PROTOPOROS X Tribute and Moments of Trip
Trip: 3 August 2019. From Salamina to Perama, with the PROTOPOROS X of Tsokos Lines.
The impressive double-ended ferry PROTOPOROS X was built in Greece in 2017, becoming the tenth ship built for Greek company Tsokos Lines. She was deployed on the Perama-Salamina line, where she has since been remaining. As of 2020 she operates under the Agios Nikolaos Lines joint venture, as do all current ships of Tsokos Lines.
Just one hour after arriving in Salamina with the AGGELIS F of Filiagkos NE, I had taken many photos and was now ready to head back to Athens via Perama. As I headed to the port of Paloukia which features countless double-ended ferries connecting the island of Salamina with Perama (making it the busiest line of the Greek coastal service), I received a ticket indicating that I would be traveling with the large PROTOPOROS X, which was due to depart at 16:00. This was my second trip of the season with a ferry sailing from Salamina to Perama, and it was also my second-ever trip with a ship of Tsokos Lines. Indeed, the first time had been in 21 July 2018, when I had traveled from Eretria to Oropos via the South Evoian Gulf with the fleetmate of the PROTOPOROS X, the PROTOPOROS XIII, which was also built in 2017. It was also my first-ever trip on the Perama-Salamina line with a ship owned by Tsokos Lines.
The PROTOPOROS X seen in Perama on 28 July 2019, just six days before my trip with her.
Before giving an overview of my trip, I think it is a good idea to again present to you the history of Tsokos Lines, just as I had done it in the Tribute post of the PROTOPOROS XIII, and what is the company's current, former and future fleet status as of 2020. Indeed, the company is owned by the Eretria-based Tsokos family, and was founded in 2004. It first began service on the Oropos-Eretria line with the then-newly-built double-ended ferry PROTOPOROS, which became the first double-ended ferry to ever operate on the line. The word 'Protoporos' means 'Pioneer' in Greek. And this is exactly what the mindset of her company is about: pioneering. And this has been done by deploying very modern and technologically-advanced double-ended ferries for short distance routes throughout Greece. All 'Protoporos' ships have been hailed so far for their large size compared to other double-ended ferries, and for their flawless and comfortable service. Over the next 16 years, the company went on to order a total of 16 double-ended ferries, one of which is under construction today and should be completed in late 2020 or early 2021. All ships have been built in either Perama or Amaliapolis. This is the record for the most ferries ever built for one specific Greek company, eclipsing the record held by Superfast Ferries which had 14 newly-built ferries delivered to them between 1995 and 2009. Moreover, all ferries ordered by Tsokos Lines were built in Greece, making it the company with the most ships built in the country (excluding tour boat-based companies such as the Santorini Boatmen Union or the Association of the Boatmen of Mykonos). Only the historic and now-defunct company Ceres Flying Dolphins has had more newly-built ships delivered to them, with a total of 19 ships (17 hydrofoils and two catamarans) entering service for the company as soon as they were built between 1976 and 1998. But, at this rhythm, Tsokos Lines could even surpass them, if they order four more ships, something that is potentially likely to happen.
Though the company has ordered 16 ferries in as many years, it currently only owns four of them (in addition to the one that is currently under construction). Tsokos Lines is known for quickly selling their ferries to other companies (both Greek and foreign) just a few years after beginning to operate them. They however replace them immediately with newer ships. Thus, a cycle keeps repeating itself: Build, operate, sell, replace by another built ship, operate it, sell it, and so on. In order to avoid confusion and in order to provide you with a general overview of the fleet of Tsokos Lines, here is an updated outline of all the ships that operate, that have operated, or that are due to operate for the company, and what their current status is as of May 2020:
-The PROTOPOROS (2004-2010): Built in 2004 as the first ship of the company, she operated on the Oropos-Eretria line before being sold in 2010 to Salamina-based company Panagia Faneromeni. She now operates on the Perama-Salamina line as the FANEROMENI.
-The PROTOPOROS II (2006-2007): Built in 2006 as the second ship of the company, she operated for two seasons on the Oropos-Eretria line before being sold in late 2007 to Tunisian company Sonotrak. Initially named LOUD 7TH, she has been known since 2012 as the LOUD TUNISIE and operates on the Sfax-Chergui-Gharbi line.
-The PROTOPOROS III (2008-2010): Built in 2008 as a replacement for the PROTOPOROS II, she entered service on the Oropos-Eretria line before being sold in 2010 to Thassos-based company ANETH Ferries. She has since been operating on the Keramoti-Thassos line as the THASSOS I.
