Flashback

Setting up

Since its establishment by Law 191 on September 30, 1936, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping has developed a record of significant activity as official advisor to the government on shipping issues, always striving for the protection and promotion of the interests of Greek shipping industry. Through the years, the problems of the various sectors of the national merchant fleet have been the subject of thorough study, and the opinion of HCS to the Administration has always been objective and above individual interests.
Going back to the Chamber’s history through the volumes of its meetings’ minutes, one comes across to testimonies of events that have marked or influenced the ascending course of Greek shipping to the top of the world shipping league.

 

1st Period

Since its establishment by Law 191 on September 30, 1936, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping has developed a record of significant activity as official advisor to the government on shipping issues, always striving for the protection and promotion of the interests of Greek shipping industry. Through the years, the problems of the various sectors of the national merchant fleet have been the subject of thorough study, and the opinion of HCS to the Administration has always been objective and above individual interests.
Going back to the Chamber’s history through the volumes of its meetings’ minutes, one comes across to testimonies of events that have marked or influenced the ascending course of Greek shipping to the top of the world shipping league.

 

2nd Period

The Chamber convened its first general assembly on March 18, 1937, on the premises of the Piraeus Association with the participation of 83 members. The assembly approved the rules of association and elected George Embiricos as President, and Emmanuel Michalinos and Panagis Yannoulatos as Vice Presidents. At the time, the Chamber housed its services in a leased building at the Korai square and was host to Bureau of Shipping Committee on Balkan Understanding. The lawyer George Daniolos was hired as legal advisor.
The issues that the Council dealt with in its first year of operation included a feasibility study on the creation of a marine insurance organisation with shipowners’ funds and the participation of the National Bank.
At that time, the Greek merchant fleet numbered 599 steamers aggregating 1.8 million gt, and 714 sailing ships of 55.5 thousand gt.
The reduced competitiveness of the Greek cargo ships vis-a-vis foreign flag ship was a major problem the national shipowning community was facing in that period. This was owing to “the unsuitability (of Greek ships) due to age for the carriage of valuable or perishable cargoes”, as well as, to “the exclusion of the Greek flag by the importing states which prefer to use their own ship, forcing in this way the Greek ships to quote bottom rates”.
No assistance by the state was available because “the size of the cargo fleet is disproportionately larger than the national need for sea transport services, and as a consequence the Greek state is unable to implement any flag protection policy, like other countries do”. As a result, “the Greek ship found itself vying for cargoes with heavily subsidised competitors and, inevitably, it was forced out of the market”.
The foundation of the Chamber coincided with the creation of the Ministry of Mercantile Marine, and the appointment of the Piraeus lawyer Defkalion Rediadis as the first shipping minister.
The Annual Report of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping for the period 1939-1940 describes the climate prevailing in the eve of the Second World War as follows:
“The entire world is being one step away from war and a single sparkle is enough to unleash the tremendous powers of evil that lie dormant. These abnormal circumstances are having a strong effect on the international economic relations which are vulnerable to politics. Adversely affected by this abnormality is shipping as being the prime instrument of world economic relations”.
