Ships to remain in port as seamen go on strike

Coastal ferries and passenger ships will remain docked today due to a 24-hour strike by the Panhellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO), which is calling for its members jobs to be safeguarded, as well as the strict adherence to the law for 10 months of employment per year and the creation of an independent unemployment fund for seamen. Apostolos Ventouris, the president of the Association of Greek Coastal Shipping Companies, called on PNO yesterday to cancel the strike and set up a joint committee to discuss all open issues. ‘Every piece of industrial action is like a bullet aimed at coastal shipping,’ he stated. He asked for the liberalization of the shipping register and revealed that there are many small coastal shipping firms who have already gone bankrupt but that this has not been announced publically as banks are afraid of losing their money. Company officials estimate that this year will be one of the worst ever for the sector, which is set to see losses of over 200 million euros.