Last update:

It is the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association; the pioneering voluntary commitment of Greek seafarers and ship owners to safeguard the seas from ship-generated pollution, undertaken in Piraeus, on June 4, 1982. Under the motto “To Save the Seas”, they have consistently supported their initiative to date.

What is the principal aim of this initiative?

How is this achieved?

read more... >



HELMEPA’s Campaign in Aigio comes to a close

HELMEPA’s “Educational Community and Public Awareness Campaign on the Marine Environment, Shipping and Sciences” in Aigio came to a close with positive impressions. The Campaign, which is supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF), is carried out across 14 cities of Greece between 2014 and 2017. The campaign in Aigio was placed under the auspices of the local Municipality and was implemented in cooperation with the local Municipal Development Enterprise (DIΚΕPΑ).

The Campaign’s environmental Exhibition, which was hosted for 17 days at the “Alekos Megaris” Cultural Center, was visited by 915 pupils and 75 teachers from 11 Primary Schools and 12 Junior High Schools of the wider Aigialeia area and the city of Patras.

As was the case in all the previous towns, at the end of their guided tour of the Εxhibition students completed a questionnaire. The findings in Aigio show that the students have a high level of environmental awareness, 32% of them consider litter on streets and beaches as the most serious environmental problem, 87% of them recycle either at home or at school and have well realized the benefits of recycling. 1 out of 2 students were impressed by the thematic session of the Exhibition titled “Unexplored Ocean”, during which HELMEPA’s scientific staff present recent data on life in the deep oceans and advances in marine science and research. 63% of high school students are interested to learn more about marine scientific professions such as oceanography, biomimetics, underwater archeology and marine biology. Finally, 1 out of 3 high school students are surprised that many people continue to be indifferent about marine environmental pollution, even though it has been proven how valuable it is for our lives!

In the context of HELMEPA’s cooperation with local authorities, students and teachers of the Arsakeio Elementary School of Patras visited the Center for Environmental Education of Kleitoria-Akrata, where they attended the program titled “Getting to know our shores” and were informed by HELMEPA about marine litter.

HELMEPA warmly thanks the Municipality of Aigialeia and DIΚΕPΑ for hosting the Exhibition, the Environmental Education sections of the Directorates for Primary and Secondary Education of Achaia and the Center for Environmental Education of Kleitoria-Akrata for their excellent cooperation as well as the students, teachers and the local community for their warm response to the Campaign.

* Note to the Editors:
Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) helps to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research.


HELMEPA salutes the 'Clean Seas' Campaign of the United Nations

It is with great satisfaction that HELMEPA salutes the launching of the United Nations' marine litter campaign titled "Clean Seas". Officially announced on 23 February at the Economist World Ocean Forum in Bali, the campaign is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and specifically Goal 14.1: "By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution."

Pollution of the marine environment, especially with plastics, has reached alarming levels. It is estimated that 8 million tons of plastic waste reach our seas and oceans every year! Plastics pose a huge threat for the populations of 600 different marine species, which are injured or die as a result of entanglement or by eating them. Considerable is also the economic impact of marine litter on coastal communities due to aesthetic pollution, reduced tourist flows, cleanup costs etc.

The problems associated with this type of pollution have been highlighted since the mid '80s by HELMEPA's campaigns, starring the Association's famous "Seagull" under the motto "No Litter, No Plastics in Seas and on Beaches".

The new UN campaign aims to secure commitments from Governments, as well as private sector enterprises and members of the general public, to reduce plastics. For example, the industry and private businesses can phase out microbeads in personal care and cosmetics products, improve plastic management and commit to plastic re-design, re-use, recycling and recovery. Each and every one of us can change everyday habits, i.e. replace plastic bags with a cloth bag, use a thermos for water and avoid using single-use plastic cups.

In the context of this global effort, HELMEPA will further enhance the information provided to its volunteer Members, 14,000 Greek seafarers, 200 companies and organizations and 400 vessels, on this significant problem. Moreover, it will enrich the environmental awareness provided to 10,000 schoolchildren, who participate annually in the "HELMEPA Junior" and "Cadets" programs and will seek to attract wider participation in the approximately 250 beach and underwater cleanup actions, which the Association coordinates every year with the contribution of volunteers throughout Greece.  

The ‘Seagull’s’ message broadcasted by regional radio stations

Aiming at the dissemination of environmental messages to the wider public throughout the year, HELMEPA embarked upon cooperation with regional radio stations and especially those addressing the youth. Thus, since mid-February, HELMEPA is sending them on a regular basis brief informative spots, which begin with the Seagull’s long-lived motto “No Garbage, No Plastics in Seas and on Beaches”.

The first 6 stations that responded positively are: Top FM 106.4 in Volos, Gavdos 88.8 FM in Gavdos/South Crete, Radio Argos 98.4 and Scream 106.3 in Kastoria and Kozani, Empneusi 107.0 in Syros and Αrcadia 93.8 in Tripoli and the wider region of Arcadia.

Cooperation with the radio stations also includes the regular dissemination of HELMEPA news briefings for the stations’ social media and the organization of knowledge quiz with symbolic gifts awarded to winners.

HELMEPA wholeheartedly thanks the radio stations for broadcasting gratis the messages as part of their social corporate responsibility and invites other stations interested to contribute to this effort to join in so we can enhance the environmental awareness of all of us!


Bridge Simulator Seminar Program

Seminars on HELMEPA’s “NAUTIS Full Mission” Bridge Simulator continue and the schedule is as follows:

9-10/3: HS3 - “Navigating in Highly Congested Waters and Heavy Seas”
13-17/3: HS1 - “Bridge Resource Management”
20-24/3: HS1 - “Bridge Resource Management”
27-31/3: HS1 - “Bridge Resource Management”

Seminar HS1 – “Bridge Resource Management” is approved by the Cyprus Maritime Administration and deck officers who attend it may obtain the official BRM Certificate by applying to the Cypriot Administration.

More information can be found at and to participate you may contact us at tel. +30 210 9343088, +30 210 9341233 and


Memorandum of Cooperation between HELMEPA and RINA HELLAS

On Tuesday 14 February 2017, Dr. George Gratsos, Chairman of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association - HELMEPA and Mr. Spyridon Zolotas, Area Manager Greece and Cyprus, RINA HELLAS, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between the two Organizations, at HELMEPA's offices.