The crisis brought about additional problems to the Greek fleet and a large number of its units were laid up. The insurance cost rose significantly, while, there were cases where crews refused to carry out their duties. The latter attitude was attributable to “either the fear overwhelming the crews based on rumours about arms of tremendous destructive power being likely to be used in the impending war, or because they (the crews) deemed the time was appropriate for pushing ahead with the highest possible demands”. The intervention of the government through the introduction of war bonuses for crews, and heavy penalties for disobedience in time of duty on the other hand, sorted out the problem. Also, a compensation fund to cover crew accidents in war time, on top of the owners’ P&I insurance, was set up.
On the other hand, the state found itself in need to ask for the owners’ extra financial contribution to which “the positive response of the shipowning community, fully conscious of its patriotic duty, was unanimous”. At the same time, there was requisition of a number of ships to ensure continuous supply of the country with food and materials.
That period saw increased sales of Greek vessels since the second-hand prices were kept high as a result of the British government’s prohibition of selling nationally owned ships to foreigners.
The Chamber continued to strive for the industry’s welfare even during those dismal days. Giving an account of the Chamber’s activities at the Council meeting of March 22, 1940, Nikolaos G. Livanos who a year earlier was elected President, said: “Rising above individual considerations, we briefed the Administration on the accurate picture of the situation in shipping and sought state assistance where this was possible to be given. Unfortunately, we did not deal with the pleasant things like distributing state aid to membership, which is the privilege of other (foreign) organisations. The small and poor Greece is not in a position for such luxury to its shipping”.
The same meeting also heard Loucas Nomicos touching for the first time on the arbitration issue: “Along with its other activities, the chamber should undertake the resolution of shipping disputes, because as the case is today, the hearing of such disputes by the civil courts is costly and time consuming. What’s more, it often leads to unfair ruling as the judges are lacking the insight knowledge to hear such specialised cases”. The Chamber’s legal advisors then were given the mandate to draw up the rules for carrying out arbitration under the HCS auspices. Nevertheless, the war broke out in the meantime and these rules came into force much later, in 1948, when they were made part of the national legislation.
For the survival and development of the Greek shipping industry during the troubled period of the Second World War, the Chamber of Shipping advised its members to strengthen their virtues and advantages and eliminate their shortcomings. The list of virtues and advantages included: “long shipping tradition, adaptability to the frequently changing shipping environment, dedication to the profession, availability of quality seafarers with good seamanship and a sound sense of duty”. The major shortcomings referred to the shortage of funds for fleet renewal and to lack of co-operation spirit among Greek owners: “The fact that the quality of fleet is the worst of all flags is due, to a large extent, to the individual ambition of each Greek to become owner by acquiring any ship, no matter its condition, at a low price, instead of teaming up with other colleagues for the creation of a viable and strong enterprise”.
The Greek shipping suffered heavy casualties from the war. As a result of attacks of German submarines to innocent merchant ships, more than 2,000 national seafarers lost their lives and about 2,500 became invalid for life from injuries. The war cost the fleet two thirds of its strength. Thus, when the war ended, the Greek merchant fleet numbered only 154 ships totalling 532,000 gt.

