BUSINESS

Interest groups seen as threat to ferry sector

By Nikos Bardounias

Coastal shipping vessels may be forced to abandon their Aegean Sea routes in the coming months due to the dire financial situation ferry companies have found themselves in, the alleged indifference of the state and the attitude of certain ?small, well-organized groups,? warned the head of the coastal shippers? union upon quitting his post on Thursday.

In his letter of resignation, the head of the Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies (SEEN), Apostolos Ventouris, said the sector?s representatives had done all they could to maintain the smooth connection of mainland Greece with the country?s islands. However, Ventouris said in the letter read at Thursday?s SEEN board meeting, ?We have run into the stiff opposition of the competent authorities toward proceeding to any real and radical changes or reforms.?

?Yet is it really the official and orderly state that opposes changes, or certain small, well-organized groups that wish to retain their privileges? My view is that this is certainly due to the few, to some minority groups who wish to hold on to their privileges at any cost, be it social or economic,? thundered Ventouris.

?There is no time to lose, our next meeting with the merchant marine minister will be crucial for the future of coastal shipping,? SEEN?s first vice president, Antonis Agapitos, told Kathimerini.

Online