Ferries fear for future

Coastal shipping companies are in perilous waters, having amassed losses of over 1 billion euros in the last three years (2009-11).

The future for some of them appears bleak as the much-needed boost in traffic they had hoped for during the Easter holidays failed to materialize and passenger figures dropped by at least 50 percent in that period, partly due to a 48-hour strike by seamen on April 11 and 12.

Listed coastal shipping companies ANEK, Minoan, Maritime of Lesvos and Attica Group had losses of 215 million euros between them in 2009, which grew to 345 million in 2010 and totaled 210 million in 2011. Losses were contained last year as many companies profited on shipping people from strife-torn Libya.