Islands will not be isolated

All Greek islands will be covered by existing ferry services this year, and steps will be taken to ensure the same after December 31, when the coastal shipping market is to be deregulated, the government said yesterday. Ferry companies seeking licenses for next year have failed to express an interest in services to 25 of Greece’s smaller islands, in the Dodecanese, the Cyclades and the northeastern Aegean. Up to now, most of these services were state-subsidized. Following a meeting with local authorities, Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis said the government can force ferry firms to carry out routes for reasons of public interest. «In that sense, no island will be left without a ferry service,» he said, adding that the problem will be solved by June 15. The islands include Patmos, Leros, Kalymnos, Symi, Kassos, Karpathos, Astypalaia, Nissyros, Lemnos, Samothrace, Psara, Amorgos, Kimolos, Folegandros and Anafi.

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