 

3rd Period

The Chamber convened its first general assembly on March 18, 1937, on the premises of the Piraeus Association with the participation of 83 members. The assembly approved the rules of association and elected George Embiricos as President, and Emmanuel Michalinos and Panagis Yannoulatos as Vice Presidents. At the time, the Chamber housed its services in a leased building at the Korai square and was host to Bureau of Shipping Committee on Balkan Understanding. The lawyer George Daniolos was hired as legal advisor.
The issues that the Council dealt with in its first year of operation included a feasibility study on the creation of a marine insurance organisation with shipowners’ funds and the participation of the National Bank.
At that time, the Greek merchant fleet numbered 599 steamers aggregating 1.8 million gt, and 714 sailing ships of 55.5 thousand gt.
The reduced competitiveness of the Greek cargo ships vis-a-vis foreign flag ship was a major problem the national shipowning community was facing in that period. This was owing to “the unsuitability (of Greek ships) due to age for the carriage of valuable or perishable cargoes”, as well as, to “the exclusion of the Greek flag by the importing states which prefer to use their own ship, forcing in this way the Greek ships to quote bottom rates”.
No assistance by the state was available because “the size of the cargo fleet is disproportionately larger than the national need for sea transport services, and as a consequence the Greek state is unable to implement any flag protection policy, like other countries do”. As a result, “the Greek ship found itself vying for cargoes with heavily subsidised competitors and, inevitably, it was forced out of the market”.
The foundation of the Chamber coincided with the creation of the Ministry of Mercantile Marine, and the appointment of the Piraeus lawyer Defkalion Rediadis as the first shipping minister.
The Annual Report of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping for the period 1939-1940 describes the climate prevailing in the eve of the Second World War as follows:
“The entire world is being one step away from war and a single sparkle is enough to unleash the tremendous powers of evil that lie dormant. These abnormal circumstances are having a strong effect on the international economic relations which are vulnerable to politics. Adversely affected by this abnormality is shipping as being the prime instrument of world economic relations”.
The crisis brought about additional problems to the Greek fleet and a large number of its units were laid up. The insurance cost rose significantly, while, there were cases where crews refused to carry out their duties. The latter attitude was attributable to “either the fear overwhelming the crews based on rumours about arms of tremendous destructive power being likely to be used in the impending war, or because they (the crews) deemed the time was appropriate for pushing ahead with the highest possible demands”. The intervention of the government through the introduction of war bonuses for crews, and heavy penalties for disobedience in time of duty on the other hand, sorted out the problem. Also, a compensation fund to cover crew accidents in war time, on top of the owners’ P&I insurance, was set up.
On the other hand, the state found itself in need to ask for the owners’ extra financial contribution to which “the positive response of the shipowning community, fully conscious of its patriotic duty, was unanimous”. At the same time, there was requisition of a number of ships to ensure continuous supply of the country with food and materials.
That period saw increased sales of Greek vessels since the second-hand prices were kept high as a result of the British government’s prohibition of selling nationally owned ships to foreigners.
The Chamber continued to strive for the industry’s welfare even during those dismal days. Giving an account of the Chamber’s activities at the Council meeting of March 22, 1940, Nikolaos G. Livanos who a year earlier was elected President, said: “Rising above individual considerations, we briefed the Administration on the accurate picture of the situation in shipping and sought state assistance where this was possible to be given. Unfortunately, we did not deal with the pleasant things like distributing state aid to membership, which is the privilege of other (foreign) organisations. The small and poor Greece is not in a position for such luxury to its shipping”.
The same meeting also heard Loucas Nomicos touching for the first time on the arbitration issue: “Along with its other activities, the chamber should undertake the resolution of shipping disputes, because as the case is today, the hearing of such disputes by the civil courts is costly and time consuming. What’s more, it often leads to unfair ruling as the judges are lacking the insight knowledge to hear such specialised cases”. The Chamber’s legal advisors then were given the mandate to draw up the rules for carrying out arbitration under the HCS auspices. Nevertheless, the war broke out in the meantime and these rules came into force much later, in 1948, when they were made part of the national legislation.
For the survival and development of the Greek shipping industry during the troubled period of the Second World War, the Chamber of Shipping advised its members to strengthen their virtues and advantages and eliminate their shortcomings. The list of virtues and advantages included: “long shipping tradition, adaptability to the frequently changing shipping environment, dedication to the profession, availability of quality seafarers with good seamanship and a sound sense of duty”. The major shortcomings referred to the shortage of funds for fleet renewal and to lack of co-operation spirit among Greek owners: “The fact that the quality of fleet is the worst of all flags is due, to a large extent, to the individual ambition of each Greek to become owner by acquiring any ship, no matter its condition, at a low price, instead of teaming up with other colleagues for the creation of a viable and strong enterprise”.
The Greek shipping suffered heavy casualties from the war. As a result of attacks of German submarines to innocent merchant ships, more than 2,000 national seafarers lost their lives and about 2,500 became invalid for life from injuries. The war cost the fleet two thirds of its strength. Thus, when the war ended, the Greek merchant fleet numbered only 154 ships totalling 532,000 gt.

 