The Memorandum refers to the development of cooperation between the two entities with the aim to enhance skills, competence, training and awareness of the human element in shipping that meets the needs of an efficient, safe, secure and environmentally friendly maritime industry.

To this end and as a first step, the capabilities offered by HELMEPA's Full Mission Bridge Simulator will be utilized in the context of the Competence Management System, a scheme developed by RINA for assessing and continuously improving the technical and non-technical skills of onboard personnel.

Pleasant surprise was for everybody the coincidental visit to HELMEPA's offices during the signing ceremony of Mr. Warwick Norman, Chairman of the Australian Marine Environment Protection Association - AUSMEPA as well as INTERMEPA, who saluted this initiative as one more synergy for the benefit of the human element in shipping.

Following the signing, a brief meeting took place where issues pertaining to the continuous training of merchant marine officers under the current situation and contemporary challenges were discussed.


The Metropolitan College supports HELMEPA

The Metropolitan College, as part of its Maritime School's wider activities, became an Associate Corporate Member of HELMEPA, in support of the latter’s aim to nurture an environmental consciousness in shipping, enhance safety at sea and maintain a clean marine environment.

This honorary cooperation between Metropolitan College and HELMEPA aims, among other, to expand the training opportunities offered to the students of the Maritime School on contemporary issues and to increase the awareness of the College's students on the need to protect the marine environment.



Entries now open for the Seatrade Awards 2017

2017 marks the start of a new chapter for the Seatrade Awards. Whilst continuing to champion the improvement of maritime standards, a number of new award categories will focus on the future, inspired by a rapidly evolving industry, thus providing the perfect opportunity to encourage, identify and reward the innovations with the potential to shape the future of the industry.

So, besides the main categories Safety at Sea, Clean Shipping, Investment in People, Corporate Social Responsibility and Deal of the Year, three new 'intelligent shipping' awards have been announced in the fields of Cyber Security, Digital Technology and Fuel Efficiency.

Entries can be completed and submitted online at this link, until 23 March 2017.

The Seatrade Awards 2017 Ceremony Dinner will take place on Friday 30 June, at the Grosvenor House in London.


HELMEPA Junior members Drawing Contest

As every year, HELMEPA Junior members are invited to participate in the National Drawing Contest of the Program and with their artworks express their creativeness for the protection of the environment. The theme of this year's contest is the following message from three HELMEPA Junior Groups of the 4th Primary School at the island of Syros, Greece:
  “How rich is the seabed, a magic sea world!”  

The Contest will be held separately for two categories: a) 5-7 years old and Special Education Centers, and b) 8-12 years old.

The First Prize winning artwork in each category will be printed as a Poster and feature the names of each of the members of the winning Group together with that of their Volunteer Teacher, in both Greek and English, while the children-members of the Groups that are awarded Second and Third Prizes will receive commemorative Diplomas.

The best artworks will result from an online vote by HELMEPA Junior members.


Launching of HELMEPA’s 2017 Training Program

The new Voluntary Refresher Training Program of HELMEPA launched on 17 January 2017, with the 2-day “Marine Environmental Awareness” seminar, which is certified by the Maritime Authority of Cyprus.

The Program consists of 24 seminars falling under the following five categories, of which the first four include five 2-day seminars and the fifth category includes four 1-day seminars.

- Α. Best Practices for MARPOL Implementation
- Β. Challenges for Shipping and New Regulations
- C. Human Element and Operational Safety On Board
- D. Marine Environmental Awareness
- Ε. Modern Marine Meteorology

Seminar A covers the main developments regarding the MARPOL regulations for the prevention of ship-generated pollution, in conjunction with best practices for compliance with the Convention’s requirements.

Seminar Β presents topics that are at the heart of the shipping industry’s interests.

Seminar C focuses on the main regulations for safe operations on board and relevant weaknesses, as observed during inspections. Also, it examines risk management and the critical role of the human element based on theoretical approaches and case studies.

Seminar D is based on the relevant Model Course (1.38) of ΙΜΟ and aims at promoting more efficient compliance with regulations through the better understanding of shipping’s impact on the environment.

Seminar Ε focuses on the reading of surface weather charts and on modern and safe weather routing techniques with the aim to avoid dangerous weather systems and tropical cyclones

The Seminars’ Instructors are expert staff of 12 Member Companies and Organizations, academic staff of the National Technical University of Athens, Officers of the Hellenic Coast Guard, independent scientific associates and HELMEPA’s scientific staff.

HELMEPA wholeheartedly thanks all those who actively contribute to the successful implementation of the Program, the Members of HELMEPA’s Training Committee for their advice in the selection of the topics and those who are going to be attending the seminars.

The Seminars’ Calendar can be found at the following link:


HELMEPA's Enriched ''e-Learning'' Program

HELMEPA's enriched e-Learning Program with 4 new topics is already available, to its Members and Non Members, with the following two "training packages" in English:

Environmental Training Course

• SOPEP (Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan)
• Vessel General Permit
• Ballast Water Management
• Marine Litter - MARPOL Annex V
• Ship's Emission Control Worldwide and in ECAs
• Oil Record Book, Part I
• Sewage and Grey Water Management Onboard

Safety related Training Course

• Risk Assessment during loading/unloading operations in tankers
• Accident prevention during lifeboats
• Safe entry into enclosed spaces
• Navigation in dense and controlled traffic
• Weaknesses related to Fire Safety
• Maritime Labour Convention - general overview
• Passage Planning (with reference to PSSAs)

Each topic of the abovementioned includes:

- PowerPoint Presentation,
- 30 multiple choice questions to test what users have learnt, who have 3 attempts available to achieve a score of at least 66% in order to be Certified;
- A course evaluation form for comments/feedbacks

More information at the link


Bridge Simulator Seminar Program

Seminars on HELMEPA’s “NAUTIS Full Mission” Bridge Simulator continue and the schedule is as follows:

6-10/2: HS1 – “Bridge Resource Management”
13-17/2: HS1 – “Bridge Resource Management”
20-22/2: HS2 – “Refresher BRM and Advanced Ship-Handling”
23-24/2: HS3 – “Navigating in Highly Congested Waters and Heavy Seas”

More specifically, seminar HS1 - “Bridge Resource Management” is approved by the Cyprus Maritime Administration and deck officers who attend it may obtain the official BRM Certificate by applying to the Cypriot Administration.

