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Greece: House flags of shipping companies

Last modified: 2015-08-10 by ivan sache
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A short presentation of the Greek maritime tradition

Quoting Nikos Vatopoulos, The history of Greece - written at sea (Kathimerini, 2002):

The extraordinary success of Greek merchant shipping is recounted in Ploto, published by the Greek Literary and Historical Archive (ELIA), a moving and aesthetically pleasing investigation into family and local historical archives. Ploto - named after one of the Nereids - documents Greek ship captains and owners from 1770 to World War II. The book, which includes texts by Tzelina Harlafti, Manos Haritatos and Eleni Beneki, represents the culmination of a six-year research project which ELIA conducted under the sponsorship of the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation. Another product of the same project was the publication Pontoporeia, which documented the Greek-owned merchant fleet. The latter was the starting point, the data bank which generated Ploto, and which will eventually give life to Efpombi, recording the performance of shipowning families since 1950.
Ploto is crammed with useful information and fine photographs highlighting people's connection with the sea, based on the seagoing families of each region. The result is something like a family atlas of the Greek contribution to global shipping and transport. It is a touching appraisal of legendary maritime families, each of which quietly and painstakingly built up a substantial part of the nation's wealth. As the researchers explain, Ploto is more than a biographical dictionary, and it fits in with a growing trend toward studying enterprises. Shipping, with its emphasis on family capitalism rather than an impersonal global capitalism that separates ownership from management, retains certain kinds of commercial and economic relations which go back more than 200 years.

Greek merchant shipping was born in the 18th century and developed rapidly in the following century when the growth of material wealth created new markets. Before the creation of an independent Greek state, Greek mariners worked a single expanse of water that stretched from the Black Sea to the North Sea and the Mediterranean, dotted with Greek-owned sailing ships. It could be said that the overtures made by Greek sailors and captains to the West in the 1770s were a motive force in strengthening the ties of Greeks with European ways and spreading ideas of equality before the law and social justice.
The rapid progress of Greek shipping helped contribute to the national idea. Later on, in the 20th century, it contributed in large measure to national pride and economic development in Greece. Even the mansions in many Greek harbors, now a part of the national heritage, were contributed to by mariners who had encountered the prosperity of the West.
Straddling the north-south and east-west sea routes, Greeks occupied a privileged position from 1850 onward, when the Ottoman Empire was disintegrating and the era of free trade and laissez-faire capitalism was emerging. The transition from sail to steam, from 1880 on, furnished another opportunity for Greek trade to go global.

Some of the shipping families whose international activities helped build the national economy:
Athanassoulis, Ambatielos, Vallianos, Lykiardopoulos, Metaxas, Potamianos, Svoronos, Fokas (Cephalonia).
Vlassopoulos, Theofilatos, Stathatos (Ithaca).
Parapetrou, Tsipouras (Galaxidi).
Valmas, Goulandris, Embirikos, Kambanis, Kydonieios, Palaiokrassas, Polemis, Hadoulis (Andros).
Damoulakis, Malandrakis, Syrmalienos (Milos).
Ambanopoulos, Dracopoulos, Mavrogenis, Batis (Mikonos).
Alafouzos, Dakoronoias, Zannos, Manolessos, Nomikos, Sarris, Sigalas (Thira).
Vernicos (Sifnos).
Vafiadakis, Kalvokoresis, Mavrogordatos, Negropontis, Foustanos (Syros).
Dromokaitis, Rallis, Rodokanakis, Skaramangas, Skylitsis, Andreadis, Georgantis, Carras, Livanos, Los, Fafalios, Chandris (Chios).
Laimos, Pateras, Francou, Hadzipateras (Oinousses).
Varvakis, Kalafatis, Kalimeris, Kotzias, Filinis, Hadzikyriakos (Psara).
Kiourtzis, Sifnaios (Lesbos).
Inglesis (Samos).
Arvanitidis, Zarifis, Kavounidis, Sideridis, Foscolos-Mangos (Istanbul-Dardanelles).
Eusthathiou, Papayiannis, Onassis (Smyrnia and Asia Minor).
Emiris, Kouloukountis, Mavroleon, Nicolaou, Hadzilias (Patmos).
Roussos (Leros).
Valsamakis, Garyfalos, Rembakis, Siskos (Skopelos).
Yiakoumis, Damaskos, Kokkinos, Koumbis, Mataronas (Skiathos).
Miaoulis, Koulouras, Kountouriotis, Kriezis, Sachtouris, Tombazis, Tsamados (Hydra).
Anargyris, Goudis, Koutsis, Lazaros-Orlof, Mexis, Botasis (Spetses).
Hadzipanayioti-Politis (Peloponnese).
Arvanitis, Dedousis, Kammenos, Katsoulis, Bakogiorgis, Economou, Kallimanopoulos, Niarchos (Piraeus).

Ivan Sache, 28 December 2005

Index of Greek shipping companies

This list is not a comprehensive list of Belgian shipping companies but only an index of those companies, not necessarily still in business, for which information on their flag is available.

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