• Alexandros Vrailas

Piraeus Visit on 13 July 2018

As I stated on the previous Blog post that was published last week, I was able to see the ships of the port of Piraeus several times after finishing work each day during my summer internship. I would then spend the late afternoon in the port of Piraeus in order to take pictures of the ferries that were there at the time, or arriving or departing the port.


This post shows my summer daily routine, sharing all the pictures I took on 13 July 2018, just a day after 12 July 2018, whose pictures are on the Blog since last week. Just like the previous day, it was quite nice to see many ships. But this time, I saw even more, as I had the opportunity to witness multiple arrivals and even some departures of ships towards the Aegean Sea. Therefore, this post is even longer than its predecessor due to it having much more pictures, since I saw more ships than I did the previous day.


Without any further ado, it is time for me to share these pictures with you. Surely you will see many ships which have become a regular feature on this site. But, nevertheless, I never get tired of looking at them and taking pictures of them.

Right upon exiting the office, I headed towards the E7 gate. There, I saw the great ferry BLUE STAR PATMOS of Blue Star Ferries, which was awaiting her late afternoon departure to the Cyclades Islands.

The BLUE STAR PATMOS seen in Piraeus shortly before her departure. Built in 2012, she began service on the Piraeus-Chios-Mytilene line. Since late 2014, she has been operating on the Cyclades. Between the summers of 2015 and 2017, she was operating on the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Donousa-Amorgos-Ios-Santorini-Anafi-Astypalaia line. She therefore served the islands during the evening and the night, while her sister ship, the BLUE STAR DELOS, would do so in the morning. In 2018, she operated only on the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini-Anafi line, with the service to Donousa, Amorgos and Astypalaia being taken over by the BLUE STAR NAXOS.

The BLUE STAR PATMOS seen in Piraeus. I have already traveled on her three times: once on 7-8 July 2015 from Piraeus to Santorini, then from Santorini to Ios on 10 July 2017, and then from Naxos to Paros on 26 July 2018. She is the ferry on which I have traveled the most amount of times on the Cyclades, and was the first ferry of Blue Star Ferries on which I have ever boarded.

Next to the BLUE STAR PATMOS, I spotted another well-known ferry: the PREVELIS of ANEK Lines, which operates on the Piraeus-Milos-Santorini-Anafi-Heraklion-Siteia-Kasos-Karpathos-Chalki-Rhodes line since 2009.

The BLUE STAR PATMOS seen shortly before her departure to the Cyclades Islands.

The PREVELIS, docked in the E3 gate, was also preparing to depart at around the same time as the BLUE STAR PATMOS, as she had an evening service that day. Both ships connect Piraeus with Santorini and Anafi. The latter only has a connexion with Piraeus with these two ferries.

Just after taking my second picture of the PREVELIS, I spotted the catamaran FLYINGCAT 3 of Hellenic Seaways leaving the port of Piraeus in order to head to the Saronic Gulf. She is on the Piraeus-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line since 2016.

The FLYINGCAT 3 departing Piraeus in order to head towards Poros. Built in 1998, she had previously spent a significant part of her career on the Cyclades. Since 2016, however, she has been operating on the Piraeus-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line. The summer of 2018 hence marked her third straight on the Saronic Gulf. She had also served the Piraeus-Hydra-Spetses line in 2015, in addition to her main service that was spent on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Koufonisi line that season.

The beautiful PREVELIS seen in Piraeus. She operates on one of the most demanding lifelines of the Greek coastal service: the Kasos-Karpathos lifeline. Kasos only has a connection with Piraeus thanks to her, while Karpathos is served seasonally by Attica Group since 2017 (with the NISSOS CHIOS of Hellenic Seaways calling there for the 2018 season). Due to their remoteness, their small ports and the strong winds surrounding them, the two islands are a tough challenge for any ship. However, the PREVELIS has thrived on the line since 2009, and has been praised for her efficient service there. The two islands (in addition to Anafi and Chalki) mainly rely on her, particularly during the winter when services are limited.

The PREVELIS seen alongside the BLUE STAR PATMOS, shortly before their respective departures.

