The new HELMEPA - AMSA maritime aid for the Seafarers sailing in Australian waters

The Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association - HELMEPA, was established on 4 June 1982 by the joint initiative of Greek seafarers and ship owners, who co-signed the Declaration of Voluntary Commitment titled "To Save the Seas". By the Article 4 they declared: "We pledge our expertise and energies to raise the environmental consciousness of the Greek Shipping Community so as to lead in an effort to combine environmental regulation and voluntary will for the elimination of ship-generated pollution".

Consequently, HELMEPA also cooperates with national maritime Authorities such as AMSA, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which regulates maritime activities in Australia. Through its contribution, HELMEPA published in 2000, in Greek and English, the "Guide for the Greek Seafarers in Australian Waters" and made it available to its Member companies, vessels and seafarers.

Now in 2018, HELMEPA offers to its Members the electronic publication "Guide for Greek and Foreign Seafarers onboard Ships operating in Australian Waters" revised with the warm support, as ever, of AMSA and the hope that it will constitute an important aid for the officers of the ships trading in Australia and transiting the Great Barrier Reef.

Sincere thanks are addressed to AMSA's CEO Mick Kinley and Manager, Ship Inspection and Registration, Alex Schultz-Altmann as well as their colleagues for the time and effort dedicated to the accuracy of the new publication.

HELMEPA and Axion Hellas sign Memorandum of Cooperation

Today, Wednesday 12 September 2018, Dr George Gratsos, Chairman of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association - HELMEPA and Mr Vassilis Pateras, President of the Non Profit-making Organization Axion Hellas, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation at HELMEPA's offices.

The purpose of this Memorandum is to develop cooperation between the two entities towards promoting the importance and value of protecting the marine and wider natural environment, to local communities that Axion Hellas visits in remote areas and/or border regions of Greece, which due to their distance from large urban centers, lack easy access to activities or events.

The means to accomplish this objective will include the organization of awareness raising activities with speeches and presentations to adults and kids, dissemination of information material, coordination of voluntary cleanups and projection of ways by which we may all contribute to the protection of the marine environment.

The cooperation begins next week with the participation of HELMEPA's scientific staff in the scheduled activities of Axion Hellas on the island of Psarra and Volissos in Chios, from 19 to 22 September.

Single use plastics targeted by HELMEPA beach cleanups

Summer is now over and daily swimming, sports and other leisure activities along our country˘s numerous beaches are, for most of us, already a distant memory. During our outings to the beach, surely many of us confronted the sad sight of pollution by cigarette tips, plastic and other litter and were concerned about the extent of the problem wondering whether our country˘s natural environment deserves such a treatment.

An indicative snapshot of the status of our beaches, before we even visited them this summer, is provided by the data recorded by volunteers of the "Let˘s Cleanup Europe" campaign, which was organized and coordinated by HELMEPA, for the 5th consecutive year in Greece, between 4 and 25 May 2018.

A total of 7,750 volunteers from 193 public and private entities organized 187 cleanups of beaches, the seabed, riverbanks and lakes, forests, parks and other natural spaces covering an area of 108 km in length. They collected 16 tons of waste, 4 tons of which were recycled by the Hellenic Recovery-Recycling Corporation that supported actions throughout the country.

The volunteers, youth and adults, recored the litter they collected on data cards provided by HELMEPA. The processing of this data shows that single use plastics continue to feature prominently in the Top 10 list.

Top 10 litter items in Greece
Type Items
Cigarette tips 40,572
Plastic pieces larger than 2.5 cm 15,855
Straws 12,342
Plastic bottle caps 9,278
Plastic bottles 7,688
Styrofoam pieces larger than 2.5 cm 5,520
Plastic bags 5,383
Glass bottles and pieces 4,738
Plastic cups and their lids 4,680
Paper pieces larger than 2.5 cm 4,649

Specifically, 151,740 litter items were receorded, from small styrofoam pieces to a whole garbage bin and a mobile spraying machine! The 40,572 cigarette tips still remain at the top of the list and are followed by plastic straws, caps, bottles and bags, which are all associated with coastal recreational activities. It is good to remember that a plastic bottle, which we so easily leave behind, may remain for approximately 450 years in the marine environment before it gradually breaks down to smaller pieces that will enter the food chain and eventually end up on our plates.

Volunteers also collected 3,683 aluminum beverage cans, 3,661 plastic and 2,329 paper food containers and wraps, 2,300 metres of rope and fishing equipment such as 1,009 net pieces, 709 metres of fishing line and 504 styrofoam boxes, smoking-related waste such as 2,147 cigarette/tobacco packs and 876 lighters, 1,680 metal bottle caps, 1,543 baby wipers, nappies and other personal hygiene items, 1,192 pieces of clothing including 12 flip flops and 23 shoes, 1,130 toys and balloons, 1,089 construction materials, 1,568 plastic containers of cleaning agents, oil and cosmetics, 568 batteries of all types, 221 tyres, 80 pieces of car equipment, 231 buckets and barrels, 119 electric appliances, 5 carpets, 3 dinghy boats and many life jackets, 2 tooth-brushes and a hair paint applicator, a wash-basin, a toilet seat and a metal barbeque with a complete set of equipment!

Beach cleanups were carried out by the following 15 HELMEPA Member-companies with their staff and families actively expressing their voluntary commitment to the protection of the marine environment as well as the Corporate Social Responsibility of the Greek maritime community: Allseas Marine S.A., Arcadia Shipmanagement Co. Ltd., Athenian Sea Carriers Ltd., Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (Hellas) SPLLC, Diana Shipping Services S.A., Dianik Bross Shipping Corporation S.A., Eurobulk Ltd., Genimar Shipping & Trading S.A., Kyla Shipping Enterprises, Minerva Marine Inc., Minoan Lines, Optimum Ship Services Ltd., Administration and Management of Thisvi Biotias Industrial Area SA, Metropolitan College and Environmental Protection Engineering SA.

Worth mentioning is the wide participation of the educational community in this initiative. Schoolchildren and teachers, members of the "HELMEPA Junior" Program, young "HELMEPA Cadets" and other kids from 98 Kindergartens, Elementary and High Schools, volunteered enthusiastically to the actions.

Cleanups were also organized by local authorities, companies and environmental organizations, management bodies of protected areas, cultural societies, seafarers, sailing clubs and citizen groups. Important was the support provided to local actions by Coast Guard Officers of 20 Port Authorities, who following the instructions of the Marine Environment Protection Directorate of the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy organized and supervised the safe implementation of cleanups.