More information can be found here and to participate you may contact us at tel. +30 210 9343088, +30 210 9341233 and


HELMEPA cuts its traditional ''Pita''

In the presence of the Board of Directors and the staff of HELMEPA's Secretariat, the Chairman Dr George Gratsos, together with the Vice-Chairman Mr John Xylas, cut the traditional New Year pie on Monday 23 January at the association's offices. The lucky winner of the "flouri" (coin) for the first time in the 35 years of the association, was Dimitris Mitsatsos, HELMEPA's Director General.

For 2017 the Chairman wished best of luck to our country, all the best for Greek shipping and HELMEPA, and health and prosperity to all the attendees.

After the event, the first meeting of the Board of Directors for the new year took place, which approved the activities and the Annual Budget for 2017 as presented by the Secretariat.


Completion of HELMEPA’s 2016 Training Program

The Association’s 2016 Refresher Training Program was attended by 366 officers and staff members from 66 Member companies, the Panhellenic Seafarers’ Federation, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) and the Hellenic Navy (HN).

In total, 24 two-day seminars were carried out, as follows:

• Marine Environmental Awareness (7 times)
• Environmental Requirements for Compliance PSC (6 times)
• Work Safety Onboard (6 times)
• Safety of Navigation (5 times)

From the participants, 54% were Deck Officers, 16% were Engineer Officers, 22% were Office Staff and 7% Others (HCG, HN).

The quality of all Seminar categories and their usefulness in the execution of the participants’ duties on board or in the office, was evaluated by 81% of them as “Excellent” and “Very Good”.

72% of participants stated that, following the completion of the Seminar, they were “Very” or “Absolutely” familiar with the topics they attended.

Replying to the question “In which sector do you encounter the main difficulties in implementing rules and requirements concerning maritime safety and pollution prevention”, participants mentioned the following issues as the most important:

➢ Crew training;
➢ Lack of shore reception facilities;
➢ Heavy workload and increasing bureaucracy;
➢ Ballast water management;
➢ Communication among crew members;
➢ Low sulphur fuel changeover.

The speakers who presented the topics were kindly made available by 8 Companies and 5 Classification Societies, Members of HELMEPA, which we wholeheartedly thank along with the academic-scientific staff of the Laboratory for Maritime Transport of the National Technical University of Athens and other external scientific collaborators, who all contributed to the successful completion of the Program.



The HELMEPA Monitor - issue No. 13

The HELMEPA Monitor, issue No. 13, has been released, including the following articles:

- The day after the first USCG type-approvals of Ballast Water Treatment Systems
- US will follow IMO recommendation for enforcement of STCW 2010 amendments
- Compliance issues in North American and US Caribbean Sea ECAs clarified by EPA
- California Reminders
- Massive decline in Arctic sea ice reported by NOAA


Video: The story of the Seagull of HELMEPA on ERT1 (only in Greek)

Lots of people in Greece remember the Seagull, HELMEPA’s cartoon, being broadcasted for the first time on ERT1, in 1983.

Thousands of Greek youngsters grew up with his motto “No Garbage, No Plastics in Seas and Beaches”.

If you wish to learn how he originated and evolved, watch the 1st episode of the ANIMERT documentary series, titled “The Seagull”, at the following link:


HELMEPA’s Scholarships

It is with great satisfaction that we note the outstanding performance and graduation of HELMEPA’s 3 scholars for the 2015-2016 academic year:

• Ms Evaggelia Pouli, MSc International Maritime Law from the International Maritime Law Institute in Malta, “George P. Livanos” Scholarship. Since August 2016 she is working in the Legal Dept. of the Merchant Shipping Directorate/Transport Malta.

• Ms Artemis Pountourelli, daughter of a seafarer, MSc Sustainable Energy Futures from London’s Imperial College, who was awarded the “Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos” Scholarship. She is currently working as Project Manager in a London-based company that specializes in the development of solar parks.

• Mr Constantinos Ballas, son of a seafarer, ΜSc, Engineering Business Management from Warwick University in the UK, “Stavros Daifas” Scholarship – kind offer of Ms Irene S. Daifas, Special Secretary of the BoD. He graduated on 17/1/2017.

Also, we are glad to monitor the progress of HELMEPA’s 4 new scholars for the 2016-17 academic year, who are: Ms Stefania Kallergi, MSc Maritime Organization Management at Liverpool’s John Moores University, Mr Elias Deligiannis, MSc Water, Air, Pollution and Energy in Local and Regional Scales at Universite Paris Saclay, Ms Dorothea Nassioudi, MSc Climate Change, Management and Finance at London’s Imperial College and Ms Maria Stamouli, MSc Sustainable Energy Systems at Edinburgh University.

We wish the 3 graduates a fruitful professional career and the 4 scholars every success!

HELMEPA’s scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year will be announced in March.


Waiting for the New Year

It is once again the season, when we are about to welcome a new year, that our thoughts run to the past. Mixed are the feelings with which we recall everything we went through during the departing year; sadness for the difficult times we passed but also joy as each new year always comes with the hope that we will successfully meet whatever is on the way.

In our case in HELMEPA, we bid farewell to the 34th year since this news bulletin, “NEA”, was first issued. This is the medium which keeps us in touch with our Members, friends and associates in Greece and world wide and with anyone who may be interested in remaining updated on the development of this clearly voluntary initiative of the Greek maritime community. The news bulletin used to be issued and circulated in a printed form for many years. With the advent of the new Information Technology though, the bulletin became electronic and we believe that as such it has a wider circulation because the internet is now part of our everyday life.

We therefore bid farewell to 2016 unfortunately in a continuous shipping crisis, which of course brings to our memory past crises with the difference that this one reaches even further due to the globalised economy. And the crisis is felt much more in Greece as the country continues to suffer from its own economic crisis.

