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  • Writer's pictureAlexandros Vrailas

Piraeus Visit on 22 July 2019

Just like it was the case during the summer of 2018, I also had the opportunity to spend a month in Athens during the summer of 2019, while waiting for my parents to head to Athens so that we could spend the rest of the summer together in Aegina. In the meantime, I did an internship with a Greek shipping company for the second consecutive summer, although this time it was with Kassian Maritime Ltd. Unlike V-Ships Greece, however, the company's offices were located in Kallithea instead of Piraeus. Due to the distance separating these two neighbourhoods and due to the fact that I would finish work quite late, I did not have the opportunity to go and see the ships in Piraeus the same way I did during the summer of 2019. I did however have the chance to go there on 22 July 2019, while I also kept an interaction with the Greek coastal service during the weekends. Indeed, during the weekend of 13-14 July, I headed to Santorini with my sister, while the following weekend (20-21 July) was spent with my sister and one of her friends in Aegina (one of the two islands on which I go every summer, the other being Zakynthos).

This post shows several ships in Piraeus having already returned to the port following their daily services on the Aegean Sea. Indeed, I headed there towards 18:30, which meant that most ships were already back and now resting. That was not an issue for me, as I therefore got to see many ships, and thus I took several pictures which are all shown below.

The first ship that I saw upon arriving in Piraeus at the E8 gate was one of the most exciting new introductions to the Greek coastal service. Indeed, it was the high speed ferry WORLDCHAMPION JET of Sea Jets, which was docked in the E9 gate. It was her debut summer under Sea Jets, after having previously operated for the Danish company Bornholmer Færgen (formerly known as Bornholms Traffiken) as the VILLUM CLAUSEN from 2000 to 2018.

Right next to me, at the E8 gate, I spotted the small passenger boat ELENA F of Elena F Shipping, which was maneuvering in the port. Built in 1998, she operates on the Piraeus-Salamina line.

In the meantime, the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA of Aegean Flying Dolphins was seen departing the port of Piraeus, while the high speed ferry TERA JET of Sea Jets was seen heading towards her docking spot, after having arrived from the Cyclades.

Another ship that I got to see was the cruiseferry PREVELIS of ANEK Lines, which operates on one of the most demanding lifelines on the Aegean Sea. Indeed, she is the main ferry connecting the islands of Kasos and Karpathos with Piraeus, as she serves the Piraeus-Milos-Santorini-Anafi-Heraklion-Siteia-Kasos-Karpathos-Chalki-Rhodes line.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen resting in Piraeus. She was bought in late 2018 by Sea Jets. After being converted in Salamina, she made her debut during the spring of 2019, being deployed on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Naxos-Santorini line. Her introduction was a massive success, as she became the fastest ferry on the Aegean Sea, and also managed to connect Piraeus with Santorini via three other Cyclades islands in barely four hours! She did not have any technical issues and was always on schedule. Her services surely improved Sea Jets' reputation and further cemented the company's rise within the Cyclades.

Another ship that I got to see was the ferry PHIVOS of Nova Ferries, which operates on the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line, as part of the services provided by the Saronic Ferries joint venture. I had traveled with her just two days before taking this picture, while heading from Piraeus to Aegina for the weekend.

The ELENA F having docked in Piraeus. She has spent her entire career on the Piraeus-Salamina line, except during the 2013 season, when she was sent to the Sporades in order to operate on the Glyfa-Skiathos line. She returned to her usual service to Salamina the following summer, and has since been remaining there.

The spectacular WORLDCHAMPION JET seen in Piraeus, after having returned from Syros during the afternoon. For the 2019 season, she replaced the CHAMPION JET 1, which was operating on the Piraeus-Mykonos-Naxos-Santorini line since 2017. When the WORLDCHAMPION JET entered service, the island of Syros was added to the itinerary. The CHAMPION JET 1 spent the summer of 2019 under charter to the Spanish company Naviera Armas.

In the meantime, her fleetmate, the TERA JET, is seen returning to her docking spot in Piraeus. Owned by Sea Jets since 2014, she spent her first season on a new service introduced by her company that summer, on the Piraeus-Paros-Ios-Santorini line.

Towards the E7 gate, I spotted another high speed ferry. It was the HIGHSPEED 4 of Hellenic Seaways, which had also already returned from her daily service on the Cyclades.

The PHIVOS was then seen departing Piraeus. She was operating on the Saronic Gulf under Nova Ferries for the fifteenth straight summer, having been first introduced during the 2005 season, after a year-long conversion that she had undertaken in Drapetsona.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET, hailed as the fastest ship in the Greek coastal service, seen resting in Piraeus.

