Posidonia – from the point of view of a graduate. By Elena Kritikou, naval architect, graduate of the National Technical University of Athens
There comes a time in life when you feel you have to take a step forward. For many people this time is when they complete their studies and their working life starts.
My own transition to this next level of life coincided with the biggest and most spectacular celebration in the shipping calendar, Posidonia 2012.
I was so excited to attend the great Posidonia exhibition that all other thoughts than being part of the celebration, attempting to absorb the wealth of information and experiencing the variety of the spectacle, vanished from my mind.
I could say that my impressions of the event followed a rather particular pattern.
As I entered Athens Metropolitan Centre, I was totally convinced that I had entered the kingdom of the shipping industry. Every major company was represented in the exhibition. Shipyards, classification societies, security companies, and so on and so on. So many exhibitors, so many visitors.
To be honest, I couldn’t fully enjoy my first day there and that is partly because I was attending Posidonia for the first time, and also because the stands were not organised by theme or by the nationality of the exhibitors. The configuration of the stands was in some kind of disorder, which frustrated me at first.
It was my second visit to the exhibition that eliminated the orientation problem.
After that, for me the exhibition transformed itself into a shipping paradise. As a naval architect, I started examining every stand and admiring all the state-of-the-art technologies that were on show.
Another innovative and praiseworthy factor, especially from the point of view of young engineers, was that Posidonia 2012 was education-oriented, as many interesting seminars, forums and conferences were taking place.
I attended many of them.
Listening carefully to every speaker, it was clear to me that the trend nowadays is to build more eco-friendly ships, as a complement to building more energy-saving and efficient ships.
As I wandered along the corridors, admiring the obvious professionalism of the exhibitors and their fully equipped stands, I couldn’t control a certain feeling of melancholy. I saw that Greece has the enormous honour to be the host of Posidonia, that so many people from all around the world are here, in Greece, to support shipping. Unfortunately, that came as a huge contradiction to the current economic circumstances in Greece and the whole perception of the Greek reality.
I realised that Greek people needed to get their lives and their smile back. Young people should get involved in the shipping industry, become seafarers, engineers, and so on, and learn to be productive, to use those 326, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 gallons of ocean water on earth effectively and with the proper respect.
Undoubtedly, shipping and specifically Greek ship owners are not affected at all, by the Greek economic crisis and that is because shipping is a global business.
It was more than obvious that Greek ship owners are strong leaders and there is no obstacle to their course that cannot be overcome. They have the sharpness of mind and the spirit to deal with every single reef ahead of them and smoothly manoeuvre to overtake it.
To conclude, the most important lesson that my first visit to Posidonia taught me, is that the shipping industry is a very lively and fascinating field of occupation and consists of strong, creative and highly motivated people who inspire support and give an impressive example to the younger generation.