-The PROTOPOROS IV (2010-2015): Built in 2010, she began operating on the Oropos-Eretria line, and her role became more prominent following the sale of the PROTOPOROS III. She became the first ship of the company to operate on the Rion-Antirrion line, something that she did in 2014. In the winter of 2015, she was sold to Russian company Obshchestvo S Ogranichennoy Otvetstvennost'yu. She was not renamed (but was simply reflagged from Greece to Russia) and operated on the Kavkaz-Port Krym line, connecting Russia with Ukraine through the Kerch Strait in the Crimean peninsula. After the opening of the Kerch Strait Bridge in 2018, she was laid-up in Kerch in early 2019. She was sold in 2020 to Croatian company Jadrolinija and was renamed LOŠINJ. She is currently undergoing a conversion in Lošinj in order to enter service for her new owners.
-The PROTOPOROS V (2011-2012): Built in 2011, she began operations on the Oropos-Eretria line, replacing the PROTOPOROS which had been sold the previous summer. She was sold in 2012 to Tanzanian company Azam Sealink. She has since been operating on the Dar Es Salaam-Zanzibar line as the AZAM SEALINK 1.
-The PROTOPOROS VI (2012-2015): Built in 2012, she began operations on the Arkitsa-Aidipsos line (on the North Evoian Gulf), becoming the first (and so far the only) ship of the company to ever operate on the line. After spending the winter of 2014-2015 on the Perama-Salamina line with the PROTOPOROS IV, she was also sold for service on the Kerch Strait, being acquired by Russian company Proekt CJSC. She was renamed POBEDA and was deployed on the Kavkaz-Port Krym line. After the opening of the Kerch Strait Bridge in 2018, she was laid-up in Kerch in early 2019, and is now listed for sale.
-The PROTOPOROS VII (2015-2016): Built in 2015, she began operations on the Perama-Salamina line in order to replace the PROTOPOROS IV and the PROTOPOROS VI which were sold to Russian companies that year. She would find herself sold after just one season to Mexican company Transcaribe Conecta. She has since been operating on the Calica-Cozumel line as the TRANSCARIBE I.
-The PROTOPOROS VIII (2016-2017): Built in 2016, she began operations on the Perama-Salamina line order to replace the PROTOPOROS VII which had been sold to Transcaribe Conecta. She spent the 2017 summer season on the Rion-Antirrion line. After the completion of the latter season, she was sold to newly-established Thassos-based company Thassian Sea Lines. She has since been operating on the Keramoti-Thassos line as the DIMITRIOS CH (competing against the THASSOS I, formerly the PROTOPOROS III).
-The PROTOPOROS IX (2016-2017): Built in 2016, she began operations on the Oropos-Eretria line, becoming the first ship to operate there since the 2013 season. But her service lasted just one summer as she was sold in early 2017 to Tanzanian company Azam Sealink, which had also acquired the PROTOPOROS V five years earlier. She has since been operating on the Dar Es Salaam-Zanzibar line as the AZAM SEALINK 2.
-The PROTOPOROS X (2017-present): Built in 2017, she began operations on the Perama-Salamina line, taking over the service left by the PROTOPOROS VIII which was transferred to the Rion-Antirrion line. She still operates for the company to date.
-The PROTOPOROS XI (2019-present): Built in 2019, she began operations on the Perama-Salamina line during the summer of 2019, joining the PROTOPOROS X. She still operates for the company to date.
-The PROTOPOROS XII (2018-2019): Built in 2018, she only operated for a few days on the Perama-Salamina line in the summer of 2018 before being eventually sold in early 2019 to Tanzanian company Zan Fast Ferries. She has since been operating on the Dar Es Salaam-Zanzibar line as the SEA STAR I.
-The PROTOPOROS XIII (2017-present): Built in 2017, she began operations on the Oropos-Eretria line, replacing the PROTOPOROS IX which had been sold to Azam Sealink. She still operates for the company to date.
-The PROTOPOROS XIV (2018-present): Built in 2018, she began operations on the Rion-Antirrion line, replacing the PROTOPOROS VIII which had been sold to Thassian Sea Lines. She still operates for the company to date.
-The PROTOPOROS XV (2019-2020): Built in 2019, she began operations for the company on the Perama-Salamina line. However, her stint there was very short, as she was sold in early 2020 to Indian company M2M Ferries. She has since been operating on the Mumbai-Mandwa line as the M2M1.
