Seamen?s action threatens firms, tourism

Coastal shipping crews are threatening to sink Greek tourism in the middle of the summer season as they intend to escalate protest action.

The Panhellenic Seamen?s Federation has said that it will force all ships to stay docked at Greek ports unless Haris Paboukis, alternate development minister of the Merchant Marine, satisfies its demands by the end of July.

The group is demanding a review of the government?s implementation law of the midterm fiscal plan, which foresees a 6-percent reduction in their pensions and subsidies to the Sailors? Pension Fund being reduced by 50 million euros this year and by 100 million euros in 2012.

If the seamen proceed with industrial action from end-July, it could spell the end for several smaller coastal shipping firms that are close to bankruptcy, while leaving most islands without transport links.

?There will also be problems for the bigger companies, due to their high operation costs from the level of fuel prices, and in September they will be forced to withdraw their modern vessels,? industry sources told Kathimerini.