Greek shipping
The Hellenic Merchant Marine refers to the Merchant Marine of Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, engaged in commerce and transportation of goods and services universally. It consists of the merchant vessel
Merchant vessel
A merchant vessel is a ship that transports cargo or passengers. The closely related term commercial vessel is defined by the United States Coast Guard as any vessel engaged in commercial trade or that carries passengers for hire...

s owned by Greek
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 civilians, flying either the Greek flag
Flag of Greece
The flag of Greece , officially recognized by Greece as one of its national symbols, is based on nine equal horizontal stripes of blue alternating with white...

 or a flag of convenience
Flag of convenience
The term flag of convenience describes the business practice of registering a merchant ship in a sovereign state different from that of the ship's owners, and flying that state's civil ensign on the ship. Ships are registered under flags of convenience to reduce operating costs or avoid the...

. Greece is a maritime nation by tradition, as shipping is arguably the oldest form of occupation of the Greeks and a key element of Greek economic activity since the ancient times. Nowadays, Greece has the largest merchant fleet in the world, which is the second largest contributor to the national economy
Economy of Greece
The economy of Greece is the 32nd largest in the world by nominal gross domestic product and the 37th largest at purchasing power parity , according to data by the World Bank for the year 2010...

 after tourism
Tourism in Greece
Greece attracts more than 17.5 million tourists each year, contributing 15% to the nation's Gross Domestic Product. Greece has been an attraction for international visitors since antiquity for its rich and long history, Mediterranean coastline and beaches...

 and forms the backbone of world shipping. The Greek fleet flies a variety of flags, however some Greek shipowners gradually return to Greece following the changes to the legislative framework governing their operations and the improvement of infrastructure.

Development in Asia

Greek firms have managed to greatly capture the immense expansion of Asia, particularly China. It is mostly the dry bulk shipping firms that have benefited from the development, since iron ore and coal are the two major resources that are required for a country's infrastructure to be taken to the next level. Ever since the beginning of the new millennium, China has provided very lucrative contracts both on the spot, and time charter market for dry bulk shippers. As a result, many new shipping tycoons were created.

Hellenic Merchant Marine Rank Insignia of Engineer Officers

Engineer Officers use exactly the same Rank Insignia as Bridge officers.
The only difference is that "in between" the golden stripes, the color is not black but dark red.
In some cases, dark purple has been used, however dark purple refers usually to Electrician Officers.
Engineer Officers come from the same Merchant Marine Academies as Bridge Officers.
All other Officers found on board Hellenic Merchant Marine Vessels, come from Universities and other higher education institutes.

Other Officers that serve on board Hellenic Merchant Marine vessels are:
Economic Officers, Electricians, Doctors and Radio Officers.
  • note that the highest ranks that can be obtained in the Hellenic Merchant Marine are the Captain and the Chief Engineer and both officers come from the Merchant Marine Academy.

No other type of officer can reach these ranks.

Rank Exceptions

There are two more ranks that can be found on Hellenic Merchant Marine vessels, namely Staff Captain and Staff Chief Engineer. Both these ranks can be found only on passenger and cruiser-pleasure yacht
A yacht is a recreational boat or ship. The term originated from the Dutch Jacht meaning "hunt". It was originally defined as a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries...

These officers assist the Captain and the Chief Engineer in turn while both have acquired the Diploma of Captain and Chief Engineer. However, they have a smaller service record and wait for their turn for the top of the line rank.


Hellenic Merchant Marine Officers get their promotions after a 2 years service period from 2nd Officer rank to Chief Officer rank and after 6 months of studies and exams at the KESEN center.
KESEN stands for Center for the Education of Merchant Marine Officers.
To become Captain is 3 years sea service period and 6 months of studies and exams at the KESEN center.

All other Officers are promoted after evaluations from the Ship Owning Company


Most Greek shipping has been run as a family business, with family members located in key ports or in key positions, and with marriages cementing relationships between commercial dynasties. These close-knit families have allowed financially-sensitive information to be kept within the local community, with many transactions kept within trusted family networks.

