On Monday, 24 November, in a setting entrenched in rich history, indeed in what is a symbol of the evolution of Greek shipping, aboard the SS HELLAS Liberty, and more specifically, in the “Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos Hall”, HELMEPA presented its contemporary training initiatives to the broader shipping community. Among those who honored the event with their presence were the Minister of Shipping and the Aegean, Mr. M. Varvitsiotis, accompanied by the Leadership of the Hellenic Coast Guard, the up until just recently European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Ms M. Damanaki, the Ambassador to the Kingdom of Norway in Greece, Mr S. Larsen, the Administrative Attaché to the Embassy of Mexico in Greece, Ms R.M. Betancourt-Moreno, the President of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, Mr. G. Gratsos, the President of the Hellenic Shortsea Shipowners Association, Mr. Ch. Simantonis, members of HELMEPA’s Board of Directors, Directors and staff of HELMEPA member-companies and organizations, as well as stakeholder representatives and members of the maritime Press.
Welcoming the invited guests, HELMEPA Chairman, Dr J. Coustas, referred to the contribution of HELMEPA’s refresher training towards the preservation of quality characteristics of Greek shipping. With the dawn of the new e-learning program, prepared in collaboration with the Associate Corporate member, DYNAMARINe, HELMEPA proceeds in unison alongside contemporary technologies, for the benefit of its members. In this way, it equips its members with the capacity to take advantage of modern learning tools in their efforts regarding the education of their workforce. In concluding, the Chairman thanked DYNAMARINe for its generous involvement as well as the Training Committee and all companies and organizations for their input.
Addressing the event, the Minister of Shipping and the Aegean, Mr. M. Varvitsiotis, praised HELMEPA’s contribution and historical evolution, highlighting the fact that the Association is “the axis which brought Greek shipping into the White Paper of the recognized maritime nations, and without which we would have been delayed”. In speaking of the need for us all to protect our environment, the Minister underlined that “we must all exploit internationally recognized organizations such as HELMEPA to bolster the protection of the marine environment and I look forward to a closer cooperation with the Association”.
In her brief address, Ms Damanaki congratulated HELMEPA on its work and mentioned the importance of these efforts in continuous development and improvement, which constitutes an integral element of all “champions”, an example of which is Greek shipping.
Dr. S. Perissakis of DYNAMARINe went on to present the e-learning program, which is now available to all HELMEPA members and includes presentations in English on topics pertinent to pollution prevention and safety on board ships. Users also have the ability to test their knowledge and, following the successful completion of a self-assessment quiz, to then be issued with a Certificate of Achievement by HELMEPA.
In the presentation that followed, HELMEPA Executive Coordinator, Ms C. Prekezes, took the audience through the new Refresher Training Program for 2015, which is comprised of 5 categories of seminar. They are Safety First, Pollution Prevention, Marine Environmental Awareness, Lessons Learnt and Experience Sharing and Navigational Procedures. The topics were selected in close consultation with HELMEPA’s Training Committee and were based on the major regulatory developments at IMO, the suggestions made by member-companies and participants of programs past, as well as on the results of ships’ inspections carried out in ports.
The seminar lecturers are expert staff from 5 HELMEPA member classification societies and 7 HELMEPA member-companies: American Bureau of Shipping, Andriaki Shipping Co. Ltd., Bureau Veritas, Chandris (Hellas) Inc., Cleopatra Shipping Agency Ltd., Costamare Shipping Company S.A., Danaos Shipping Co. Ltd., DNV GL, Euronav Shipmanagement (Hellas) Ltd., Hellenic Lloyd’s S.A., Rina Hellas and Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement (“TCM”) S.A., the Laboratory for Maritime Transport, School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens, Chemical Engineer-Marine Chemist, Mr. K. Karantzis, as well as 5 scientific HELMEPA staff members.
The event concluded with a presentation delivered by HELMEPA Director General, Mr D. Mitsatsos during which he gave a brief overview of the benefits enjoyed by HELMEPA members. Indeed, he emphasized the international recognition members gain as quality shipping entities. They demonstrate their Corporate Social Responsibility through their support of environmental programs and awareness-raising initiatives that HELMEPA offers with the aim of nurturing the environmental consciousness of thousands of children as well as that of the wider Greek society.
In recognition of the kind hospitality of the event, Mr Mitsatsos presented Captain Vaggelis Kouzilos, representative of the “Friends of the SS HELLAS LIBERTY”, with the Flag of HELMEPA so that it may fly on the mast of this historical floating museum of the Greek maritime family.