Underwater, 68 divers carried out 21 cleanups of the seabed at Ag. Theodoroi, Alinda on Leros, Aspropyrgos, Chersonissos in Crete, the wider Corinth region, Heraklion, Koroni, Lake Vouliagmeni-Heraion, Lechaion, Loutraki and Volos, removing a total of 6,247 litter items weighing a total of 4 tons. They found, among other, 1,283 aluminum beverage cans and 405 glass bottles, numerous plastics such as 906 bottles, 598 caps/lids and 412 bags, 222 metres of rope, 110 nets and fishing line, 241 metal pipes and 73 containers, 72 tyres and other car parts, 58 batteries, 45 boat parts, 11 anchors, 6 sunbeds and 5 beach umbrellas, a flood light and a boiler, a garbage bin, a bicycle frame, a toilet flush and a 9-metre hose!

Commemorative Participation Diplomas were awarded to the coordinators of actions, kids and young volunteers.

HELMEPA wishes to thank all participants for sending the message that the solution to the problem lies in our own hands and that we must change habits that harm our planet, such as the overconsumption of single use plastics.

As the protection of the marine environment requires constant effort and vigilance, we invite you to register your participation in the Month of Action for the Marine Environment, which HELMEPA is coordinating from 15 September to 15 October 2018, in the framework of the International Coastal Cleanup campaign, with National Geographic as Strategic Communications Partner.

Students from Shanghai Maritime University visited HELMEPA˘s Exhibition

On Thursday 2 August, 30 students from Shanghai Maritime University visited HELMEPA˘s Exhibition hosted at the building of CERES Company, in Piraeus.

The visit took place within the framework of the annual summer educational seminar conducted by the Department of Shipping Trade & Transport of the University of the Aegean. The students were accompanied by Professor Ms Helen Thanopoulou, Vice-Rector of Academic Affairs & Quality Assurance, and Assistant Professor Mr. Ioannis Lagoudis from the aforementioned Department.

The students were informed about the goals and the activities of HELMEPA and enjoyed a guided tour of the environmental Exhibition by a scientific staff member of the association.

The 55th Aegean Sailing Regatta came to a close

The 55th Aegean Sailing Regatta, which was organised by the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club – HORC and this year was dedicated to the protection of the seas in cooperation with HELMEPA, came to a close on 30th July with the prize giving ceremony at the Aegean Naval Administration.

The motto "To Save the Seas" was spread by the crews of the boats participating in the Rally and that of the escorting Hellenic Navy Ship "Commander BLESSAS" with symbolic beach cleanups that took place on the islands-stops of the Regatta, Amorgos and Lipsi, under the coordination of HELMEPA scientific staff members.

HELMEPA´s Chairman, Dr G. Gratsos participated in the closing ceremony, awarding a prize to the 1st overall winner of the Class Orc club, while also receiving a commemorative plaque, which HORC presented to HELMEPA for their mutual cooperation in the 55th Aegean Sailing Regatta.

HELMEPA thanks all the volunteers that participated in the cleanups, as well as the Municipalities and local associations that contributed in the organisation of the actions, hoping that the message of this year´s Regatta will sensitize all those enjoying Greek beaches in order to keep them clean.

Update on QUALSHIP 21 / E-ZERO

According to data published by the USCG for July 2018, current holders of the QUALSHIP 21 Certificate include a total of 25 HELMEPA member vessels managed by 11 companies, and the E-Zero Designation 6 vessels managed by 3 companies. The following table shows the member vessels number per Managing Company:

Managing Company Number of Vessels *
Qualship 21 E-Zero
Total number of member vessels 25 6

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

Project "Clean Islands" starts in the island of Naxos

The Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association - HELMEPA and volunteer divers of Aegean Rebreath in collaboration with the Municipality and the Port Authority of Naxos, with the participation of volunteers of the Naxos Wildlife Conservation Society and the Ecological Recycling Company, carried out a three-day action for the cleanup of beaches, reefs and other parts of the seabed at the island of Naxos.

The initiative is part of the "Clean Islands" program, implemented by HELMEPA and Aegean Rebreath in the islands of Aegina, Kea, Kythnos, Naxos, Poros, Spetses and Marmari in Evia with the support of the A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation. By carrying out joint clean-up actions on shores and the seabed, the program aims at pollution prevention and protection of the marine environment by informing and sensitizing fishermen, local stakeholders and the wider public.

As most beaches in Naxos were generally clean, beach cleanups were focused on the northern side of the island and particularly on the beaches of Ammith and Abram, where due to the winds many garbage end up floating in the sea. Also, the beach of Agiassos was cleaned to the south of the island, while underwater cleanups took place at the port of Agia Anna and a reef in Agiassos, where nets, car tires and other bulky items were pulled up.

A special protocol based on European and international standards was used to record litter, so that the results will help to improve scientific knowledge of garbage on coasts and seabed of island regions in Greece. Furthermore, environmental awareness material was distributed to tourism agencies and local stakeholders.

HELMEPA warmly thanks the volunteers who participated in the actions, the Municipality and the Port Authority of the island of Naxos for their contribution, the Naxos Wildlife Protection Association for the valuable guidance, the local media for the promotion of the activities and the A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation which supports the program.

With our new volunteers-partners divers of Aegean Rebreath, we renew our appointment at the next stops of the "Clean Islands" program.

Environmental Awards 2018 honor HELMEPA

On Tuesday, July 10, 2018, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association - HELMEPA received an Honorary Award by the institution Environmental Awards 2018, organized for the 5th consecutive year by Boussias Communications "for advancing environmental awareness at all levels of the shipping community since 1982 and for the voluntary environmental program HELMEPA Junior sunce 1993".

The Award ceremony for best practices implemented in Greece for the protection of the environment and sustainability, took place at the Ariadne Estate in Varibobi, and was attended by more than 300 high-level representatives of both the private and public sectors.

The honorary award was presented to HELMEPA by the Judging Committee of the Environmental Awards 2018 separately from the normal application process, for the association˘s sensitivity, work and offer to the environment in its areas of activity.

All those awarded deserve our congratulations for their efforts towards the protection of our country˘s natural environment.

New issue of 'The HELMEPA Navigator' Technical Bulletin (No. 141)

Issue No 141 of our Technical Bulletin "The HELMEPA Navigator" has been published, including articles on the following topics:

  • "2020 is closer than we think" - overview of HELMEPA Conference at Posidonia 2018
  • Practical contingency measures in the event of Ballast Water Management System failure - an INTERTANKO guidance
  • World Meteorological Organization´s Voluntary Observing Ships Scheme - Developments in MSC 99
  • Performance of Flag States and Recognized Organizations and 2017 inspection results in Paris MoU

Note: "The HELMEPA Navigator" Technical Bulletin is published both in English and Greek. It is sent electronically to HELMEPA member companies and seafarers, and is also available for download on our website (Member's Login).

