Shipowner on hunger strike outside ministry

Shipowner on hunger strike outside ministry

The owner of a ferry company has been on hunger strike this week, waiting outside Shipping Minister Panayiotis Kouroublis’s office for a license to serve a route linking the Attica port of Rafina with Crete.

Giorgos Stefanou is protesting that although his company, Golden Star Ferries, has submitted a full set of documents to receive the necessary license to run a service linking Rafina with several islands in the Cyclades and Iraklio on Crete, Kouroublis will not approve it.

Speaking on Skai Radio on Wednesday, Stefanou dismissed reports he had  missed the application deadline, insisting that even though the Coastal Shipping Transport Council and Deputy Minister Nektarios Santorinios have approved the routes, Kouroublis will neither sign the license nor meet with him. He went on to claim the minister’s refusal to grant him the license is due to pressure from rival ferry companies.

Ministry sources say Golden Star’s demands would have an effect on other companies already licensed to serve those ports, and that island mayors and others have sent letters explaining that saturated ports such as Naxos and Santorini cannot take any additional traffic, particularly at the times that Golden Star is asking for. Rival companies Hellenic Seaways and Seajets have also sent letters to the ministry highlighting saturated ports.

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