The PREVELIS and the BLUE STAR PATMOS seen together in Piraeus.

Another view of the PREVELIS, in what was her tenth straight season on the Kasos-Karpathos lifeline.

As the time was 17:30, it was time for the BLUE STAR PATMOS to depart the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR PATMOS seen departing Piraeus. Her first stop is the island of Syros.

The BLUE STAR PATMOS, the youngest cruiseferry in Greece to date, seen leaving Piraeus.

The impressive BLUE STAR PATMOS seen leaving Piraeus, in what was her fourth straight summer operating on the Cyclades.

In the meantime, the PREVELIS is still resting in Piraeus while loading vehicles and passengers.

The BLUE STAR PATMOS seen leaving in order to head towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The amazing BLUE STAR PATMOS passing by me as she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR PATMOS, one of the best ships of the Greek coastal service, seen leaving Piraeus.

Another view of the BLUE STAR PATMOS as she heads towards Syros.

The BLUE STAR PATMOS heading towards the Cyclades. It was nice to see her back in service after she grounded off in Ios at the end of the 2017 summer season. Fortunately she was towed safely to Piraeus, and was then repaired in Elefsina.

The PREVELIS still seen in Piraeus.

The PREVELIS seen in Piraeus. She has been owned by ANEK Lines since 2000, after the latter acquired her former operators, Cretan Ferries (also known as Rethymniaki). She previously operated for Cretan Ferries on the Piraeus-Rethymnon line between 1995 and 2000 under the name PREVELI. She continued operating on the line for ANEK Lines until the end of the 2007 season. The 'S' in her name was added in 2001. In 2008, she operated on the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line, but the service ended up lasting just one season, as she then moved to the Kasos-Karpathos lifeline in 2009.

The PREVELIS seen in Piraeus, shortly before her departure.

After the BLUE STAR PATMOS had left, I saw the small passenger boat GEORGIOS BROUFAS II of Broufas Vessels returning to Piraeus. She operates on the Piraeus-Salamina line.

Shortly after the BLUE STAR PATMOS had departed Piraeus, I saw another ship leaving the port. This time, it was the ferry PHIVOS of Nova Ferries, which operates on the Saronic Gulf.

Built in 1980 in Spain, the PHIVOS was bought by Nova Ferries in 2004. After a one-year-long conversion, she started service in 2005 on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros-Hydra line. Starting in 2007, she only operated on the Piraeus-Aegina line, something which she continued to do until the end of the 2013 season. After forming the Saronic Ferries joint venture with Hellenic Seaways (now no longer part of it) and 2way Ferries, she has been on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line since the summer of 2014.

The PHIVOS seen leaving Piraeus, in what was her fourteenth summer on the Saronic Gulf under Nova Ferries.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS II seen heading towards the E8 gate, after having returned to Piraeus from Salamina.

The PHIVOS, in the meantime, is departing Piraeus in order to head towards Aegina.

The PHIVOS on her way to Aegina. In 2018, I traveled with her twice, both times while heading from Piraeus to Aegina. The first time was on 7 July, while the second time was on 1 August.

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

Another view of the PHIVOS leaving Piraeus.

On the E8 gate, I spotted two other ships, besides the GEORGIOS BROUFAS II (seen at the right side of the picture) which had just docked. The first one was the double-ended ferry ACHAEOS of 2way Ferries, while the second one was the small passenger ship AGIA MARINA AEGINIS of Evoïkos Lines.

While heading more towards the South, I passed by the E3 gate, in which ships that mainly serve Crete depart. There I went past by the KNOSSOS PALACE of Minoan Lines.

The KNOSSOS PALACE is the flagship of Minoan Lines, She was built in 2000 and began service for them on the Piraeus-Heraklion line. In 2018, she and her sister ship, the FESTOS PALACE, were deployed on the Piraeus-Milos-Heraklion line, connecting the Cyclades island with both Athens and Crete.