HELMEPA's Scholarships

Another 5 young scientists will have the opportunity to pursue their dreams by carrying out postgraduate studies during the 2018-19 academic year, as scholars of ÇĹLMEPA. The new scholars will join the group of another 32 young people, who since 1998 have received ÇĹLMEPA scholarships for shipping and environmental studies at well-known universities of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, France and Greece.

The scholarships, reaching a total sum of ¤45,000, are awarded by HELMEPA's Board of Directors for postgraduate studies. This year, 34 high-quality submissions were received and examined by the Board, which decided to award the following scholarships honoring the memory of important HELMEPA personalities:

The "George P. Livanos" scholarship to Mr. Nikolaos Voutyrakos, a distinguished graduate of the Law School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, for the acquisition of an LLM Master of Law specializing on International Maritime Arbitration at the University of Cambridge.

The "Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos" scholarship, to the following graduates:

Ms Afroditi Grigoropoulou of the Biology Dept of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens for postgraduate studies on Ecology, Environmental Management and Restoration at the University of Barcelona,
Ms Elisavet Papalou of the Shipping and Industry School of the University of Piraeus for postgraduate studies on Sustainable Development at the Charokopeio University of Athens, and
Ms Panagiota Ioannidou of the Environmental School of the University of Aegean for postgraduate studies on Protection, Maintenance and Restoration of Cultural Buildings, at the Polytechnic School of the Aristoteleian University of Thessaloniki.

The "Stavros Daifas" scholarship, kind donation of Ms Irene St. Daifas, General Secretary of the Board of Directors of HELMEPA, to Ms Alexia Santourian, a distinguished graduate of the Dept of Shipping Studies of the University of Piraeus for MSc Marine Technology at Newcastle University.

HELMEPA thanks all 34 candidates for their interest and wholeheartedly congratulates the new scholars, whishing them all good health and every success in their future plans!

Thanking letter by the United Nations

It is with great satisfaction that we received the following letter from the United Nations' Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea regarding HELMEPA's 2018 public awareness campaign on the threat of plastic marine pollution.

As an accredited by the UN non-governmental organization, regular participant in the meetings of the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) and Partner of UNEP's Mediterranean Action Plan for over 30 years, HELMEPA will continue cooperating with all competent international, regional and national bodies towards addressing the global threat of marine litter and plastic pollution in particular.

Smiley face

HELMEPA at the URBAN WASTE project activities in Kavala

At the invitation of the Waste Management Authority of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, HELMEPA participated on June 28, in an international meeting in Kavala on waste management, in the framework of the European project URBAN WASTE. The project has received funding from the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and representatives of 28 stakeholders from 14 European countries attended the meeting.

HELMEPA´s scientific staff member, Eleni Tsolka, presented the dimensions of marine pollution and the share of responsibility of all of us in its generation as well as in its elimination together with the association's initiatives to protect our seas and beaches. Following the meeting and at the initiative of the Municipality of Kavala, HELMEPA coordinated a voluntary cleanup of the Rapsani beach, in which Energean Oil & Gas personnel participated.

The cooperation between HELMEPA and the Region of Macedonia-Thrace and the Municipality of Kavala has been very constructive during recent years. In particular, in 2012 and 2015, the city of Kavala hosted HELMEPA´s mobile environmental exhibition, which was visited by local schoolchildren, as part of the association´s awareness campaigns executed with the support of Lloyd´s Register Foundation.

HELMEPA salutes the initiatives and efforts of the Municipality to further develop strategies for the prevention and proper management of urban waste.

Students of Hamburg Business School (HSBA) visit HELMEPA headquarters

A group of students enrolled in the MBA-Shipping program of the Hamburg School of Business Administration (HSBA), accompanied by Dr. Orestis Schinas, Professor of Shipping and Ship Finance, Çead of Maritime Business School, visited HELMEPA headquarters yesterday, Tuesday 26 June.

During the visit, which was part of their educational activities, the students had the opportunity to watch HELMEPA's Maritime Training Center Full Mission Bridge Simulator in action, while the Chairman of the Association, Dr. Georgios Gratsos, informed them of the aims and activities of HELMEPA and discussed with them about contemporary shipping issues.

Presentation of RADM J. Nadeau USCG at HELMEPA Posidonia Conference

Following on HELMEPA Posidonia Conference, at the following link you may read the presentation of RADM J. Nadeau, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, USCG, as posted on the Coast Guard Maritime Commons blog:

Evaluation of Simulator Seminar on 19-21 June 2018
HS2 ''BRM Refresh and Advanced Ship-Handling''

Participation: 2 Deck officers of Member Companies and 1 Hellenic Navy Officer

Participants evaluate the level of Average Satis-
Good Very Good Excellent
Quality - - -
Usefulness - -
33% 67%
Training material -
Personal familiarization with the topics BEFORE the seminar -
67% 33%
Personal familiarization with the topics AFTER the seminar - - -
- 100%

Above data accumulatively for all seminars at: Participation and Certification.

HELMEPA's Conference at Posidonia 2018:
''2020 is closer than we think: Scrubbers, Fuels and Ballast Water Treatment''

On the occasion of the International Shipping Exhibition POSIDONIA 2018, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association - HELMEPA held a conference titled "2020 is closer than we think: Scrubbers, Fuels and Ballast Water Treatment" on Wednesday, June 6, at the conference hall kindly offered gratis by the organizers Posidonia SA.

The 400 attendees were welcomed by the Chairman of HELMEPA Dr. G. Gratsos, giving the tone for the presentations of the first panel "Emissions and Fuels", which he coordinated. The distinguished speakers, Ms C. Røjgaard, Global Technical Manager of Bureau Veritas, Dr N. Liapis, Supply and Operations Director of ELINOIL S.A., Dr V. Tyrogalas, Director of Martechnic Navigation Ltd, Mr P. Zachariades, Technical Director of Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management Ltd and Member of HELMEPA's BoD unfolded their views on pressing issues regarding compliance of the shipping industry with the forthcoming global requirement for low sulfur fuels. They raised issues such as availability of fuels, possible risks from their use and compliance alternatives i.e. scrubbers, while RADM J. Nadeau, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy of the US Coast Guard, approached the subject from the point of the regulatory Authority.

The second panel, themed "Ballast Water Treatment", was coordinated by Mr. D. Fafalios, Chairman of the Technical Committee of INTERCARGO. The speakers, Mr Ch. Anastasakis, Senior Specialist, Technical Support Office of Hellenic Lloyd's SA, Ms E. Polychronopoulou, Executive Vice Chairperson of Environmental Protection Engineering SA and Dr. K. Stanzel, Managing Director of INTERTANKO, referred to the developments and needs arising from the implementation of the IMO International Convention on Ballast Water Management, treatment technologies and issues such as retrofitting and measures to address potential problems. The session concluded with Mr S. Xiaodong, General Manager of Shanghai Costamare ShipManagement Co. Ltd., who presented the current state of ballast water management in China.