-The PROTOPOROS XVI (Under construction): Currently under construction in Perama, she is due to enter service for the company on the Perama-Salamina line in late 2020 or early 2021.
So here you go, you have all the information about each ferry in the history of Tsokos Lines (for the time being). It is also noteworthy to state once again that all ferries currently operating for the company are now part of the Agios Nikolaos Lines joint venture, which they represent on either the Perama-Salamina line, the Oropos-Eretria line or the Rion-Antirrion line. Now that all details about the ship and her company have been provided to you, it is now time to have a look at the pictures I took during my trip with her.
I immediately embarked onboard the PROTOPOROS X, which is one of the largest ships operating on the Perama-Salamina line. Here is a view of her wide open garage, which passes under her accommodation superstructure. She also has side ramps which allow the passengers to take the staircases that lead to the accommodation superstructure. She is far larger than the PROTOPOROS XIII, and she therefore has an even bigger garage which allows her to have a considerable vehicle capacity.
Another view of the ship's wide open garage. The bottom part of her accommodation superstructure features her name, which is written in Greek letters. Right above is the first deck of the accommodation superstructure, which features the ship's indoor lounge area. One can also see dolphins looking towards the windows located right above the ship's name. This is a feature which has been found on several ships owned (both currently and in the past) by Tsokos Lines.
One of the ship's side alleys which lead to the accommodation superstructure. Due to her large size, the distances between the side ramps and the accommodation superstructure are among the longest of any Greek double-ended ferry. As a result of their considerable length, they feature a few groups of white chairs available for passengers during each trip.
One of the ship's masts, which is located in an outdoor area found right above the entrance to the garage. This area also features several light blue chairs. The latter could also be found in the PROTOPOROS XIII, right above the ship's ramps on both of her sides.
I then proceeded to have a look at the ship's indoor lounge area, which is located in the first deck of the accommodation superstructure. It also features dark lounge seats and the same small wooden tables as the ones found in the PROTOPOROS XIII.
A view of the outdoor area of the second deck of the ship's accommodation superstructure, which features even more white chairs, which are undoubtedly able to allow all passengers to remain seated for the duration of each trip.
The several chairs seen in one side of the second deck of the ship's accommodation superstructure. The latter additionally features the crew's cabins. The third deck, whose exterior is fully painted in black, features the bridge of the PROTOPOROS X.
A view of the ship's garage, as seen from the second deck of the accommodation superstructure. There are some additional alleys featuring even more chairs. Each one of them ends next to one of the ship's four funnels, as seen in this picture.
The other side of the second deck of the accommodation superstructure, which, just like its counterpart, features a countless amount of white chairs, all of them attached to the ship's floor.
The ship's mast located at the top of her accommodation superstructure. It is painted in dark grey and features the Holy Cross. Next to it are the flag of Greece as well as the company flag of Tsokos Lines. Below it, one can also see her IMO number, which is the number 9825960.
Shortly before the departure of the PROTOPOROS X, I spotted another ship leaving Salamina in order to head towards Perama. Indeed, it was the small passenger boat TZORTZIA of Speed Service Waterways. She was spending her first summer under the latter company and under that name. Indeed, before that, she was known as the AGIOS ELEFTHERIOS of Kotsomoiris-Karvela Shipping, for whom she operated for ten years, from 2008 (the year during which she was built in Greece) to 2018, on the Perama-Salamina line. She was then sold to Speed Service Waterways, was refitted in Salamina, was renamed TZORTZIA, and resumed service under her new owners on the Perama-Salamina line during the 2019 season. She is one of the many small passenger boats that serve the line, in addition to the countless double-ferries that you have seen in this website.
The TZORTZIA seen leaving Salamina, during her twelfth season on the Perama-Salamina line, and her first under Speed Service Waterways.
Next to the PROTOPOROS X was the double-ended ferry STAVROS N of Nikolaïdis NE, which is also one of the largest ferries operating on the Perama-Salamina line, and was also built in 2017, just like the PROTOPOROS X. Furthermore, due to her large size, she also features four funnels, in a style similar to those of the PROTOPOROS X. They are however painted in beige, which is the main colour of Nikolaïdis NE.
I then had a look at the starboard side of the ship, and I spotted the small passenger boat SALAMIS EXPRESS I of Salamis Express, which also operates on the Perama-Salamina line. Next to her was another small passenger boat, the GEORGIOS BROUFAS II of Broufas Vessels, which serves the Piraeus-Salamina line. Behind them was the double-ended ferry ANNA MARIA of Gavanozis Shipping, which was spending the 2019 season on the Perama-Salamina line.