One the two very modern funnels of the WORLDCHAMPION JET. Unlike those of her fleetmates, instead of featuring the company's logo, they have white and dark blue checkers, which aim to symbolise the ship's speed, making it appear as if she was a race-car. The owner of Sea Jets, Marios Iliopoulos, is also known for being an avid racing enthusiast. In fact, he has also shared this passion with the passengers of the WORLDCHAMPION JET, as he stored an original Formula 1 race-car manufactured by Minardi and driven by the now-retired Dutch driver Jos Verstappen during the 2003-2004 Formula 1 season onboard the ship's main lounge area! Besides that, most of the indoor areas of the ship are decorated with posters depicting races and speed as the main theme.

The ELENA F having docked in Piraeus.

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

The TERA JET is about to begin her maneuvering procedure.

The TERA JET seen maneuvering in Piraeus. Since entering service for Sea Jets in 2014, she has been the company's flagship. She notably had spells on the Heraklion-Cyclades service in 2014 and in 2015, before operating on the Piraeus-Chios-Mytilene line in 2016 in order to help transport Syrian refugees that had arrived in these two islands to Athens. In 2017 and in 2018, she had a tremendously successful service connecting Rafina with the Cyclades, which helped cement Sea Jets' presence in the area. For 2019, she operated extremely well on the new service introduced by her company, and has generally been a very acclaimed high speed ferry in Greece.

The TERA JET having maneuvered in Piraeus and now preparing to dock. Despite the arrival of the impressive WORLDCHAMPION JET, she remains the company's flagship. Both high speed ferries formed a fantastic duo while operating from Piraeus to the most popular islands of the Cyclades.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET and the TERA JET, the two best ships of Sea Jets, seen together in Piraeus.

The TERA JET about to dock in Piraeus. During her massively successful service in Rafina, she spent the summer of 2017 on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos line, while in 2018 she was on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos line. She had a fierce rivalry with most of the ships operating there, particularly with fellow high speed ferry SUPERRUNNER of Golden Star Ferries.

The stern of the HIGHSPEED 4 as she is seen resting in Piraeus. During the summer of 2019, she was deployed on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Koufonisi line. Thus, as Amorgos was removed from her itinerary this year, she did not operate on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Koufonisi-Amorgos line, like she had done so in 2014 and from 2016 to 2018.

The HIGHSPEED 4 seen in Piraeus. Built in 2000 in Australia (in the same year and in the same shipyard as the WORLDCHAMPION JET), she has spent her entire career on the Cyclades, with the exception of the 2005 season, when she was on the Piraeus-Chania line. She was the fourth high speed ferry to join Minoan Flying Dolphins (the predecessor of Hellenic Seaways), having been ordered by them for entry to service in 2000. She is the only member of the 'Highspeed' brand to have operated throughout the entire existence of the company (which became Hellas Flying Dolphins in 2002, and then Hellenic Seaways in 2005), and was the only ship of the brand that was still operating in 2019, as the other ship, the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED, was chartered to Fast Ferries for service on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos line.

While walking around the E7, I was then able to see the enormous cruiseferry EL. VENIZELOS of ANEK Lines, which operates on the Piraeus-Chania line under the ANEK-Attica Group joint venture.

Next to the huge EL. VENIZELOS was the much smaller ferry IONIS of Triton Ferries, which operates on the Piraeus-Gytheion-Kythira-Antikythira-Kissamos line, thus serving the Peloponnese-Kythira-Antikythira lifeline.

The IONIS seen resting in Piraeus, during her second summer under Triton Ferries. Built in Greece in 1977, she has spent her entire career in the country where she was constructed, and always bore the same name. From 1977 to 2015, she mainly operated on the Ionian Sea and on the Adriatic Sea (from 1977 to 1991), with the exception of late 1991 when she briefly operated on the inter-Cyclades service before being laid-up in Elefsina for the following two years. She was then bought by Tyrogalas Ferries, which deployed her as a day ferry on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line from 1993 to 2014. In 2015, she spent her last season under them on the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line under the Ionis Ferries brandname. She then operated for Aegina-based company Leve Ferries on the Piraeus-Aegina line during the summer of 2016. In 2017, however, due to problems regarding the debts owed to Tyrogalas Ferries by Leve Ferries, she did not return to service, instead remaining laid-up as the latter company had to cease operations. In late 2017, she was bought by Triton Ferries, which deployed her on her current service.

The IONIS seen in Piraeus. Before she began to operate for Tyrogalas Ferries in 1993, she had spells with now-defunct companies Ionian Lines (1977-1984), the unsuccessful state-owned Hellenic Coastal Lines (1985-1989), and Seven Islands Lines (1989-1991). Under the latter, she notably operated on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca-Paxoi-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Brindisi line.