Dr. Gratsos presented commemorative Diplomas to the speakers in recognition of their contribution to the successful implementation of the Conference. Furthermore, the Chairman offered a Commemorative Plaque to Mr. John Maragoudakis, Commodore of the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club (HORC), in recognition of his long standing cooperation and warm support to the Association's work.

The Conference ended with a reception for HELMEPA guests, who had thus the opportunity of further discussions with the speakers.

INTERMEPA Members focus on fight against plastic pollution

Celebrating 12 years of existence, the Steering Committee of INTERMEPA, the International Marine Environment Protection Association, convened in Athens yesterday, 7 June, on the occasion of Posidonia 2018. Present Members of the Committee were Warwick Norman, Chairman of AUSMEPA, George Tsavliris, Chairman of CYMEPA, Dr. George Gratsos and Capt. Dimitris Mitsatsos, Chairman and Director General of HELMEPA respectively, Joseph Hughes and Carleen Lyden-Walker, Chairman and Executive Director of NAMEPA respectively and Sadan Kaptanoglu, Chairperson of TURMEPA. HELMEPA's BoD Treasurer Nicolas Bafaloukos and Legal Advisor Nicolas Gerassimou together with Christiana Prekezes, Executive Coordinator and Costas Triantafillou, Assistant Executive Coordinator, were also in attendance.

Opening the meeting, the Chairman wished all member MEPAs a happy 12th anniversary and called on each Association to present the activities carried out during the past biennium. Ideas towards strengthening the cooperation between MEPAs were also exchanged while Mr. Bafaloukos informed the Committee on the developments pertaining to the newly founded United Arab Emirates MEPA (UAEMEPA).

Following the proposal of INTERMEPA's Vice Chairperson, Ms Kaptanoglu to adopt a common theme every two years, the SC unanimously accepted the idea of HELMEPA's Executive Coordinator that all MEPAs streamline their activities around the topic "Beat Plastic Pollution", inspired by the focus of this year's "World Oceans Day", celebrated today, 8 June.

In compliance with the provisions of INTERMEPA's Constitution, the members of the Committee unanimously agreed that Mr. Norman and Ms Kaptanoglu continue to serve for a further two-year term as Chairperson and Vice Chairperson, respectively. They both thanked the Committee for renewing their trust in them and closed the meeting wishing them all every success in their future endeavors.

Norway and Greece join forces to #BEATMARINEPOLLUTION

To mark World Environment Day 2018 and Posidonia, the Norwegian Embassy in Athens, in partnership with HELMEPA, organized a breakfast seminar on how the industry, organizations and individuals can help prevent, reduce and remove plastic pollution from the ocean.

More than 120 representatives, including top executives from Norwegian and Greek maritime companies, gathered to discuss concrete ways of coming to grips with this urgent priority. Outstanding efforts of Greek foundations and organizations, with youth, fishermen and coastal communities as well as shipowners and crew were highlighted, while all agreed that there is a major role for industry to play in driving innovation, technological development and new standards for how business is done. The goal of the seminar was to inspire to concrete action by highlighting the many ways actors are approaching the challenge, in Norway and in Greece.

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Jørn Gjelstad, underlined that the ocean economy will be a fast growing and absolutely necessary part of the future global economy, and that economic growth must go hand in hand with environmental sustainability. "This concerns our human behavior: our pattern of consumption, how we use and re-use, and how we manage the waste", he said. Norway has recently launched its first fully electric ferry connection, and ferry companies are modernizing their fleets as the Norwegian authorities have required zero-emission technology solutions for the coming years. He encouraged Greece to look into the possibilities and benefits green ferries could bring with all the islands and high number of ferry crossings every year. Norway has taken a leadership role in fighting marine pollution recently and is currently taking fast-paced measures to drive solutions to the challenge.

Mr Sturla Henriksen, head of the UN Global Compact on Ocean gave a global perspective on sustainability of the ocean space, highlighting how the industry together can set new standards that change the course of developments. "We have to acknowledge", he underlined, "that most, if not all problems related to the oceans have their root-cause and solutions on shore. Ocean clean-up action is very important, at the same time we need to make a collective effort to stop the supply of new litter into the oceans. All plastic ever produced is still around". "During a 10 minutes presentation like mine today", Mr. Henriksen said, "150 tons of new plastic litter will have entered the oceans". Mr. Henriksen was appointed Special Advisor to the United Nations Global Compact on Ocean January 1st 2018, a position he took up after a decade serving as the CEO of the Norwegian Shipowner's Association. In his time as CEO, he has had the opportunity to interact with many of the major shipowners globally, among them Greek – and is optimistic that there is a growing awareness and commitment.

Dr Angeliki Kosmopolou, Director of AC Laskaridis Charitable Foundation held a thought-provoking presentation about the history, scope and consequences of plastic pollution. Suggesting effective measures for prevention, recycling, and cleanup of plastic waste in a circular economy, she encouraged all to take action and outlined a number of suggestions for approaching the problem. The organization's contribution to fighting marine litter involves coastal cleanups and awareness-raising workshops, shore and underwater cleanups on 10 islands, empowerment of special groups, e.g. fishermen and entrepreneurs. A success story is helping turn Sikinos into the first plastic straw free island.

Dr. Vassilios Mamaloukas Frangoulis from Environmental Protection Engineering (EPE) shed light on the effort to clean up an oil spill in the Saronic Gulf last September, while minimizing waste. He referred to his company having successfully responded to more than 2,000 marine pollution incidents that occurred over the last four decades, offering a wide range of services addressing to waste management and response to spill of oil and chemicals in the ocean. Dr. Mamaloukas Frangoulis urged the audience to fight pollution while minimizing the waste into the oceans. He too stressed the importance of communication and educational programs as tools to create awareness and change behavior.

Ms Christiana Prekezes, Executive Coordinator of HELMEPA spoke enthusiastically about the organization's various initiatives, targeting all relevant stakeholders ranging from shipowners to mariners to Greek youth. Among many programs, the association organizes regular nationwide beach clean ups with strong participation from the young generation of Greeks. Since 1993, more than 105,000 schoolchildren members of "HELMEPA Junior" have implemented beach cleanups, participated in recycling projects and motivated their local communities throughout Greece. Ms Prekezes closed her presentation by urging all to take a pledge this summer for clean seas and beaches.

The seminar concluded with questions posed by the audience and answers offered by the panel.

More than 230,000 volunteers-participants in the ''Let's Cleanup Europe'' campaign

According to data from national coordinators, more than 230,000 volunteers have participated so far in 2,800 cleanups of beaches, shallow waters and inland areas of 11 European countries, in the framework of this year's "Let's Cleanup Europe" campaign. In Greece, the campaign is coordinated by HELMEPA with participation already exceeding 5,000 volunteers in 118 cleanups throughout Greece, as depicted on the map.

