CULTURE

Greek benefactor will be missed

George M. Drakopoulos, who passed away on January 5 this year, was the first man to save floating Greek monuments, using his own funds in the process. Evangelistria, the oldest cable-laying steamboat in the world and the steamship Thalis O Milissios, are both operating as floating museums, open to the public and school visits at the Trocadero Marina in Palaio Faliron (also home to the warship Averof). Born on Myconos, he was the son of shipowner Markos Drakopoulos, whose steamboat Empros sank during the First World War, without its owner ever receiving any kind of compensation. George Drakopoulos studied law at the University of Athens, specializing in maritime law, before traveling to London, where he demanded compensation from the insurance company and got it. His first step was to establish Empros Lines – a company that is still going strong. He established the Maritime Museum of Myconos and was rewarded for his efforts by the Athens Academy in 1987. A member of the board of directors of the Union of Greek Shipowners, he was also vice president of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations. He also became a key figure in the reconstruction of the Athenian trireme Olympias, in collaboration with the Hellenic Navy, the Trireme Trust in London and the Greek Ministry of Culture.