Despite these facts, which are not few, HELMEPA continues its operation and undertakes ever more initiatives. Due to the maritime crisis the number of the Member Ship Owning Companies has been reduced compared to the years before the crisis but remains steady during the recent years.

Since 1982, the fiery desire of the Founders and especially of the late George P. Livanos, was for HELMEPA to become able to mobilize the human element in the maritime industry by undertaking a coordinated and realistic information and awareness raising campaign. This campaign continued to be our main mission also in 2006 under the guidance of the Board of Directors and with the participation and the contribution of our Member seafarers and companies, respectively. And it is with satisfaction that we all note that the refresher training initiatives of HELMEPA reach the youngest officer onboard as well as the cadet in the class room or onboard the ship.

Our Maritime Training Center continues its operation applying the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Standards, periodically audited by DNV-GL. Steady has also been the participation of officers in the 27 two-day voluntary refresher seminars of 2016. Growing is the interest of the participants towards the enrichment and the expansion of the topics presented at the seminars as we note in their written proposals. Equally satisfactory is the attendance of HELMEPA e-Learning programs, which, made only in English, are addressed to officers of any nationality working at Member Companies.

The donation of the Full Mission Bridge Simulator to HELMEPA by Member company DNV-GL constitutes an important recognition of the work carried out in training. Its operation at the disposal of Member companies and others, is an important upgrade on the level of training we offer, especially with the seminars Bridge Resource Management (BRM), Refresher BRM and Advanced Ship Handling, and Navigating in Highly Congested Waters and Heavy Seas.

We really felt content when the Maritime Authority of Cyprus awarded their approval to our BRM seminar after they audited it according to the STCW requirements. So now, Member Companies and non members, managing vessels under the flag of Cyprus or any other EU State, may use the simulator of HELMEPA for the certification of their officers.

One more source of joy in the often gloomy atmosphere of our nowadays society, was the way our campaign, financed by the British non profit making Lloyd’s Register Foundation, was received in 4 Greek islands during 2016. Part of the campaign was for HELMEPA to offer transportation to and from the mobile environmental exhibition to a total of 3,700 schoolchildren and 350 teachers and provide training guided tours therein. The campaign was hailed by the Teachers, the Mayors and the local Press, by saying to HELMEPA and its Members “thank you for remembering us”.

All the above is the proof that the commitment of the volunteer Members of HELMEPA to make the difference remains steady after 34 years, irrespective of economic and other difficulties.

As for us, the stewards of HELMEPA’s mission, from the Chairman and the Members of the Board to the newest of 14 of the Secretariat’s staff, we feel proud because we contribute to the social work of the Greek Maritime Family and their efforts towards quality shipping.

We wish Health, Resilience and Peace to all and Calm and Peaceful Seas to all seafarers for 2017. As for Greece, our heartfelt wishes, to find the path to progress soon.

Dimitris C. Mitsatsos


Lloyd’s List presents award to “HELMEPA Junior”

On Friday 2 December, the Lloyd’s List Greek Shipping Awards presented to the children’s environmental program titled “HELMEPA Junior” the “Achievement in Safety or Environmental Protection” award.

In essence, the award was given to 92,000 young pupils and 3,400 Teachers throughout Greece, who have participated voluntarily in the Program, from 1993 to date. The kids carried out environmental activities on a voluntary basis and continue to do so, learning a lot about the environment and the threats it faces due to human indifference, providing at the same time an example of environmental sensitization to their local communities.

The award was received by the Chairman of HELMEPA, Dr George Gratsos, the Chairperson of the Program’s Board of Representatives, Olympia Zisi, 12 years old, from Thessaloniki and the Secretary, Constantinos Kolovos, 13 years old, from Athens.

Thanking Lloyd’s List for the award, Olympia Zisi promised that the children-members of “HELMEPA Junior” will “continue protecting the seas and beaches of our country with the same enthusiasm”. Constantinos Kolovos urged the members of the Greek shipping community present to continue supporting “HELMEPA Junior”, thus enabling the kids to create a brighter future.

Dr Gratsos also thanked Lloyd’s List and stated “I am proud to be part of HELMEPA for many years, an association which right from the beginning focused its attention on young people, seafarers and children, with the conviction that education is the prime medium for respecting and protecting the environment”.

Congratulations, therefore, to the contributors of HELMEPA Junior’s success, children, parents, teachers, sponsors and staff of HELMEPA’s Secretariat with the hope that these efforts will sensitize all of us towards protecting the valuable natural resource seas and beaches constitute for our country.


HELMEPA event for the Association’s Training Programs

During a lunch hosted at the Piraeus Marine Club on Thursday 24 November 2016, HELMEPA thanked the contributors of the current Training Program and that of 2017 as well as the Association’s Training Committee Members.

The Chairman, Dr George Gratsos, after expressing his appreciation to all for their contribution, referred to the environmental challenges facing shipping and legislative developments at IMO.

Ms Semiramis Paliou, Naval Architect and Marine Engineer, under her dual role of Principal and Manager, spoke about the importance of proper preparation of ships and seafarers and the compliance with international and national regulations. She praised HELMEPA's work, stating that she appreciates and supports the voluntary training and the related initiatives of the association.

In the event, which the Honorary Consul General of Malta Mr. Kostas Kalogeropoulos attended, the following participated:

ABS - Christos Nomikos and Dimitrios Kostaras,
BUREAU VERITAS - Lambros Chahalis, Ms Payet Paleologou and Dimitris Tsilimos
COSTAMARE SHIPPING Co SA - Ioannis Drakogiannopoulos,
CLEOPATRA SHIPPING AGENCY Ltd - Apostolos Apostolidis,
DANAOS SHIPPING Co. Ltd - Stylianos Petronios,
DNV GL - Ioannis Chiotopoulos,
EURONAV SHIP MANAGEMENT Hellas Ltd - Pantelis Patsoulis and Ms Anna Katsika,
HELLENIC LLOYD’S SA - George Maglaras and Dimitrios Simakis,
NEDA MARITIME AGENCY Co. Ltd - Ms Maria Christopoulou,
RINA Hellas - Andreas Papalimnaios and Michalis Markogiannis,
S. LIVANOS SA - Michail Fragkias,
V. SHIPS Greece Ltd - Anastasios Theiopoulos

The Association presented the new Refresher Training Program for 2017, which consists of 28 two-day and one-day seminars.

