Referring to a “miraculous rebirth,” US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt on Wednesday hailed the reopening of the Neorion Shipyard on the Aegean island of Syros, saying the investment by US company Onex Syros Shipyards has created nearly 600 jobs.
He also also expressed hope that the Neorion Shipyard will be the first of many American investments in the Greek maritime sector, “which we view as a priority for strategic reasons.”
Pyatt, who addressed the “grand reopening,” said that the investment by Onex Syros Shipyards, which is owned by Greek American Panos Xenokostas, had nearly tripled the workforce from five years ago, noting that this demonstrated “what you get with a US investment: hiring locally, environmental consciousness, and support for the local community.”
“The US benefits greatly from working with Greece and its important ports,” Pyatt said, referring to the “long-standing relationships” at Crete’s Souda Bay and the increased use by the US of Alexandroupoli port in northern Greece under the expanded Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement between the two countries.
It was also encouraging, he said, that US investors “are looking at privatizations in Alexandroupoli, Kavala and Volos.”
“We hope that Onex Shipyards will be allowed to replicate its success on a much larger scale in Elefsina,” he added.
Both Pyatt and Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, who was also present, said the Onex investment on Syros marks the start of a new era in Greek-American economic cooperation.
The event on Syros came after the completion of the first stage of the investment Onex had to make according to the Neorion streamlining plan and the payment of dues to workers and suppliers, adding up to 18 million euros.