The PROTOPOROS X departed the port of Paloukia in Salamina in order to begin her short trip towards Perama. As a result, I could now take a picture of the STAVROS N, as well as of the SALAMINOMACHOS of Salaminomachos Lines, which has been a continuous presence on the Perama-Salamina line since she was built in 2008. She moved to the Rion-Antirrion line this year.
A better view of the STAVROS N, which was seen resting in Salamina. She has so far spent her entire career on the Perama-Salamina line since she was built in 2017, just like it is the case for the PROTOPOROS X.
I was subsequently able to take a picture featuring the THEOMITOR of Athinais Lines, the fleetmate of the PROTOPOROS X, the newly-built PROTOPOROS XI, the STAVROS N and the SALAMINOMACHOS.
A view of the countless double-ended ferries docked in Salamina, as seen from the ship's starboard side.
The best possible picture I could take of the newly-built PROTOPOROS XI, which had just began her career in Greece following the completion of her construction. Just like the PROTOPOROS X, she was inserted on the Perama-Salamina line. She is a bit shorter in length compared to the PROTOPOROS X, but she is much larger than the PROTOPOROS XIII. Curiously, she was built in 2019, hence one year after the PROTOPOROS XII (which is now operating in Tanzania) and the PROTOPOROS XIV, and two years after the PROTOPOROS XIII. Therefore, even though she is named PROTOPOROS XI, she is the fourteenth ship built in the history of the company.
The next ship that I got to see and photograph was the double-ended ferry SPYRIDON S of Dimitrios NE. Built in 2016, she is also one of the largest ships operating on the Perama-Salamina line. She moved to the Rion-Antirrion line this year, while she had also been there in 2017.
Next to her was the double-ended ferry AGGELIS F of Filiagkos NE, which was spending the first summer of her career. I had traveled with her just an hour before my trip with the PROTOPOROS X, while heading from Perama to Salamina.
The SPYRIDON S and the AGGELIS F seen together in Salamina.
Another picture showing the THEOMITOR, the PROTOPOROS XI, the STAVROS N and the SALAMINOMACHOS.
As the PROTOPOROS X began to head towards Perama, I spotted another ship heading towards the opposite direction. Indeed, it was the double-ended ferry KONSTANTINOS K of Salaminia Ferries-K Star.
The KONSTANTINOS K seen heading towards Salamina. She was built in 2009, and has since been an integral member of the group of double-ended ferries operating on the Perama-Salamina line, which she has served for all but two years of her career so far. Indeed, she operated on the Arkitsa-Aidipsos line on the North Evoian Gulf in 2015, while she was then inserted on the Rion-Antirrion line in 2016. She returned to the Perama-Salamina line in 2017, and has since been remaining there.
The KONSTANTINOS K heading towards her docking spot in Salamina.
Another view of the KONSTANTINOS K as she is about to dock in Salamina.
I then saw the small passenger boat ARTEMIS of Artemis SNE heading towards Salamina, after having left Perama.
The ARTEMIS seen approaching Salamina. She was built in 2003 and has operated on the Perama-Salamina line throughout her entire career, except between 2015 and 2018, a period during which she was laid-up in Salamina at all. A sale to Thessaloniki Waterbus for service on the Thermaic Gulf did not materialise in 2017, and the ship instead returned to service under Artemis SNE in 2018, following a three-year-long lay-up in Salamina.
The beautiful ARTEMIS on her way to Salamina. Even though she operates on the Perama-Salamina line, she is registered in Porto Cheli.
Crossing the ARTEMIS as she heads towards Salamina.
Another view of the ARTEMIS as she is seen heading towards Salamina.
Interestingly, I spotted several ships that I had previously seen heading from Salamina to Perama during my trip with the AGGELIS F operating in the opposite direction during my trip with the PROTOPOROS X. After the KONSTANTINOS K and the ARTEMIS, I now saw the double-ended ferry ALEXANDROS M of Boufis Shipping Company heading from Perama to Salamina.
The ALEXANDROS M seen heading towards Salamina. Built in 2000, she was initially known as the KONSTANTINOS of now-defunct company Konstantinos ANE. She operated on the Perama-Salamina line from 2000 to 2002 and then from 2004 to 2010, with the 2003 season seeing her operating on the Rion-Antirrion line. After the completion of the 2010 season, Konstantinos ANE experienced financial difficulties and had to cease operations. As a result, the ship was sold to Boufis Shipping Company (based in Spetses) in 2011 and was renamed ALEXANDROS M, becoming the second ship in the history of the company to bear that name.