The next ship that I saw was the cruiseferry FESTOS PALACE of Minoan Lines, which was operating on the Piraeus-Milos-Heraklion line.

Right behind her was the BLUE HORIZON of Blue Star Ferries, which also serves the Piraeus-Heraklion line.

The IONIS entered service in late 2017 for Triton Ferries in order to cover the massive gap left by the previous ship operating on the lifeline, namely the VITSENTZOS KORNAROS of LANE Sea Lines. The latter, which had started operating there in 2009, suffered a major engine failure prior to the start of the 2017 summer season. Due to the significant damage and the economic difficulties that LANE Sea Lines began to experience, the ship was taken out of service, leaving the islands of Kythira and Kythira without any ship operating from Piraeus for the entire summer! Because of this, LANE Sea Lines saw their license for serving the lifeline revoked by the Greek Ministry of Shipping and Insular Policy, and immediately ceased operations. The VITSENTZOS KORNAROS has since been laid-up in Salamina, and her future is now uncertain.

The EL. VENIZELOS resting in Piraeus. The summer of 2019 was her third consecutive one on the Piraeus-Chania line, on which she had also served several times in the past. The summer of 2017 was her first operating for ANEK Lines since 2012, after having had multiple charters in between. She was replacing her fleetmate, the ELYROS, which was on charter to Algérie Ferries (as it has been the case since the summer of 2015).

Another ship that was seen resting in Piraeus was the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN XVII of Hellenic Seaways, which operates on the Saronic Gulf, serving the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line.

The TERA JET seen unloading passengers and vehicles after having docked in Piraeus.

The impressive WORLDCHAMPION JET seen resting in Piraeus, during her first summer in Greece under Sea Jets.

The TERA JET docked in Piraeus, in what was her sixth season operating in Greece, with all of them being under Sea Jets.

The IONIS seen docked in Piraeus, during her second summer under Triton Ferries.

The EL. VENIZELOS seen in Piraeus. Her season in 2018 was cut short near the end of August, as she suffered a fire onboard caused by some lorries inside her garage. Fortunately, thanks to the professionalism and calmness of her crew, it was extinguished and the ship was able to return to Piraeus and to safely evacuate all passengers, with no reported injuries. She was repaired in Perama and returned to service on the Piraeus-Chania line just before the 2019 season.

The BLUE HORIZON is also seen resting in Piraeus. She has been on the Piraeus-Heraklion line since 2014. Before that, she had a very successful spell on the Adriatic Sea from 1998 to 2009 (as the SUPERFERRY HELLAS of Strintzis Lines from 1998 to 1999, and as the BLUE HORIZON from 2000 to 2009), operating initially on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Ancona-Venice line (1998-1999), then on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Bari line (2003-2009). Afterwards she operated on the Piraeus-Chania line in 2010, which was her first-ever service on the Aegean Sea. She was laid-up in 2012 due to problems caused by the Greek economic crisis at the start of the decade, but fortunately she returned to service in 2013, being deployed on the Piraeus-Santorini-Kos-Rhodes line, before again finding a permanent spot the following year: this time on her current line.

The PREVELIS seen in Piraeus. While usually docking in the E4 gate, in this case, she was seen departing from the tip of the E3 gate.

Another view of the TERA JET as she is seen resting in Piraeus.

The HIGHSPEED 4 is also seen resting in Piraeus. This picture was taken a week shy of the first anniversary of my first-ever trip with her. Indeed, I had traveled with her from Paros to Piraeus on 29 July 2018, in order to return to Athens after having been to the Cyclades island from 26 July to 29 July 2018. Before that, I had also spent three days in Naxos.

Not far from her was her rival, the WORLDCHAMPION JET. Both ships were built in 2000 in the same shipyard, although the HIGHSPEED 4 began operating in Greece from the moment she was built, while the WORLDCHAMPION JET spent her first season in Greek waters during the summer of 2019.

The FESTOS PALACE seen in Piraeus. She has spent her entire career on the Piraeus-Heraklion line since being built for Minoan Lines in 2001. She was also spending her second straight summer on the Piraeus-Milos-Heraklion line, as she first began connecting the Cyclades island with Piraeus and Crete during the summer of 2018. It was also her first summer operating under the exhaust gas cleaning system that she acquired following a conversion in Malta, making her more environmentally-friendly ahead of the MARPOL regulations regarding sulphur consumption beginning on 1 January 2020. She became the third ship in the history of the Greek coastal service to undergo this conversion, following her two fleetmates and sister ships, the MYKONOS PALACE and the KNOSSOS PALACE.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XVII seen in Piraeus. She is the hydrofoil which has spent the most years operating on the Saronic Gulf in Greek coastal service history: 35 years so far. Since 1984, she has only been operating there, having had spells under Ceres Flying Dolphins (1984-1999), their successor Minoan Flying Dolphins (1999-2002) and then under the latter's subsequent names, Hellas Flying Dolphins (2002-2005) and Hellenic Seaways (since 2005).