The AGIA MARINA AEGINIS seen in Piraeus. She connects Piraeus with the two Northern Aegina ports: Souvala and Agia Marina (the port after which she is named). She was previously known as the ALEXANDROS, and was owned by Alexandros Shipping from 2000 to 2015. Initially operating on the Ionian Sea on the Zakynthos-Kefalonia-Ithaca-Lefakada line from 2000 to 2006 and then on the Ierapetra-Chryssi line in Crete in 2007, she moved to her current service in 2008. She was sold to Greek company my WAYS in 2015, but the following season she changed owners again, being bought by Evoïkos Lines, which renamed her AGIA MARINA AEGINIS.

Next to her was the ACHAEOS, which was built in Greece in 2006 and has been owned by 2way Ferries ever since. She spent her first summer on the Piraeus-Aegina line, but moved afterwards to the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line on the Ionian Sea, where she remained until 2013. In 2014, she returned to the Saronic Gulf, and has since been operating on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line.

As I looked towards the South (where the port's exit is located), I spotted the BLUE GALAXY of Blue Star Ferries heading towards Piraeus.

The impressive BLUE GALAXY seen entering the port of Piraeus in the early evening. She has been operating for Blue Star Ferries since 2015. She has been deployed on the Piraeus-Chania line, under the ANEK-Attica Group joint venture.

The majestic bow of the BLUE GALAXY, as she enters the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE GALAXY having entered the port of Piraeus. She was built in Japan in 1992, and operated there as the HERCULES of Higashi Nihon Ferry before her sale to ANEK Lines in 1999. After being converted in Perama, she entered service as the LEFKA ORI on the Adriatic Sea, initially on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Trieste line between 2000 and 2004, and then on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Venice line between 2005 and 2011, alongside her sister ship, the SOPHOCLES V (now known as the KYDON). After a failed charter to South Korean company Jeju Cruise Line in 2012, she returned to Greece alongside her sister ship in late 2013 and was refitted in late 2014 in Perama after she was transferred to Blue Star Ferries, being renamed BLUE GALAXY.

Among the best ferries of the Greek coastal service (as it the case for all ships owned by Blue Star Ferries), the BLUE GALAXY has been hailed for her service on the Piraeus-Chania line, on which she has been for the past four summer seasons.

The BLUE GALAXY in Piraeus. After a successful spell on the Adriatic Sea, she had no trouble with repeating that success on the Aegean Sea. She and her current fleetmate and former competitor, the BLUE HORIZON, are the two ferries of Blue Star Ferries that operate in Crete. While the BLUE GALAXY operates on the Piraeus-Chania line, the BLUE HORIZON operates on the Piraeus-Heraklion line since 2014.

The BLUE GALAXY passing by me in Piraeus in order to head to her docking spot in the E4 gate. I have already traveled with her in the past, back when she was operating under ANEK Lines as the LEFKA ORI. It was during a trip from Patras to Venice in 2006, as my family and I were returning from Greece to Belgium via Italy.

The big BLUE GALAXY passing by me in Piraeus.

The BLUE GALAXY having passed by where I was standing and heading towards her docking spot. She is the second ship of Blue Star Ferries to have ever been named BLUE GALAXY. The first one was the legendary IONIAN GALAXY of Strintzis Lines, which had an extremely successful career on the Adriatic Sea from 1988 to 2000, operating on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Ancona-Venice line. Ironically, her new competitor turned out to be the current BLUE GALAXY, which was at the time starting her career as the LEFKA ORI for ANEK Lines. The IONIAN GALAXY (also a Japanese ferry, built 20 years before the current BLUE GALAXY) was renamed BLUE GALAXY in 2000, when Strintzis Lines was taken over by Attica Group in order to form the new company Blue Star Ferries. She operated under that name for two seasons. The first one (2000) was spent on an unsuccessful Heraklion-Patras-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Venice line, while the second one (2001) was spent on the Patras-Brindisi line. Afterwards, she was sold to Turkish company Turkish Marmara Lines and operated as the ÇEŞME 2 line on the Brindisi-Çeşme line. In 2003 she was sold to Emirati company Marco Lines, being renamed MERDIF 2 and operating on the Dubaï-Umm Qasr line. She was sold for scrap in 2011.