Once again at the forefront of these actions are schoolchildren-members of the "HELMEPA Junior" and "Cadets" programs and their teachers, along with HELMEPA Member-companies. Also, it is worth noting the important support provided to these actions by local Port Authroities in coastal and island areas of the country.

In Attica, on 12 May, Minoan Lines, an associate corporate Member of HELMEPA, organized the cleanup of Freatyda beach, in Piraeus, with the participation of "HELMEPA Junior" children-members and their teachers from the 2nd Primary School of Nea Smyrni. On 13 and 14 May, cleanup actions continued by member-companies Athenian Sea Carriers, in Vravrona and Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (Hellas) in Kavouri of Vouliagmeni, respectively. On Sunday 13 Ěay, members of WISTA Hellas along with their families cleaned up the beach in Glyfada.

Moreover, HELMEPA will coordinate cleanups on Sunday 20 May with Member companies Diana Shipping Services at Kavouri, Genimar Shipping & Trading SA at Agia Marina in Koropi and Kyla Shipping at Votsalakia beach, Piraeus.

These volunatry actions will continue until mid-June and those wishing to express their sensitivity for the protection of seas and beaches may register their participation at the Campaign's web-page

HELMEPA at Posidonia 2018

HELMEPA is once again participating in the International Maritime Exhibition "Posidonia 2018", organizing a Conference titled "2020 is closer than we think: Scrubbers, Fuels and Ballast Water Treatment". The event will take place at the Posidonia Conference Hall of the Metropolitan Exhibition Centre on Wednesday 6 June 2018, between 10.30 and 14.00.

You can view the agenda by clicking here and if you wish to register at the Conference please click below:

Álso, you can visit HELMEPA at Stand 2.212.

Conference description

By 2020 suitable low sulfur fuel oil should be available worldwide complying with the new sulfur regulations. However, other than the regulation requiring sulfur content of 0.5%, the standards for such fuels have not been formulated nor do they seem forthcoming, while there are serious concerns regarding the availability and safety of low sulfur bunkers and scrubbers.

Additionally, with respect to implementation of the International Ballast Water Management Convention, which is now in effect, the shipping industry is facing a daunting set of regulatory timelines and strict rules that must be adhered to for continued operation, while numerous questions still remain.

Featuring expert speakers from both the technical and regulatory level, HELMEPA's Conference will seek to provide answers to many of the challenges still lying ahead on these crucial issues.

HELMEPA at GASLOG's European Crew Conference

GASLOG, an Associate Corporate Member of HELMEPA, held its European Crew Conference at Divani Apollon Hotel, in Athens, 8-9 May 2018, under the title "Guiding the Way into the 21st Century".

During the first day of the Conference, HELMEPA was invited and presented the issue of "Marine Litter, Plastics and Microplastics". The association's Executive Coordinator Ms Christiana Prekezes and the Assistant Coordinator Mr. Costas Triantafillou shared the presentation on the sources and spread of plastic waste pollution globally, the results on the environment as well as the impact on the health of marine ecosystems and eventually the human health itself. Ways to reduce ship generated plastic waste were also discussed.

The CEO Mr. Paul Wogan, Executives and shore based competent personnel together with about 130 officers attended the presentation. A number of interesting questions were posed that gave further food for thought on what we may all do to reduce our environmental footprint regarding plastics.

HELMEPA wishes to thank GASLOG for the opportunity it gave the association to address such a large number of mariners as well as to congratulate them for their commitment and proactive approach to pollution prevention, which is actually the essence of HELMEPA's philosophy.

New issue of The HELMEPA Monitor (No. 17)

The new, 17th issue of our electronic publication "The HELMEPA Monitor" has been released. This initiative was undertaken as a result of the close collaboration between the US Coast Guard and HELMEPA and we believe that it is a useful tool for the companies and crews of the ships trading in US waters.

The current issue includes the following articles:

  • Overview of 2017 USCG Port State Control statistics
  • Lessons learned from the S.S. EL FARO casualty regarding the main propulsion lube oil system
  • Ěain research advances 8 years after the Deep Water Horizon disaster
  • Update on Ballast Water Management System Type Approval Status

Note: "The HELMEPA Monitor" is published exclusively in English. The new and previous issues are available for HELMEPA members on our website.

HELMEPA supports the Oceanos NTUA research program

On May 9th, HELMEPA's Director General Dimitris C. Mitsatsos and scientific staff visited the Laboratory of Aerodynamic Naval Engineering of the School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), on the occasion of HELMEPA’s sponsorship of the Oceanos NTUA research program. The aim of the project is to design energy efficient ship models to represent Greece at the worldwide competition "Hydrocontest" in September 2018, in France.

The Dean Professor and coordinator of the program, Grigoris Grigoropoulos, guided the visitors to the laboratory area and presented the achievements of his longstanding operation. The Oceanos NTUA students, who were at that time working on the 2 ship models, provided a detailed account of the structural features and the improvements made in their design to achieve the maximum efficiency of the ships.

The enthusiasm of these students and their attempt to promote NTUA's research work fills us with optimism for the distinction of Greek scientists worldwide. We wish them every success at the contest!

Keep Oceans Free of Plastics

Ôhis year, on every occasion the international community places an emphasis on plastic pollution and its detrimental impact on the terrestrial, marine and coastal environment. The themes of both the Earth Day, which was recently celebrated and the World Oceans Day that is fast approaching are centered on plastic pollution prevention, the need for urgent solutions and the link between the health of the oceans and humans. In shipping, the Member-States of the International Maritime Organization-IMO, in April 2018, decided the adoption of a special Action Plan, in the framework of the United Nations Agenda 2030, to address the serious threat posed by plastics.

Therefore, this year HELMEPA's "Seagull" message "NO garbage, NO plastics in our seas and on our beaches" is as contemporary as ever, despite having already completed 34 years! This is also confirmed by the extensive amounts of plastics, such as straws, bottles, bags and packaging, which are collected every year by volunteers during cleanups of our country's seabed, beaches, lakes, rivers and forests.

This summer's public awareness campaign of HELMEPA, besides the "Seagull" spot broadcasted gratis by TV stations, also includes 2 posters designed by the creator of the "Seagull", Mr. Stavros Georgiades.

The first poster with the Seagull flying above the coastline while removing bottles, cups and other plastics is addressed to the wider public. Its projection throughout Greece will be carried out by the 6,150 schoolchildren-members of the "HELMEPA Junior" program. The second poster, addressed to the wider maritime community, depicts the globe entrapped in a plastic bag. Its message "Keep Oceans Free of Plastics" will be projected worldwide by the Members of HELMEPA, 408 vessels, 180 managing companies and shipping organizations and 13,500 Greek seafarers.

