Government heralds ‘cruise liner center’ at Piraeus

The Environment Ministry Thursday approved the environmental conditions for the creation of three new berths at the country’s main port of Piraeus, which, it is hoped, will accommodate a new generation of large cruise liners.

The project was devised in 2011 as part of plans to boost the country’s crucial tourism sector and now, with the license secured, the government is to issue a tender for the construction of the three berths which has been budgeted at 120 million euros.

According to revised environmental regulations, signed by Environment Minister Yiannis Maniatis Thursday, the “cruise liner center” will include a passenger terminal and parking lot in addition to the three berths. Future plans include a connection to the Athens tramline, which currently terminates at Neo Faliro but is to be extended to Piraeus. Another three berths are to be added eventually, meaning that the port will be able to accommodate six cruise liners in excess of 300 meters in length.

Maniatis said developing the cruise liner center at Piraeus was a top priority. “The orders of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras are for this project to progress quickly so that Piraeus can become an even more attractive prospect for the attraction of marine and cruise tourism,” Maniatis said.

According to the head of Piraeus Port Authority, Giorgos Anomeritis, the initiative will help establish Piraeus as “the chief hub for cruise ships in the eastern Aegean.”

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