The AGIA MARINA AEGINIS seen leaving Piraeus in order to head towards Souvala and Agia Marina.

The BLUE GALAXY seen from the stern as she heads towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The AGIA MARINA AEGINIS preparing to exit the port of Piraeus.

The AGIA MARINA AEGINIS, in what was her eleventh season connecting Piraeus with Souvala and Agia Marina. It was also her third one under her current owners and her current name.

The BLUE GALAXY seen from behind.

The nice little AGIA MARINA AEGINIS heading towards Souvala and Agia Marina.

Another view of the AGIA MARINA AEGINIS. Since 2000, she has undergone two different conversions. The first one was in 2002 in Perama, whereupon she was lengthened and her passenger capacity and speed were upgraded. The second one occurred in 2009 in Salamina, right after her first season on the Piraeus-Northern Aegina line. During that conversion, she received a bulbous bow and a new stern ramp, much longer than the one she previously had.

The BLUE GALAXY preparing to undergo her maneuvering procedure. Thus, just one day after seeing her fleetmate and Cretan collaborator, the BLUE HORIZON, doing hers after having arrived in the evening from Heraklion, I witnessed the one done by BLUE GALAXY following her return to Piraeus from Chania.

The BLUE GALAXY seen undergoing her impressive maneuvering procedure in Piraeus.

The BLUE GALAXY seen maneuvering in Piraeus.

While the BLUE GALAXY was maneuvering, I saw the AGIA MARINA AEGINIS heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus, while the ferry APOLLON HELLAS of 2way Ferries had just entered it.

The BLUE GALAXY seen maneuvering in the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE GALAXY seen maneuvering in the port of Piraeus, having taken a 90-degree turn towards the East.

The BLUE GALAXY maneuvering in the port of Piraeus, having taken a 90-degree turn towards the East.

The AGIA MARINA AEGINIS exiting the port while the APOLLON HELLAS has entered it. On the left side, the HIGHSPEED 4 of Hellenic Seaways is also seen approaching Piraeus.

The BLUE GALAXY still seen maneuvering in the port of Piraeus, while already having taken a 90-degree turn towards the East.

The BLUE GALAXY now beginning to complete her 180-degree turn in order to head towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The loyal APOLLON HELLAS seen in Piraeus, having just returned from Aegina.

The BLUE GALAXY having almost taken her 180-degree turn while maneuvering in Piraeus.

The APOLLON HELLAS, which has been owned by 2way Ferries since 2016. Before that, she was owned by Hellenic Seaways (2005-2016), their predecessors Minoan Flying Dolphins (later Hellas Flying Dolphins) under the Saronikos Ferries division (1999-2005), and Poseidon Consortium Shipping-the predecessors of 2way Ferries (1999). Between 1995 and 1999 she was in South Korea under the name SUN BEACH and operating for the company He Il. Her first stint in Greece was between 1990 and 1995 under Akouriki Shipping Company, and was also spent on the Saronic Gulf.

Behind the APOLLON HELLAS, two high speed craft were following her as they headed towards their respective docking spots: the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA of Aegean Flying Dolphins (also heading back from Aegina) and the HIGHSPEED 4.

The APOLLON HELLAS on her way towards her docking spot. The summer of 2018 was her second one on the Saronic Gulf under her current owners. Before that, she had spent her last two summers under Hellenic Seaways on the Sporades, operating on the Volos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line in 2014 and on then on the Agios Konstantinos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line in 2015. She remained on the latter in 2016, when she was bought by 2way Ferries. In 2017, she returned to the Saronic Gulf for the first time since 2013, being deployed on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line, the line on which she was also operating during her Hellenic Seaways days.

The BLUE GALAXY seen completing her maneuvering procedure in Piraeus.

The APOLLON HELLAS passing by me as she heads towards the E8 gate in Piraeus.

The BLUE GALAXY having finished maneuvering and now preparing to dock in Piraeus.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen following the APOLLON HELLAS towards the E8 gate in Piraeus.

The APOLLON HELLAS on her way towards the E8 gate in Piraeus.