May this awareness raising campaign highlight the threat of plastics and the duty of each and every one of us to wipe out this danger that we ourselves created!

Electronic recording of beach litter with the Marine Litter Watch App

HELMEPA participated in the 4th annual Stakeholder Workshop on the electronic application for marine litter monitoring and recording Marine Litter Watch (MLW), which took place on 25-26 April, in Copenhagen, at the premises of the European Environment Agency – ĹĹÁ.

The European app MLW for tablets and smart phones has been developed by the EEA and is freely available on the internet, to be used as a tool for the recording of beach litter in a standard and harmonized way during voluntary activities.

The events and the data collected by volunteers all over Europe by means of this app, as well as relevant statistical figures and diagrams, are accessible via an open online map and may be deployed for the monitoring and assessment of the environmental status of European seas, according to the mandates of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The particular objectives of this year’s workshop were the following, among others:

  • to provide information on the results of the first 2 marine litter monitoring campaigns “Marine Litter Watch Month” in 2016 and 2017,
  • to plan the 3rd campaign scheduled for this September, aiming at an expanded engagement of volunteers,
  • to discuss the appropriate practices for training volunteers on the methodology for beach litter monitoring, in order to make them capable of collecting high quality and reliable data, suitable for utilization at a next level (e.g. incorporation into environmental indexes, supplement current and future European and regional policies, such as the new EU strategy on plastics),
  • to share experiences gathered from the use of the app up to this day, with a view to detect any problems and to further improve it, and
  • to explore the possibility of using the app for litter surveys in other aquatic environments as well, such as lake and river banks.

Volunteers participating in the "Let's Cleanup Europe" Campaign (4-25 May 2018) coordinated in Greece by HELMEPA, and wishing to use MLW in their clean-up event, are welcome to contact our Environmental Sector ( phone +30 210 9343088) for more information and instructions.

''Let's Cleanup Europe'' Campaign 4-25 May 2018

Every year, millions of tons of plastics and other litter pollute our seas, beaches, rivers, forests and other natural areas. This is primarily due to the lack of a heightened environmental awareness among the wider public that leads to indifference, as well as a lack of suitable infrastructure and waste management practices.

Aiming to project the serious problem of litter pollution and the need to prevent it, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association-HELMEPA is coordinating for the 5th consecutive year in Greece, from 4 to 25 May 2018, the "Let's Cleanup Europe" Campaign, which began in 2014 with the support of the European Commission.

Ôhe theme "End Plastic Pollution!" of this year's Earth Day, celebrated on Sunday 22 Ápril, provides the ideal opportunity for this pan-European campaign to take action in the same direction. So let's demonstrate our environmental sensitivity and concern by organizing or taking part in the symbolic cleanup of a nearby beach, the banks of a river or lake, parts of the seabed, a forest area, a park or any other place in our neighborhood where there are plastics and other types of litter.

Students, parents, teachers, Port Authorities, Municipal and Regional Authorities, companies, Embassies, environmental organizations, mountaineering and nature conservation societies, scuba-diving clubs, sailing clubs, local associations, volunteer citizen groups. Already more than 1,200 volunteers from HELMEPA Member-companies, schools and public and private entities have scheduled 22 cleanups in the areas depicted on the map.

HELMEPA's website features the e-registration form and poster, guidelines for organizing your cleanup, the Data Card and other awareness raising material to support your action.

Those who wish, may collect separately plastics and other recyclable materials, which will be transported to recycling plants in cooperation with the Hellenic Recovery-Recycling Corporation (HE.R.R.Co.).

HELMEPA will process the information from the Data Cards and publish the results in order to contribute towards creating a better understanding of the issue and addressing it more effectively.

HELMEPA Scholarships for 2018-2019

The Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association - HELMEPA, honoring the memories of its Founder, George P. Livanos, Honorary Chairman, Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos and Founding Member Stavros Daifas, announces 3 scholarships valued at EUR 15,000 each, for candidates pursuing post graduate courses (Masters' level) starting in the 2018-19 academic year, in Greece or any other country of the European Union, in the following fields:

  • Shipping, in memory of George P. Livanos. Priority is given to those applicants whose parents are Greek seafarers.
  • Environmental Studies, in memory of Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos. Priority is given to those applicants who in the past have been members of the "HELMEPA Junior" and "HELMEPA Cadets" environmental programs.
  • Naval Engineering - Marine/Offshore Engineering and Technology, in memory of Stavros Daifas. The Scholarship is a kind offer of his daughter, Ms. Irene Daifas, General Secretary of HELMEPA's Board of Directors.

Applications with the necessary documentation, as specified on HELMEPA's website, must be sent by Friday 8 June 2018, to the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association - HELMEPA, 5 Pergamou Street, Nea Smyrni 17121, Athens - Greece (tel. +30 210 9343088) with clear indication for the specific scholarship for which it is being submitted.

New Board of Directors of HELMEPA

On Tuesday, 27 March, the candidates elected by the 36th General Assembly of HELMEPA, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association, met as a Body and with a secret ballot formed the new Board of Directors, as follows:

Chairman: Dr George Gratsos
Vice Chairman: John Xylas
General Secretary: Irene Daifas
Special Secretary: Aikaterini Los
Treasurer: Nicolas Bafaloukos
Deputy Treasurer: Michael Dalacouras

    Members: (in alphabetical order)
    Athanassios Beis
    Marietta-Antonia Chandris
    John Chalas
    George Karageorgiou
    Ilias Ladas
    Dimitrios Matthaiou
    Semiramis Paliou
    Aristidis Pittas
    Panagiotis Zachariadis

Assuming his duties, the Chairman thanked his Colleagues for honoring him with their vote and stated that the Board and he personally will make every effort so that HELMEPA continues its voluntary work of informing and mobilizing the human element in Shipping and the wider society.

Reference for the new MEPA and HELMEPA's Chairman awarding at the ISCO Newsletter

At the link, you may see the March issue of the ISCO Newsletter which mentions the establishment of UAEMEPA in Dubai (page 4), as well as the awarding of Dr. G. Gratsos with the 2018 GREEN4SEA Leadership Award (page 11).

36th General Assembly of HELMEPA

Today, Thursday 22nd March 2018, the 36th General Assembly of HELMEPA Members took place, in accordance with the Association’s Constitution. The Assembly, which was chaired by Dr G. Gratsos with acting Secretaries Ms V. Kallipolitou of Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement (TCM) S.A. and Mr C. Piperas of Chartworld Shipping Corporation, was hosted by CERES Shipping, at their premises, in Piraeus.

