Ferry worries are increasing

The newly built Blue Star Patmos ferry took to the Aegean Sea this week, linking Piraeus with the ports of Chios and Mytilene and offering a rare bright spot amid the otherwise rather dismal firmament of local coastal shipping.

Traffic this summer is considerably reduced due to the general financial crisis, with ferries carrying 15 percent fewer passengers and 25 percent fewer vehicles than last year, according to sector experts? estimates.

Coastal shipping sources say the market is pinning its few remaining hopes for a rebound on the 50 days left until the end of August, the period when traffic is expected to peak.

Otherwise, they warn, a great number of ships will be forced to remain permanently docked as of September or be sold abroad.

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