Shipowner Konstantakopoulos dies at 76

Vassilis Konstantakopoulos, one of Greece?s best-known shipowners and the man behind one of the country?s biggest tourist resorts, Costa Navarino in the Peloponnese, has died at the age of 76.

Konstantakopoulos, also known as ?Kapetan? (Captain) Vassilis, had been fighting cancer.

After spending two decades as a seaman and captain in merchant shipping, Konstantakopoulos established the Costamare Shipping Company in 1974. Today it has a fleet of 46 Greek-flagged ships, making it the largest independent cargo fleet in the world, according to the Athens News Agency.

The shipowner was involved in a number of other organizations and charity projects. He saw a life?s dream fulfilled when the Costa Navarino resort opened last May. Konstantakopoulos and his family had spent more than 25 years buying land in the Peloponnese so the complex could be constructed. The cost of the whole project exceeded 1 billion euros.

?This unit was not built just so we could make money,? he told Skai Radio in a recent interview. ?It took 28 years to buy all this land. Whatever land I bought, I bought there, I don?t own any other land. If I?d wanted to make money, I would have invested in other things.?

The president of the Athens-Attica Hotels Association, Giorgos Tsakiris, said Konstantakopoulos was a ?charismatic, special person with great vision.?

Konstantakopoulos’s funeral will take place on Thursday.