The 2017 new topics will present at the seminars staff members of HELMEPA Member Class Societies and Managing Companies, the N.T.U.A Laboratory for Maritime Affairs, external specialists and possibly the Hellenic Coast Guard.


USCG presentation to HELMEPA Members in Piraeus

On Monday 28 November 2016, Member company CERES hosted in Piraeus yet another event organized by HELMEPA in the framework of the long standing cooperation with the United States Coast Guard. Rear Admiral Paul F. Thomas, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, USCG, presented the developments and the future of shipping as shaped after the 97th session of MSC of IMO. Present at the presentation was also 2nd Vice Commandant of the Hellenic Coast Guard, Vice Admiral G. Barkatsas.

RADM Thomas, addressing the 50 guests, representatives of HELMEPA Member companies, the Hellenic Coast Guard, maritime entities, the American Embassy in Athens and shipping press, referred to the three challenges that collectively the maritime community has to continue to meet in the coming decades: increased capacity, need for reducing the environmental footprint of shipping and the growing complexity of legislation both on the IMO level and the domestic one.

Focusing on the environmental requirements, he emphasized that today we have the means to monitor every waste stream coming out of ships as well as the technology to reduce them. He presented in detail the situation regarding the ballast water management systems, noting that not every system works for every ship while in addition to installation, operators have to provide for crew training and a relative contingency plan. Furthermore, he mentioned air emissions and the sulphur cap of 2020 as well as other topics such as e-Navigation and cyber security. At the latter, RADM Thomas praised the efforts of the global maritime sector with the issuing of the related guidelines and he stressed that countering this operational risk should take place by integrating it in the ISM Code and anyway with the initiative of IMO rather than unilateral measures. Closing, the Admiral referred to Qualship 21 and the significance of having the Greek flag within the program. Finally, he praised the search and rescue efforts of the Hellenic Coast Guard that, as he said, are conducted in “a humane and heroic way”.

The questions and dialogue that followed proved once again the great interest of Member companies on subjects related to the best preparation of ships and seafarers towards the implementation of legislation in the waters and ports of the US.

HELMEPA Chairman Dr. George Gratsos thanked Admiral Thomas presenting him with a commemorative silver “trireme”, symbol of the maritime history of Greece.

The event closed with a reception, kindly hosted by CERES.


HELMEPA – USCG Meeting in Washington

On November 15, 2016, the fourth annual meeting of HELMEPA member operators and the US Coast Guard took place at the CG headquarters, in Washington, DC. The delegation included representatives of Ariston Navigation Corp., Costamare Shipping Co. S.A., Diana Shipping Services S.A. and Environmental Protection Engineering S.A. as well as HELMEPA’s Director General and Executive Coordinator.

The meeting was hosted and chaired by RADM Paul Thomas, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, USCG while Deputy Director of Commercial Regulations & Standards, Mr. Frank Sturm and a number of senior officers participated in the discussion of specific Agenda items according to their field of expertise.

Of particular interest to HELMEPA member operators were 9 topics, among them Ballast Water Management, PSC and USCG COC inspections, Cyber Risk, Qualship 21, Navigation in Channels and STCW Manila Amendments. All subjects were discussed and clarifications were provided by the competent officers. On certain issues of concern where weaknesses were brought up by participants, the CG asked, like in the past, for specific reports to be made so that they can look into individual cases with the aim, as always, to facilitate commerce, enhance safety and protect the marine environment.

HELMEPA also commented on the usefulness of the USCG official blog Maritime Commons where RADM Thomas regularly provides updates on current issues of concern to the maritime industry.


The HELMEPA - Lloyd’s Register Foundation Campaign on the island of Poros comes to a close

The activities of the “Educational Community and Public Awareness Campaign on the Marine Environment, Shipping and Sciences” were successfully concluded on the island of Poros, the tenth stop of the Campaign, which is carried out by HELMEPA across 14 Greek cities until 2017, with the support of Lloyd΄s Register Foundation* (LRF).

The Campaign was launched with the “Train-the-Trainer” seminar titled “The Marine Environment and Us: Ensuring a Sustainable Future” on Tuesday 15 November, with the participation of 40 teachers. The environmental Exhibition, hosted for 15 days at the “Syggrou” Municipal Hall, was visited on the Campaign’s expenses by 790 pupils and 72 teachers from Primary and High Schools of Poros, Galatas, Kalloni, Karatzas, Methana and Trizina.

In the framework of the “European Week for Waste Reduction”, which took place between 19 and 27 November, 35 pupils of the 1st Primary School of Poros together with their teachers cleaned “Gerolimenas” beach on 24 November. Approximately 100 kg (!) of garbage were collected from this remote beach, half of which was recycled. The garbage originated mainly from leisure activities and abandoned fishing gear. This highlights a major environmental problem, that much of the coastline of Poros faces, which is the transfer and accumulation of large amounts of mostly plastic litter from Athens and other parts of the Saronic Gulf.

On the same day, students of all educational levels of the island had the opportunity to learn more about the value of recycling by participating in a recycling park, run by the Hellenic Recovery-Recycling Corporation (HERRCO).

According to preliminary results of the survey conducted by HELMEPA in each region concerning environmental awareness, the majority of students of Poros are sensitized on environmental issues, as 9 out of 10 have participated in relevant activities (such as beach clean-ups, tree planting etc) and 85% take part in recycling programs. During the guided tour at the Exhibition, a detailed presentation on scientific fields such as oceanography, biomimetics, underwater archeology and marine biology was provided to High School students. 15% of the students were not familiar with any of these sciences, however 80% of them stated that they would like to follow a relevant career.

HELMEPA expresses its thanks to the Municipality of Poros not only for hosting the Exhibition but also for its assistance in implementing the Campaign, the Directorates of Primary and Secondary Education of Piraeus for their excellent cooperation in the scheduling of activities, as well as all the schoolchildren and teachers of Poros and the neighboring areas for their warm response to the messages of the Campaign.

