOS seen resting in Piraeus.

Another view of the HIGHSPEED 4, which was also carrying the new livery introduced by Hellenic Seaways this year.

A view of the FLYINGCAT 4, which was also carrying the new livery of Hellenic Seaways.

The FLYINGCAT 6 seen behind her fleetmate. I also traveled with her last year, as I was heading from Spetses to Piraeus on 28 July 2019.

The FLYINGCAT 6 and the FLYINGCAT 4, two Hellenic Seaways high speed catamarans operating on the Saronic Gulf, seen resting in Piraeus.

The FLYINGCAT 6 and the FLYINGCAT 4 were spotted alongside another one of their fleetmates, the FLYING DOLPHIN XIX, which was also seen departing the port of Piraeus.

The ACHAEOS seen resting in the port of Piraeus.

The PHIVOS seen resting as well.

Another view of the ACHAEOS in Piraeus. Towards the end of her spell on the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line, she had spent a year on charter to Italian company Blunavy, being deployed on the Piombino-Elba line on the Tyrrhenian Sea from 2011 to 2012.

The PHIVOS and the ACHAEOS seen together in Piraeus.

A view of the AQUA JEWEL 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.

The funnel of the AQUA JEWEL, which features the colours and the logo of Sea Jets.

The KNOSSOS PALACE and the KRITI II seen together. Both ships are competitors, as they both connect Piraeus with Heraklion.

The KRITI II seen departing the port of Piraeus in order to head towards Heraklion.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX was also seen departing the port of Piraeus.

The PHIVOS, in the meantime, was resting in the port.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen leaving the port of Piraeus. She was notably the lead ship of the Kolkhida-class, which was a prominent class of hydrofoils built in the Soviet Union during the 1980s and early 1990s. She initially spent three years on the Black Sea, on the Odessa-Yalta line as the COLCHIS 1 of Black Sea Shipping Company-Noroflot. She was bought in 1986 by Ceres Flying Dolphins, being renamed FLYING DOLPHIN XIX, and joining her sister ship, the FLYING DOLPHIN XVIII, on the Sporades. She was the third Kolkhida-class ship of her company, as well as the second one to be deployed on the Sporades. Just like all her current fleetmates, she also operated under Minoan Flying Dolphins from 1999 to 2002, for Hellas Flying Dolphins from 2002 to 2005, and for Hellenic Seaways beginning in 2005. She moved to the Saronic Gulf in 2004.