4th Period

The Chamber convened its first general assembly on March 18, 1937, on the premises of the Piraeus Association with the participation of 83 members. The assembly approved the rules of association and elected George Embiricos as President, and Emmanuel Michalinos and Panagis Yannoulatos as Vice Presidents. At the time, the Chamber housed its services in a leased building at the Korai square and was host to Bureau of Shipping Committee on Balkan Understanding. The lawyer George Daniolos was hired as legal advisor.
The issues that the Council dealt with in its first year of operation included a feasibility study on the creation of a marine insurance organisation with shipowners’ funds and the participation of the National Bank.
At that time, the Greek merchant fleet numbered 599 steamers aggregating 1.8 million gt, and 714 sailing ships of 55.5 thousand gt.
The reduced competitiveness of the Greek cargo ships vis-a-vis foreign flag ship was a major problem the national shipowning community was facing in that period. This was owing to “the unsuitability (of Greek ships) due to age for the carriage of valuable or perishable cargoes”, as well as, to “the exclusion of the Greek flag by the importing states which prefer to use their own ship, forcing in this way the Greek ships to quote bottom rates”.
No assistance by the state was available because “the size of the cargo fleet is disproportionately larger than the national need for sea transport services, and as a consequence the Greek state is unable to implement any flag protection policy, like other countries do”. As a result, “the Greek ship found itself vying for cargoes with heavily subsidised competitors and, inevitably, it was forced out of the market”.
The foundation of the Chamber coincided with the creation of the Ministry of Mercantile Marine, and the appointment of the Piraeus lawyer Defkalion Rediadis as the first shipping minister.
The Annual Report of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping for the period 1939-1940 describes the climate prevailing in the eve of the Second World War as follows:
“The entire world is being one step away from war and a single sparkle is enough to unleash the tremendous powers of evil that lie dormant. These abnormal circumstances are having a strong effect on the international economic relations which are vulnerable to politics. Adversely affected by this abnormality is shipping as being the prime instrument of world economic relations”.
The crisis brought about additional problems to the Greek fleet and a large number of its units were laid up. The insurance cost rose significantly, while, there were cases where crews refused to carry out their duties. The latter attitude was attributable to “either the fear overwhelming the crews based on rumours about arms of tremendous destructive power being likely to be used in the impending war, or because they (the crews) deemed the time was appropriate for pushing ahead with the highest possible demands”. The intervention of the government through the introduction of war bonuses for crews, and heavy penalties for disobedience in time of duty on the other hand, sorted out the problem. Also, a compensation fund to cover crew accidents in war time, on top of the owners’ P&I insurance, was set up.
On the other hand, the state found itself in need to ask for the owners’ extra financial contribution to which “the positive response of the shipowning community, fully conscious of its patriotic duty, was unanimous”. At the same time, there was requisition of a number of ships to ensure continuous supply of the country with food and materials.
That period saw increased sales of Greek vessels since the second-hand prices were kept high as a result of the British government’s prohibition of selling nationally owned ships to foreigners.
The Chamber continued to strive for the industry’s welfare even during those dismal days. Giving an account of the Chamber’s activities at the Council meeting of March 22, 1940, Nikolaos G. Livanos who a year earlier was elected President, said: “Rising above individual considerations, we briefed the Administration on the accurate picture of the situation in shipping and sought state assistance where this was possible to be given. Unfortunately, we did not deal with the pleasant things like distributing state aid to membership, which is the privilege of other (foreign) organisations. The small and poor Greece is not in a position for such luxury to its shipping”.
The same meeting also heard Loucas Nomicos touching for the first time on the arbitration issue: “Along with its other activities, the chamber should undertake the resolution of shipping disputes, because as the case is today, the hearing of such disputes by the civil courts is costly and time consuming. What’s more, it often leads to unfair ruling as the judges are lacking the insight knowledge to hear such specialised cases”. The Chamber’s legal advisors then were given the mandate to draw up the rules for carrying out arbitration under the HCS auspices. Nevertheless, the war broke out in the meantime and these rules came into force much later, in 1948, when they were made part of the national legislation.
For the survival and development of the Greek shipping industry during the troubled period of the Second World War, the Chamber of Shipping advised its members to strengthen their virtues and advantages and eliminate their shortcomings. The list of virtues and advantages included: “long shipping tradition, adaptability to the frequently changing shipping environment, dedication to the profession, availability of quality seafarers with good seamanship and a sound sense of duty”. The major shortcomings referred to the shortage of funds for fleet renewal and to lack of co-operation spirit among Greek owners: “The fact that the quality of fleet is the worst of all flags is due, to a large extent, to the individual ambition of each Greek to become owner by acquiring any ship, no matter its condition, at a low price, instead of teaming up with other colleagues for the creation of a viable and strong enterprise”.
The Greek shipping suffered heavy casualties from the war. As a result of attacks of German submarines to innocent merchant ships, more than 2,000 national seafarers lost their lives and about 2,500 became invalid for life from injuries. The war cost the fleet two thirds of its strength. Thus, when the war ended, the Greek merchant fleet numbered only 154 ships totalling 532,000 gt.

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