The twentieth century saw more Greek shipping families established, including:
  • Lemos of Oinousses
  • Pateras of Oinousses
  • Onassis
    Aristotle Onassis
    Aristotle Sokratis Onassis , commonly called Ari or Aristo Onassis, was a prominent Greek shipping magnate.- Early life :Onassis was born in Karatass, a suburb of Smyrna to Socrates and Penelope Onassis...

     of Smyrna
  • Mavroleon
  • Livanos
    George Livanos
    Georges P. Livanos was born in 1926 in New Orleans. His father was Peter Livanos. During the World War II, Georges Livanos served in the American army in Japan....

     of Chios
  • Carras
    Carras is usually a Greek surname. The female version of the name is Carra . It may refer to:*Porto Carras, northern Greece Resort*Yiannis Carras, shipowner...

     of Chios
  • Kulukundis
    Eddie Kulukundis
    Sir Eddie Kulukundis OBE is a member of a Greek shipping family whose professional career has spanned shipping and the theatre....

  • Goulandris of Andros
  • Polemis of Andros
  • John Theodoracopoulos of Zakynthos
  • Latsis
    Yiannis Latsis
    Yiannis Latsis , also John Spyridon Latsis, was a Greek shipping tycoon notable for his great wealth, influential friends, and charitable activities.-Biography:...

     of Peloponnese
  • Negroponte
    Negroponte can refer to:*the Greek island of Euboea, called Negroponte in Italian**Chalkis, the island's capital, named Negroponte during the Middle Ages...

     of Syros
  • Chandris
    John D. Chandris
    John D. Chandris was a Greek shipping magnate.Chandris was born in Chios, then part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1915, after years of experience in the shipping industry, he bought his first ship, the S/S Dimitrios. By World War I, Chandris' fleet was made up of four ships, including steamships...

     of Chios
  • Niarchos
    Stavros Niarchos
    Stavros Spyros Niarchos was a Greek shipping tycoon, sometimes known as "The Golden Greek." In 1952, Stavros Niarchos built the first supertankers capable of transporting large quantities of oil, and subsequently earned millions of dollars as global demand for his ships increased.- Early life :He...

     of Piraeus
  • Economou of Galaxidi
  • Los of Chios
  • Eugenidis
  • Soutos of Samos

Other contemporary shipowners include:
  • Tsakos
  • Angelopoulos
    - Men :* Athanasios Angelopoulos, Greek professor* Giorgos Angelopoulos, Greek businessman* Lycourgos Angelopoulos, director of the Greek Byzantine Choir* Manolis Angelopoulos, Greek singer* Panagiotis Angelopoulos, Greek businessman...

John Latsis built a shipping empire out of nothing and his son Spiros took over with great success expanding the empire even further than shipping into banking and finance.

Greek shipping companies

Some notable Greek shipping companies include:

  • Danaos Corporation
    Danaos Corporation
    Danaos Corporation is an international owner of container ships, chartering vessels to many of the world's largest liner companies. Danaos currently has a fleet of 58 active container ships and 7 new buildings to come, aggregating , making it among the largest container ship charter owners in the...

  • Euroseas
    Euroseas, Ltd. is shipping company that was founded about a century ago and became public in 2005. The company is based in Maroussi, Greece.- Profile :...

  • Tsakos Energy Navigation
  • Overseas Shipholding Group
    Overseas Shipholding Group
    Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. is one of the largest oil tanker operating companies in the world. It is based in New York City....

    - Stelmar Ltd

See also

  • List of ports in Greece
  • Aristotle Onassis
    Aristotle Onassis
    Aristotle Sokratis Onassis , commonly called Ari or Aristo Onassis, was a prominent Greek shipping magnate.- Early life :Onassis was born in Karatass, a suburb of Smyrna to Socrates and Penelope Onassis...

  • List of Greek companies
  • Economy of Greece
    Economy of Greece
    The economy of Greece is the 32nd largest in the world by nominal gross domestic product and the 37th largest at purchasing power parity , according to data by the World Bank for the year 2010...

  • Greek Steamship Company
    Greek Steamship Company
    The Greek Steamship Company was the first steamship company in modern Greece. Established on the Aegean island of Syros, the company provided transportation links within Greece and to Europe and the Middle East...

     (also Hellenic Steam Navigation Co. and New Greek Steamship Co.)
  • Piraeus
    Piraeus is a city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens Urban Area, 12 km southwest from its city center , and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf....

  • Syros
    Syros , or Siros or Syra is a Greek island in the Cyclades, in the Aegean Sea. It is located south-east of Athens. The area of the island is . The largest towns are Ermoupoli, Ano Syros, and Vari. Ermoupoli is the capital of the island and the Cyclades...

External links

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