The Assembly unanimously approved the activities of 2017 presented by the Director General, Mr D. C. Mitsatsos. The Treasurer of the Board, Mr Í. Bafaloukos, described the overall financial operation during the past year, while the auditors, Moore Stephens S.A., presented their relevant report. The Assembly approved the 2017 financial operation, released the Directors and auditors from any responsibility for the financial management of last year and elected Moore Stephens S.A. as the 2018 auditors.

The secret ballot that followed resulted in the election of the following Members of the new Board, in alphabetical order:

  • Bafaloukos Nicolas
  • Beis Athanassios
  • Chandris Marietta-Antonia
  • Daifas Irene
  • Dalacouras Michael
  • Gratsos George
  • Karageorgiou George
  • Ladas Ilias
  • Los Aikaterini
  • Matthaiou Dimitrios
  • Paliou Semiramis
  • Pittas Aristidis
  • Xylas John
  • Zachariadis Panagiotis, and
  • Chalas John, General Secretary of the Panhellenic Seafarers’ Federation (PNO), permanent Board Member

Alternate Members are the following, in alphabetical order:

  • Andreou Gabriel
  • Avlonitis Evangelos
  • Dimitriou Constantinos
  • Pafliotis Theofilos
  • Vlachos Spyridon

The elected Members will meet on Tuesday 27 March 2018 in order for the new Board to be formed according to the Constitution.

The Assembly of the Members of HELMEPA came to a close with a light buffet kindly offered, as always, by CERES Shipping.

The Chairman of HELMEPA received the 2018 GREEN4SEA Leadership Award

The Chairman of HELMEPA Dr. George Gratsos received the 2018 GREEN4SEA Leadership Award, sponsored by Arcadia Shipmanagement, Associate Corporate Member of HELMEPA, on the occasion of the GREEN4SEA Conference, on 6th March at the Yacht Club of Greece.

Dr. Gratsos was honored for "demonstrating innovative, initiative-driven leadership by holding various positions throughout his career impacting significantly the national and international shipping industry".

Photo: Dr. G. Gratsos with Mr. D. Matthaiou, Managing Director, Arcadia Shipmanagement and Member of BoD of HELMEPA

The 8th MEPA-Marine Environment Protection Association was created

Yesterday, 28 February 2018, the Director General of HELMEPA, Dimitris C. Mitsatsos and the Chairman of Dubai Council for Marine & Maritime Industries (DCMMI), Mr. Khamis Juma Buamim, signed the Inaugural Declaration of UAEMEPA, the United Arab Emirates Marine Environment Protection Association.

The signing ceremony took place at the beginning of the 9th Offshore Arabia Conference at Dubai in the presence of the Secretary General of IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, UAE high standing functionaries and representatives of organizations and companies from within world shipping.

The new MEPA is the 7th consecutive association, to the creation of which HELMEPA contributed, following relevant request of the interested parties. Mr. Kitack Lim congratulated HELMEPA for spreading the volunteer spirit of MEPAs, whose Members sustain the financial operation of the associations. Apart from HELMEPA in Greece, these entities are today: CYMEPA (Cyprus), TURMEPA (Turkey), URUMEPA (Uruguay), AUSMEPA (Australia), NAMEPA (USA), UKRMEPA (Ukraine) and UAEMEPA.

HELMEPA offers the expertise it has gained during the 35 years of its existence to UAEMEPA, together with the wish to succeed in its mission for the protection of the environment in the fragile sea area of the Gulf.

Announcement for the visitors of our website

We would like to inform you that we are launching a new initiative to provide a more comprehensive view to those interested in HELMEPA's maritime training initiatives.

At the end of each seminar of the 2018 Training Program and simulation course, we will be posting data on attendance (number of bridge, engine, Navy and Coast Guard officers, company staff, etc.) and evaluation of the seminar by the participants in the special section of our website: Participation and Certification.

We believe that this way we provide to those who are interested a more direct and detailed picture of the development of HELMEPA's voluntary training program, implementing the founding mission "To Save the Seas".

For more information on the training seminars, simulator courses and e-learning program you may contact us at: and +30 210 9341233 (ext. 1).

If you wish to take part as a Member of HELMEPA in our joint effort for clean seas and safe ships, please send an email to or call at + 30 210 9243088 (ext. 2).

HELMEPA welcomes its new Members, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and vessels under their management

Today, Tuesday 20 February 2018, at HELMEPA's offices, Mr. Michael Dalacouras, Deputy Treasurer of the Board of Directors, met with Captain Nicholas Pagonis, Associate Vice President-Fleet Captain, Global Marine Operations of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, who handed him the applications for the registration, as HELMEPA Members, of the Company and 12 cruise ships under their management. Captain Pagonis expressed his appreciation of HELMEPA's voluntary mission and its achievements during the past 35 years since the association's founding.

Mr. Dalacouras expressed the satisfaction of all in HELMEPA for the decision of Royal Caribbean Cruises, one of the world's largest cruise lines, to register the vessels with HELMEPA.

We believe that the cooperation between HELMEPA and Royal Caribbean Cruises will be mutually constructive. The voluntary training of the human factor that HELMEPA offers, will complement Royal Caribbean's spirit of pollution prevention, while HELMEPA will spread its messages to thousands of seafarers ononboard cruise ships.

HELMEPA cuts its traditional ''pita''

In the presence of the Board of Directors, the Chairmen of the Training Committee and of Moore Stephens Chartered Accountants and the staff of the Secretariat, HELMEPA's Chairman, Dr G. Gratsos cut the traditional New Year pie, yesterday, Wednesday 31 January, at the association's offices. The lucky winners who shared the "flouri" (coin) were Capt. E. Tsikalakis, President of PEPEN, who participates in the Board as representative of Capt. J. Chalas and Capt. J. Drakogiannopoulos, Chairman of HELMEPA's Training Committee and Capt. D. Mattheou, member of the Board.

Dr G. Gratsos wished to all the attendees good health and all the best for 2018 and following, the year's first meeting of the Board of Directors took place.

Congratulations to Mr Warwick Norman

We would like to congratulate Mr W. Norman, Chairman of AUSMEPA and INTERMEPA, for being bestowed with the prestigious award of the Order of Australia by his country yesterday on Australia Day and wish him every success in his endeavors.

The 2018 HELMEPA Refresher Training Program kicks off

HELMEPA, operating as a DNV GL certified "Maritime Training Center for Pollution Prevention, Safety at Sea and Environmental Awareness" launched on 16 January 2018 its 36th Annual Program of Voluntary Refresher Training.

The Program kicked off with the 2-day Seminar "Marine Environmental Awareness", based on IMO Model Course 1.38 and certified by the Maritime Authority of the Republic of Cyprus.