* Note to the Editors:
Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) helps to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research.



International Coastal Cleanup campaign 2016: Results in Greece

A total of 4,560 volunteers participated in the “Month of Voluntary Action for the Marine Environment”, which was coordinated by HELMEPA from 17 September to 17 October in Greece in the framework of ICC 2016. These volunteers organized and carried out 89 beach and 16 underwater cleanups throughout Greece.

Under the motto ““We clean our beaches, record and recycle marine litter!”, children and youth, members of the “HELMEPA Junior” and “Cadets” programs respectively, as well as other students and teachers, staff of HELMEPA members and other companies, municipal and port authorities, members of environmental organizations and sailing clubs, divers and citizens actively participated in this initiative.

The volunteers cleaned up 81 km of beaches and shores of rivers and lakes, collecting and recording on data cards 13 tons of litter, of which 2.5 were recycled in cooperation with the Hellenic Recycling-recovery Corporation (He.R.R.Co.).

In total, volunteers collected 124,560 pieces of litter, from the tiniest pieces of plastic to a kids slide and a couch!

  Top 10 marine litter items in Greece  
  Type Pieces
1 Cigarette filters 44.701
2 Plastic pieces less than 2.5 cm 11.543
3 Plastic bottles 11.333
4 Plastic straws 7.478
5 Plastic bottle caps 7.184
6 Foam pieces less than 2.5 cm. 5.252
7 Glass pieces less than 2.5 cm. 4.580
8 Plastic bags 4.182
9 Food wraps 3.950
10 Aluminum cans 3.505


Cigarette butts are by far the No. 1 marine litter item, while prominent in the Top 10 list are plastics associated with recreational activities in the coastal zone and take a very long time to break down in the environment. Let’s not forget that a plastic bottle, which we may easily leave behind on the beach, needs approximately 450 years to break down into smaller fractions and finally microplastics that enter the food chain and end up on our plates.   Small pieces of plastics, foam and glass constitute 17% of the total items recorded.

Findings included, among other, 1,770 paper bags and 1,449 cups and plates, 1,343 metal bottle caps, 994 metres of rope, 963 glass bottles, 916 lighters, 439 metres of fishing line, 561 tin cans, 443 construction materials, 385 tires, 296 pharmaceutical substances, 284 corks, 253 diapers, 191 batteries, 85 buoys, 41 plastic containers and barrels, 35 electrical appliances, 10 hoses, 2 rubbish bins, 2 speakers, a cassette player, a steering wheel, a barbecue and a set of false teeth!

During cleanups coordinated by HELMEPA in Athens and on the islands of Aegina and Skiathos, online recording of litter items were performed with te use of smartphones and tablets in the framework of the “Marine Litter Watch Month” of the European Environment Agency (ΕΕΑ), which aims at the scientific monitoring of pollution.

HELMEPA congratulates all the volunteers because through their participation they support efforts to reduce pollution and degradation of marine and coastal ecosystems. Commemorative participation Diplomas were awarded to the coordinators of the actions, as well as the children and youth that participated.

Children from all over Greece convene for the environment

For the 23rd year, HELMEPA organized the Board of Representatives of children-members of the “HELMEPA Junior” Program in Athens, on Friday 9 December. As in the previous years, the event was hosted by member company Costamare Shipping, true to the spirit of its Founder, the late Captain Vassilis Constantakopoulos.

The 13 kids, 5 to 12 years old, from Florina, Rodopi, Messinia, Magnessia, Ioannina, Thessaloniki, Evros, Aitoloakarnania, Attica and the islands of Corfu, Kassos and Lesvos, who were the leaders of the most active groups and representatives of the 7,675 children-members of the past school year, convened in HELMEPA’s environmental Exhibition, at the Costamare building.

During their meeting, the children exchanged experiences from the Program, referred to environmental problems in their areas, proposed further actions to HELMEPA’s competent staff and elected for the 2016-2017 school year 8 year-old Nikolaos Ferentinos, from Vonitsa as their Chairman, 5 year-old Orestis Iliadis, from the Kindergarten of Ag. Antonios Thermis in Thessaloniki, as their Vice Chairman and 9 year-old Constantinos Ailianos-Xanthos, from the Elementary School of the Athens College as their Secretary.

At the same time, the accompanying parents, volunteer teachers who supervised the kids’ activities and local coordinators of schools’ environmental education activities attended a special informative event. They were welcomed by the Director General of HELMEPA, D. Mitsatsos, who referred to the “birth” of HELMEPA Junior, a many year-long vision that was brought to life in 1993 and embraced by Captain Vassilis. This support continues to date by his family, which Mr. Mitsatsos thanked along with Costamare for hosting the event.

Addressing the guests, the son of Captain Vassilis, Achilleas, spoke about his Father’s affection for and belief in children, stressing that “the environmental awareness and sensitization that the Program offers to the children constitutes the most significant contribution towards achieving the aims of HELMEPA and a sustainable future”. Concluding, Mr. Constantakopoulos thanked the teachers for their dedication to their work.

Following, the Chairman of HELMEPA, Dr. George Gratsos, spoke to the guests underlining that the association is a voluntary organization, financially supported solely by the contributions of its volunteer-Members. The sponsorship of the Constantakopoulos family, he said, enhances significantly the activities of the 92,000 children-members and the 3,000 volunteer- teachers that participated so far in the Program. He also stressed the value of cooperation towards achieving its aims and closed his brief address by referring to the benefits of recycling.

Ms Maria Dopokopoulou of the Institue of Educational Policy of the Ministry for Education, Research and Religion mentioned, among other, in her address, that the HELMEPA Junior Program “not only informs and sensitizes the kids, but also promotes cooperation among them, which is democracy in practice”.

Former Chairman of HELMEPA, Mr. Nicky Pappadakis, praised the importance of HELMEPA’s work and expressed his joy that now, pupils from his homeland, the remote island of Kassos, also participate in the Program.

HELMEPA’s Executive Coordinator, Christiana Prekezes, presented the “marine litter” topic and the results of the association’s activities towards preventing this type of pollution.

