The Greek Minister Of Mercantile Marine Announces Five Support Measures For The Island Of Samothrace
A ruined port, a problematic ferry operator with a dark past and bad weather conditions have revealed problems of decades in the Samothrace connection service, which have intensified in recent years.
And despite the fact that the issue of Samothrace’s precarious ferry connection has been known since 2017, an early elected government is now called to deal with both the short-term problem as well as the long-term solution of the remote Greek island services and the country’s poor port infrastructure.
It is noted that during the recent government meeting which was held in Athens it was decided:
- The assurance of the regular scheduled ferry connection of the island with Alexandroupolis until 31 October 2019, when the current convention with Saos Ferries expires.
- The framework and the contracts designed for ferry services to remote Greek islands (known as ‘Agones Grammes’), will be improved and ensure that routes will be carried out with better ships and that replacement vessels will be available.
- The Ministry of Mercantile Marine will allocate funds for the immediate maintenance and cleaning of the ports of Kamariotissa and Thermi, as well as for their modernization and upgrading. Maintenance and cleaning works at the bottom of the Kamariotissa port have not taken place since 1995.
- The government will also release funds to the tune of 4,5 million euros for flood protection infrastructure and road maintenance works on the island.
- The aim to boost the island’s image and attract more tourists to the island, the government will launch –for that purpose- a new ferry service between Samothrace, Alexandroupolis and Lemnos. In addition, considering that one third of Samothrace’s visitors are from Romania, the Tourism Ministry and the Greek National Tourism Organization office in Bucharest will soon launch actions to attract more visitors from the Romanian market.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Mercantile Marine has requested explanations from Saos Ferries regarding the exact causes of the disruption that left tourists stranded on the island for nine days.
For now, the Alexandroupolis – Samothrace run is temporarily being carried out by the HSC ANDROS JET of Seajets and ZEFYROS of Saos Ferries. But still the Hellenic Ministry expects to see the progress tests results on the SAOS II performance, which will allow her to return back in service. Otherwise, Seajets will be called upon to continue to serve the line.
In any case, in two and a half months, when the public service contract with SAOS Ferries expires, a more reliable connection will be sought –by the Ministry- in order to solve the ferry problem of Samothrace for good.
Source and photo: KATHIMERINI newspaper