Union of Greek Shipowners president Melina Travlou made three things very clear during her emblematic press conference in the context of the international exhibition “Posidonia 2022”: a) Greek shipping is in favor of divestment from carbon “yesterday”, b) the shipping industry is a strategic partner of countries and c) the EU must strengthen the competitiveness of European shipping.

In her first press conference as the new president of the UGS, Ms. Travlou clarified the Union’s positions on all issues while energetically outlining the initiatives she is going to take with the aim of highlighting the great importance of shipping in the economic development of peoples, the importance of which is not as recognized as it should be

Sanctions against Russia

Answering an OT question concerning Greek shipping and how it stands vis-à-vis the sanctions against Russia, Ms. Travlou clearly condemned “any violent act” such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, she refused to comment further on a matter that is legal as Greek shipping has done nothing illegal, nor has it broken any embargo, but is observing and following the sanctions.

Greek tankers in Iran

On the issue of Greek tankers illegally detained in Iran, Ms. Travlou noted that the Greek government is taking the appropriate steps to overcome the whole issue, while once again condemning this act of “piracy”. In relation to this Ms. Travlou stated that her first priority is to defend the interests of Greek-owned shipping as a geopolitical advantage of Greece and Europe.

The goal of zero emissions

Ms. Travlou made clear that the Union’s stance on de-carbonification is that this should have happened “yesterday”, noting that in fact shipowner are quick to invets in new vessels as technology improves, and noted that the energy producers should shoulder the burden they have in coming up with new fuels, in collaboration with engine manufacturers. Ms Travlou did, however, note that European regulations, being regional rather than global, only serve to undermine the competitiveness of European shipping itself, which is almost identical with Greek shipping, as the latter constitutes 50% of the European merchant marine fleet.

Greek sailors

Ms. Travlou also referred to the issue of Greek sailors, pointing out that Greek mariners are not decreasing and that there is no issue of unemployment in the maritime profession, but also that their numbers are not increasing consistently with the growing fleet number of it is something that concerns us and that merchant marine academies and the naval education system must be updated.

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