She was followed by the volunteer teachers, each of whom presented in brief the environmental activities carried out by children-members of the “HELMEPA Junior” groups, with their support and guidance.

The event continued with the children-members of the Board of Representatives joining the event and announcing their newly elected officials for the 2016-2017 school year. The new Chairman, Nikos Ferentinos, read out the children’s message to the adult society:

“No one is keeping clean our blue sea, so listen to us carefully, kids are taking over. Please help us to achieve this, because there is no other home like our planet”

This was followed by the presentation of commemorative diplomas and gifts to children, parents and teachers by HELMEPA, a lunch offered by Costamare Company and a visit to the Planetarium of the Eugenides Foundation, where kids and adults all enjoyed a digital show.


The HELMEPA - Lloyd’s Register Foundation Campaign in Skiathos

The HELMEPA “Educational Community and Public Awareness Campaign on the Marine Environment, Shipping and Sciences” was successfully concluded on the island of Skiathos. This Campaign, supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF), is carried out in 14 cities of Greece between 2014 and 2017. The project on the island, placed under the auspices of the local Municipality, was implemented in close cooperation with the “Skiathos” Cultural Association.

The Μunicipality hosted the environmental exhibition, heart of the Campaign, for 10 days during which it was visited by 791 students and 48 teachers of Skiathos as well as 45 pupils of the nearby island of Alonissos.

Questionnaires completed by the students at the end of their guided tour of the exhibition, like in other cities, demonstrate that they are environmentally aware to a great extent as they also participate in environmental activities and 85% of them take part in the Municipal recycling program. More specifically, 50% of elementary schoolchildren regard street and beach litter as the most serious environmental problem on their island. An encouraging fact is that 95% of high school students consider environmental protection as their own duty and not of the State and Local Authorities only.

In the framework of the “Marine Litter Watch Month” initiative of the European Environment Agency, on Thursday 29 September, 40 high school students of the island together with their teachers and staff members of the Coast Guard station cleaned “Asselinos” beach and recorded the garbage items online. In the afternoon, 30 teachers and Coordinators of School Activities attended the “Train-the –Trainer” seminar titled “The Marine Environment and Us: Ensuring a Sustainable Future” HELMEPA organized in cooperation with the Prefecture’s Education Directorates. All attendees received a relevant Certificate and a number of them enlisted as members of the “Marine Teachers Network” whilst 9 out of 10 teachers rated the syllabus of the seminar as “Very Good” and “Excellent”.

HELMEPA expresses its thanks to the Municipality of Skiathos, the Education Directorates of the Prefecture of Magnesia, the HELLENIC SEAWAYS, the “Efstathiou” Travel Agency as well as all the students and teachers for their warm response. The excellent cooperation of the “Skiathos” Cultural Association and particularly the efficiency of its Chairman, Mr. Thodoris Tzoumas, in the organization and execution of the Campaign and the timely solving of any “weakness” have been much appreciated.

* Note to the Editors: Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) helps to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and the application of research.


“Latest Issues Affecting Shipping” presented to HELMEPA Members

With the title “Latest Issues Affecting Shipping”, Mr Joe Angelo, Deputy Managing Director of INTERTANKO and Honorary Member of HELMEPA, presented to Members of the Greek shipping community the current legislation of IMO and its development on issues such as ballast water management, greenhouse gases, fuel oil quality and availability, cyber risk management and e-navigation. He also referred to the work program of IMO for the achievement of determined objectives.

The event was held on Tuesday 20 September 2016, at the Metropolitan Hotel and it was attended, besides HELMEPA's Board, by the General Secretary of the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation, representatives of the General Secretary of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, of the Chief of the Hellenic Navy, of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the officials of the Union of Masters and Mates of the Greek Merchant Marine, Hellenic Coast Guard Officers, representative of associations, organizations and member companies of HELMEPA as well as the maritime press.

Mr Angelo was welcomed and presented by Dr G. Gratsos, HELMEPA'S Chairman, while the Director General, Mr D. Mitsatsos referred to his long-term cooperation with Mr Angelo since 1984.

The questions raised on the topics presented as well as the discussion that followed highlighted areas of concern to the shipping industry.

29 September 2016: World Maritime Day

On Thursday, 29 September 2016, the international maritime community celebrated the World Maritime Day at IMO, in London.

At a special forum titled "Shipping: Indispensable to the World", which HELMEPA attended, the Secretary General of IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, spoke about the importance of shipping for global development. He urged the personalities of the panel moderated by the chief editor of TradeWinds, Mr. Julian Bray, to challenge the audience to express views along a constructive discussion.

Mr. Bray, underlying the need that shipping meets and even exceeds the expectations of society, proposed and the session focused on the future of the industry along the following directions:

1. Sustainability
2. Globalization
3. Regulation
4. Technology
5. Social engagement
6. Profile and Image of Shipping.

During the statements that were made and the exchange of views with the panel it was reported that shipping has come to the point of transporting annually 10 billion tons of cargo worldwide.

At the reception that followed, while addressing his guests, Mr. Kitack Lim said, among other, that in this changing world the most effective tool for meeting the current and future challenges is communication among all.

The cordial welcome the Secretary General extended to HELMEPA in respect of the voluntary commitment of its Members to "Safe Ships in Clean Seas", was noted with great satisfaction.


HELMEPA’s Maritime Training Center Seminars for 2016: participation and assessment up to date

The seminars of the 2016 Voluntary Refresher Training Program of HELMEPA continue, including 4 different seminar categories: Safety of Navigation, Work Safety Onboard, Environmental Requirements for Compliance with PSC and Marine Environmental Awareness.

Ongoing are also 3 seminar categories being carried out at the new facilities of the Full Mission Bridge Simulator, a kind donation of Associate Member DNV GL. More specifically, the training on the Simulator covers the courses: Refresher Bridge Resource Management, Cruising in Highly Congested Areas and Ship Handling.