The WORLDCHAMPION JET, the fastest high speed ferry in Greece, seen alongside the TERA JET, which is the largest high speed ferry in Greece.

Another view of the HIGHSPEED 4, which spent her twentieth season in the Greek coastal service.

The PREVELIS seen in Piraeus, shortly before her evening departure for the Cyclades, Crete and the Dodecanese.

The PREVELIS seen about to depart Piraeus. She has been in her current service since 2009. Before that, she had spent the start of her ANEK Lines career on the Piraeus-Rethymnon line from 2000 to early 2007. It was also there that she began her career in Greek waters, having operated between 1995 and 2000 for Cretan Ferries as the PREVELI before the latter was absorbed by ANEK Lines. She was renamed PREVELIS in 2001. After the Piraeus-Rethymnon line was discontinued by ANEK Lines in 2007, she had one season on the Piraeus-Chania line, followed by another one on the Cyclades, on the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line, in 2008. The following year, she headed to the Piraeus-Milos-Santorini-Anafi-Heraklion-Siteia-Kasos-Karpathos-Chalki-Rhodes lifeline, where she has since been remaining.

The PREVELIS is now seen departing the port of Piraeus.

The PREVELIS seen departing the port of Piraeus. The summer of 2019 marked the first time since 2006 that she did not have the ANEK Lines garland (painted in yellow and blue) that was spread from her stern to her bow on both sides of her accommodation superstructure. This feature was due to be present on all ships of ANEK Lines, but, ultimately, only the PREVELIS (from 2006 to 2019) and the EL. VENIZELOS (from 2006 to 2013) bore it.

The PREVELIS maneuvering in order to leave the port of Piraeus.

The PREVELIS maneuvering in order to head towards the exit of the port of Piraeus, in what was her twentieth season under ANEK Lines.

As the PREVELIS was maneuvering, I was able to see the NISSOS SAMOS of Hellenic Seaways. She was spending her fourth straight summer under the latter, while it was her second consecutive summer operating on the Piraeus-Psara-Oinousses-Chios-Mytilene line on the Northeast Aegean Sea.

The PREVELIS seen maneuvering so that she can head towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The legendary PREVELIS seen undergoing her departure maneuvering procedure.

The reliable and much-acclaimed TERA JET seen resting in Piraeus.

The PREVELIS continuing to maneuver in order to head towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The PREVELIS still continuing her maneuvering procedure in order to head towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The PREVELIS having almost finished her maneuvering procedure in order to head towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The PREVELIS having finished her maneuvering procedure and beginning to head towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The PREVELIS seen leaving Piraeus in order to reach her first destination: Milos.

The IONIS seen resting in the port of Piraeus.

The ELENA F is also seen resting in Piraeus.

And besides her was another ship: the high speed catamaran FLYINGCAT 6 of Hellenic Seaways, which also operates on the Saronic Gulf.

The ELENA F and the FLYINGCAT 6 seen together in Piraeus.

Another view of the WORLDCHAMPION JET. At the time of her delivery, she was the fastest passenger ship in the world (being even mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records at the time), and held the record for the fastest speed ever recorded by a ferry from 2000 until 2013, when it was surpassed by the newly-built FRANCISCO of Argentinian company Buquebus.

The FLYINGCAT 6 in Piraeus. It was her second straight summer operating on the Piraeus-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line. She had also operated there during the summers of 2013, 2015 and 2016. Besides those years, since beginning service for Hellenic Seaways in 2005, she has operated on the Agios Konstantinos-Volos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line on the Sporades.

Another view of the ELENA F in Piraeus.

Shortly after the PREVELIS had left Piraeus, I spotted the double-ended ferry ACHAEOS of 2way Ferries returning to the port.

The ACHAEOS having just arrived in Piraeus. She was spending her sixth straight summer (and seventh overall) on the Saronic Gulf, serving the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line under the Saronic Ferries joint venture.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET docked in Piraeus.

The ACHAEOS heading towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The ACHAEOS on her way towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

One last view of the WORLDCHAMPION JET.

The front section of the FLYINGCAT 6. Above her bow and below her bridge, the logo of Cosmote can be seen. The Greek telephone services company has been the main sponsor of Hellenic Seaways high speed craft since 2013.