Despite her current owners being based in Spetses, the ship continued to operate on the Perama-Salamina line, and actually only operates on the company's traditional service, the Kosta-Spetses line, whenever her fleetmate, the landing craft KATERINA STAR which serves the line, undergoes her annual refit. She also spent the 2016 season on the Rion-Antirrion line, before heading back to the Perama-Salamina line the following year.
The ALEXANDROS M seen heading from Perama to Salamina. As I stated it previously, she is the second ship in the history of Boufis Shipping Company to be named ALEXANDROS M. The first one was a landing craft built in 1977, which served the Kosta-Spetses line from 1977 until she was retired in 2008. She was then reportedly sold overseas and was renamed CIBELA, but the sale did not materialise. She remained laid-up in Perama until 2013, when she was acquired by Galaxidi Thalassies Kalliergeies AE. She was refitted and was renamed ANDROMACHI II. Since 2014 she serves the Aegion-Galaxidi line, serving the local aquaculture of Galaxidi.
The ALEXANDROS M on her way towards Salamina. This was her eighteenth overall season on the Perama-Salamina line, where she has spent the bulk of her career. The sole exceptions were in 2003 and in 2016, when she operated on the Rion-Antirrion line.
One last view of the ALEXANDROS M as she heads towards Salamina.
As the PROTOPOROS X began to approach the port of Perama, I could see three double-ended ferries that were already docked there. Indeed, these were the THEOLOGOS V II of Evia Ferries, the IOANNIS SOPHIA K of Karnesis-Lalousis NE and the GEORGIOS of Georgios Lines.
The THEOLOGOS V II seen resting in Perama. As she was built in late 2018, the summer of 2018 was the first summer of her career in Greece.
The THEOLOGOS V II seen alongside the IOANNIS SOPHIA K, which is the flagship of Karnesis-Lalousis NE.
The THEOLOGOS V II, the IOANNIS SOPHIA K and the GEORGIOS seen together in Perama.
The GEORGIOS preparing to de part the port of Perama. Built in 2009 for Georgios Lines, she operated on the Perama-Salamina line from 2009 to 2011, in 2013, from 2016 to 2017, and in 2019. In 2012, from 2014 to 2015, in 2018 and since 2020 she has been operating on the Rion-Antirrion line.
The GEORGIOS seen in the port of Perama, in what was her seventh overall season on the Perama-Salamina line.
The impressive IOANNIS SOPHIA K seen resting in Perama.
I also saw the TZORTZIA docked in Perama, after she had arrived there from Salamina.
While the TZORTZIA was docked, I saw another small passenger boat, the AGIOS NIKOLAOS II of Oikonomopoulos-Drakos NE, departing the port of Perama in order to head towards Salamina.
The small TZORTZIA seen resting in Perama.
The AGIOS NIKOLAOS II seen departing the port of Perama. Built in 2000 for Oikonomopoulos-Drakos NE, she has so far spent her entire career on the Perama-Salamina line.
The AGIOS NIKOLAOS II departing Salamina, in what was her twentieth consecutive season on the Perama-Salamina line.
The AGIOS NIKOLAOS II leaving Perama for Salamina, with the high speed trimaran SUPERSPEED of Golden Star Ferries seen docked right behind her.
The TZORTZIA seen docked in Perama, during her debut season under Speed Service Waterways.
The TZORTZIA seen in Perama, as the PROTOPOROS X docked in the port at around 16:15.
One last view of the impressive PROTOPOROS X in Perama, shortly after disembarkation.
And this therefore concludes yet another day full of contact with the Greek coastal service. Indeed, by 07:00 I was already spotting the various ships departing the port of Rafina along with my father, and I then had two trips, from Perama to Salamina and back, with two very modern double-ended ferries. I was very happy to travel onboard another ship owned by Tsokos Lines, which is a very serious company that builds some of the most efficient double-ended ferries of the Greek coastal service. The PROTOPOROS X might appear huge for a short trip such as one from Salamina to Perama (or vice versa), but she does her job very well, and she is certainly one of the most impressive ships to operate on the line. It was the best way for me to finish my various excursions to the island of Salamina during the summer of 2019, just a day before heading to Aegina in order to spend the vast majority of the month of August there with my maternal family and with my friends.
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