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Dimitris C. Mitsatsos, brief farewell

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Dimitris C. Mitsatsos

Dimitris C. Mitsatsos, Brief farewell

Almost 38 years have gone by since the late George P. Livanos, the man who conceived the idea of HELMEPA, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association, entrusted me with the organization of the Secretariat and with implementing the Inaugural Declaration of 1982 “To Save the Seas”.

I was privileged, too, to enjoy the trust of the Boards that followed Mr Livanos’ Chairmanship – chaired by Basil Ph. Papachristidis, Capt. John Chalas, Capt. Vassillis C. Constantakopoulos, Peter G. Livanos, Nicos P. Tsakos, Nicky Pappadakis, John Coustas and George Gratsos.

During the years since the establishment of HELMEPA, my colleagues and I have worked to honour the trust placed in us. Throughout my time at HELMEPA, I have been at the service of the organization’s Board of Directors. The current Board has decided by majority vote, at its recent meeting, that Ι step down as Director General of the association.

I am proud of the work that we have done at HELMEPA up to date. Under successive Boards, we were empowered to work with our volunteer members to increasing the industry’s sensitivity to the marine environment

Beyond Greece’s shores, we tried to convince all stakeholders of the significance of the human element for IMO’s message “Safe Ships in Clean Seas” to become a reality. Transparency, consistency and a meticulously non-profit operation built the credibility of HELMEPA and gave it a place of respect within world shipping. Moral and tangible support for this unique and groundbreaking voluntary initiative of Greek seafarers and shipowners has come from many quarters.

Bidding you farewell today, I wish to take the opportunity to thank the Member Principals of HELMEPA and their executives, liaisons and mariners, the Greek and foreign Honorary Members, the leadership and officers of the Hellenic Coast Guard and Hellenic Navy during all these years, the instructors of our refresher training programs and the members of the Training Committee.

I salute the thousands of young men and women who passed through HELMEPA Junior as well as their volunteer teachers.

The shipping press and other media deserve thanks for their recognition of HELMEPA and for covering our activities, helping to bring our efforts to wider attention. And of course the Lloyd’s List and Seatrade for projecting HELMEPA internationally from the very start.

The leadership and staff of IMO Secretariat, UNEP/MAP, the U.S. Coast Guard and Australian Maritime Safety Authority, who honored us with their trust up until today.

Projecting the need for synergies with other national maritime communities and the non-profit spirit of HELMEPA’s Inaugural Declaration, we helped the set up of 6 more MEPAs, all of them today members of INTERMEPA, which we co-founded. Bidding farewell to my colleagues at these sister associations, I thank them for their cooperation and friendship.

I wish to also thank the Founder of POSIDONIA SA, Themis Vokos and his associates who never ceased to project HELMEPA internationally as well as the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club (H.O.R.C) for including us in international sailing regattas. Also, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, who by supporting our projects contributes to the motivation of several sectors in Greece and now in Cyprus. Furhermore, the global Seatrade Awards, the Lloyd’s List Greek Shipping Awards and others for their cooperation.

Most importantly, I wish to recognize the staff of HELMEPA’s Secretariat, some of whom have worked with me more than 15 years. Here I would especially like to mention Stavros Georgiadis, the creator of HELMEPA’s “Seagull” and a close associate since the beginning and Christiana Prekezes, who, even though an American, chose to devote herself to HELMEPA’s mandate for the past 32 years. I thank you all.

Taking pride in HELMEPA’s achievements to date, it is with satisfaction that I leave HELMEPA today in a healthy financial state that will set it on the future road.

I wish everyone health and stamina and ask you to stand by HELMEPA so that it can continue to rally both the maritime community and the wider public to its noble goal: “To Save the Seas”.

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