In brief, participation and evaluation of the courses by attendees until today are as follows:

Training Program 2016

At the 16 seminars that have been executed from the beginning of the year till the end of September, participation reached a total of 232 with the following breakdown by specialty:

Breakdown of participants to the Training Program 2016 by specialty

With an average participation of approximately 15 persons/seminar (maximum capacity 20), Marine Environmental Awareness, certified by the Cyprus Maritime Administration, is the most popular of this year's seminars, partly explained by the imminent expiry, at the end of the year, of the transitional period for the renewal of certificates of active officers under the requirements of the amended STCW (Manila Amendments).

Regarding the evaluations, the vast majority of the participants consider the seminar that they attended from “Very Good” to “Excellent” regarding:

• quality in total,
• usefulness for carrying out their duties onboard or at the office,
• quality of the accompanying educational and information material.

In the evaluation of each seminar, participants are also urged to submit proposals and general comments, to answer the question "Where do you encounter the greatest difficulties in implementing the requirements and regulations for the safe operation of the ship and pollution prevention?". The main issues that were highlighted, in order of frequency reference, are the following:

• Training and familiarization of the personnel with the relevant requirements.
• Heavy workload, record keeping crew’s hours of rest.
• Lack of reception facilities in ports for waste, sewage and oily residues disposal.
• Garbage management and implementation of the revised Annex V.
• Ballast water management.
• Multiethnicity and different cultures of crews.
• Increased bureaucracy.
• Lack of safety culture.
• Lack of ship’s manning.
• Emission reduction of NOx, SΟx, CO2.

Bridge Simulator

At the 17 seminars that took place during the period March - October 2016, 78 persons participated with the following breakdown:

- HS1: “Refresh Bridge Resources Management”
5 seminars - 22 persons

- HS2: “Ship Handling”
8 seminars - 37 persons

- HS3: “Cruising in Highly Congested Waters”
6 seminars - 19 persons

Both the presentation of the topics and the practical exercise were evaluated as “Excellent” (90%) or “Very Good” (10%), while in terms of usefulness all three courses were evaluated as “Very important”.

More information at

Training Committee and HELMEPA's Programs

On Thursday, 8 September 2016, the Training Committee met at HELMEPA's premises and its members were informed on the execution of the training seminars offered by HELMEPA to its Members. Furthermore, the Committee drew up proposals regarding best use of the bridge simulator for the hands-on training of officers in realistic conditions. The directions of the new program for 2017 and the enrichment of e-Learning also constituted issues of detailed discussions between the Committee and HELMEPA's staff.

The agreed proposals were brought to the attention of HELMEPA's Board meeting on 21 September, and following their approval, the Secretariat proceeds with their implementation.

HELMEPA Member Companies and Organizations take action for Clean Beaches

HELMEPA's invitation to participate in this year's Action Month for the Marine Environment was warmly welcomed by staff of HELMEPA Member Companies and Organizations, who organized beach cleanups in Attica, in cooperation with the association. Under the motto “We clean our beaches, record and recycle marine litter!” and in the framework of the 2016 International Coastal Cleanup, the following actions took place last weekend:

- On Saturday 2 October, approximately 50 volunteers-staff members of Danaos Shipping, along with their families, combined the cleanup of Freatyda beach, in Piraeus, with an educational visit to the nearby Hellenic Maritime Museum. On the same day, 60 staff members of Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement, Tsakos Shipping & Trading and Tsakos Energy Navigation, together with their families and representatives of North of England P&I Club and American Bureau of Shipping, also Associate Corporate Members of HELMEPA, cleaned Alkionides beach in Varkiza.

- On Sunday 3 October, Associate Corporate Member The American P&I Club cleaned Megalo Kavouri beach in Vouliagmeni, with the participation of children and adult volunteers from the following companies: ΑΒ Maritime, Aegean Management Services M.C., Angelakos (Hellas), ENEA Management, Genimar Shipping & Trading, Global Cruises Lines, Holland Hellenic Shipping Agencies, Ikaros Shipping and Brokerage Co., Kouroutis J. & Co. Ltd. Insurance and Reinsurance Brokers, Laskaridis Shipping, Mega Shipping Line Corp., National Insurance Brokers, New Shipping, Pancoast Trading, PL Ferrari & Co. S.R.L., Product Shipping & Trading, Rev Maritime, Roswell Navigation, Roussos J.G. Shipping, Seascope Hellas, Starbulk, The Aegean Experience MC and Transmed Shipping. The action was covered by shipping journals ELNAVI and Naftika Chronika as well as website.

In total, the volunteers collected 120 kg and separated recyclable materials that were collected by the Hellenic Recovery Recycling Corporation (HE.R.R.Co.), which supports the campaign nation-wide. The processing of recorded data showed that 65% of collected waste was cigarette butts, while there were also many small plastic pieces and items generated by recreational activities such as food packaging, caps/lids and straws.

During the weekend, voluntary cleanups were also carried out in other areas of Greece and specifically on the island of Agathonisi by students and teachers of Agathonisi High School, at Astros in Arcadia by the Management Authority of Mount Parnonas and Moustos Wetland, at Artemida by students and teachers of Ionios School, on the island of Salamis by the Nautical Club of Vourkari Salaminas, at Erineos beach of Achaia by the owners and regulars of “Pop Horn” traditional café, at Anavros beach of Volos by students and teachers of Papazoglou Private Schools, at EOT beach on the island of Lesbos by the 9th Primary School of Mytilene and at Panormos beach on the island of Mykonos by “Sychroni Paideia” Private School.



Update on QUALSHIP 21 (September 2016)

According to data just published by the USCG, current holders of the Qualship 21 Certificate include a total of 75 HELMEPA member vessels managed by 29 companies, as shown in the following table:

Managing Company

        Number of vessels*



























































Total number of member vessels


* Note: Vessels of the company that also carry the QUALSHIP 21 Certificate but are not members of HELMEPA are not included in the numbers given in the table.

5 Pergamou Str., 171 21 N. Smyrni, Athens, Greece
Tel: +(30) 210 9343088 | Fax: +(30) 210 9353847
Find us on:
Follow us on:

Editorial Team:
Mailing Administrator:

Dimitris C. Mitsatsos
Christiana Prekezes
Maritime Section
Constantinos Andreadis

COPYRIGHT © HELMEPA  |  All rights Reserved  
  If you wish to unsubscribe from HELMEPA Newsletter, click here!