The 2018 Program offers also the 2-day "Safety" and "Pollution Prevention" and the 1-day "Human Element and Safety" Seminars. Again this year, these new Seminars have been developed in close cooperation with HELMEPA's Training Committee, in a way that their syllabus meets the actual training needs of Member Companies.

New topics presented this year include cyber security, prevention of enclosed lifeboat release accidents, MRV implementation, response to oil pollution from ships, the Safety II approach to safety issues and leadership-communication principles for the management of human resources on board.

Each 2-day Seminar is to be offered 5 times during the year, while the 1-day Seminar is scheduled 8 times in total. HELMEPA warmly thanks all those who are actively involved in the successful implementation of the Program, in particular the lecturers, who are experts of 12 Member Companies and Organizations, scientific staff of the National Technical University of Athens, Officers of the Hellenic Coast Guard and independent associates.

Detailed information on the Seminars is included in the Refresher Training 2018 booklet, available at HELMEPA's website (Downloads).

HELMEPA at the maritime community in Dubai

Following up on the Memorandum of Cooperation that HELMEPA Chairman Dr. George Gratsos signed with the Dubai Council for Marine and Maritime Industries on 4 May 2017, the Treasurer of HELMEPA Board of Directors, Mr. Nikos Bafaloukos, Managing Director of Fairdeal Group, organized a meeting of HELMEPA with maritime stakeholders in Dubai on 10 January 2018. Specifically, Mr. Khamis Juma Buamim, Board Member, Managing Director & Group CEO of Gulf Navigation Holding, exchanged views with Mr. D. Mitsatsos and Ms Ch. Prekezes for the better preparation of the United Arab Emirates MEPA which is expected to be found in Dubai. HELMEPA has undertaken the obligation, according to the Memorandum, to assist the initiative of the establishment of this MEPA in all its phases.

Furthermore, HELMEPA's presentation at the Offshore Arabia Conference to take place at the end of February in Dubai and under the chairmanship of Mr. Buamim, was also discussed at the meeting.

HELMEPA and AUSMEPA meeting with AMSA in Canberra

On 4 January 2018, the CEO of AMSA - Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Mr. Mick Kinley welcomed at their offices in Canberra, Mr Dimitris Mitsatsos and Ms Christiana Prekezes of HELMEPA, Mr. Warwick Norman, Chairman of AUSMEPA and INTERMEPA and Ms Julie Nash, Executive Officer of AUSMEPA. At the meeting also present was Ms Annalisse Sly, Acting Manager, Environment Standards of AMSA.

The aim of the meeting was the exchange of information and the strengthening of cooperation between HELMEPA and AMSA, which started in 2000 when AUSMEPA was established. In this spirit, HELMEPA tabled questions of Member Companies on the implementation of Australian maritime legislation requirements, on which Mr. Kinley provided clarifications and explained the respective policies of AMSA, that HELMEPA will disseminate to its Members. Ways to sustain a closer cooperation were also discussed so that HELMEPA Member vessels trading in Australian waters, timely informed, can effectively contribute to the common efforts of protecting Australian's sensitive sea areas. Last but not least, the synergy of the three organizations was discussed during the meeting.

Mr. Mitsatsos, on behalf of HELMEPA, invited Mr. Kinley to come to Greece during POSIDONIA 2018 and to address HELMEPA Conference to be held on 6 June, between 10.30 and 14.00 at the Metropolitan Expo.

On the occasion of HELMEPA's visit in Australia, Mr. W. Norman, in his capacity as INTERMEPA Chairman, exchanged views with HELMEPA's representatives on issues to be included in the agenda of the Steering Committee meeting of INTERMEPA during POSIDONIA.

24th Annual Board of Representatives of the 'HELMEPA Junior' Program

"Adults, wise up
and help us save the environment"

Twelve children, 5 to 11 years old, from Agia Paraskevi in Thessaloniki, Alexandroupoli, Antiparos, Chios, Corfu, Florina, Gargalianoi in Messinia, Gerakas in Attica, Gournes in Heraklion-Crete, Ioannina, Vagia in Viotia and Volos convened as the 24th Board of Representatives (BoR) of the "HELMEPA Junior" educational Program, on Friday 8 December in Athens. These children are the "leaders" of the most active Groups in 12 Greek Prefectures and representatives of the 7,214 children-members of the program during the school year 2016-2017.

Invited by HELMEPA, children, parents, volunteer teachers and local coordinators of schools' activities participated in two separate events, hosted by HELMEPA's Associate Member Company, COSTAMARE Shipping. The young schoolchildren convened and elected their Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretaries, shared their experiences and agreed upon their environmental messages addressed to the adult community. Teachers and parents were welcomed on behalf of the family of the late Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos and COSTAMARE by the company's Executive Vice President, Mr. Diamantis Manos and on behalf of HELMEPA's Board of Directors by the Chairman, Dr George Gratsos.

Honouring symbolically the devotion of teachers to their high duties, the Chairman presented a commemorative plaque to Mrs. Maria-Phaedra Tsialera, teacher of the sole schoolchild in the Primary School of Arkioi, in Dodecanese. Ms. Tsialera thanked HELMEPA and spoke of the adverse conditions on this little remote island as well as of the unprecedented and valuable experience of her work there, as a teacher.

Mr. Theodosis Stamatellos, Area Manager for Greece, East Mediterranean and Adriatic of Hellenic Lloyd's, Associate Corporate Member of HELMEPA, referred with warm words to the Association's voluntary environmental programs, which were supported by Lloyd's Register Foundation in the six-year period from 2011 to 2017 in 24 Greek Cities. These consisted of Educational Community and Public Awareness Campaigns on the Marine Environment, Shipping and Sciences. The outcome of this 6-year effort was presented by HELMEPA's Executive Coordinator, Mrs. Christiana Prekezes.

Afterwards, the children members of the Board of Representatives sent out their common message:

"Please do not throw down your garbage, because the environment will need assistance.
I am a small child doing as much as I can.
Wise up and give me a helping hand!"

This was followed by the presentation of commemorative diplomas and gifts to children and adults and a lunch kindly offered by COSTAMARE. The event concluded with a visit to the Planetarium of the Eugenides Foundation, organized by HELMEPA.

The HELMEPA-Lloyd's Register Foundation Campaign concludes on the island of Naxos

The "Educational Community and Public Awareness Campaign on the Marine Environment, Shipping and Sciences" came to a close in the Cyclades and specifically Filoti of Naxos with a Seminar for teachers that took place on Thursday 23 November.

This Campaign was carried out by HELMEPA between 2014 and 2017 across 14 areas of Greece with the support of Lloyd's Register Foundation (LRF)*. In total, more than 14,000 schoolchildren and 900 teachers visited, on the Campaign's expenses, the mobile exhibition that operated for 200 days in the 14 areas. Furthermore, 400 teachers participated in ‘train-the-trainer' seminars, while many voluntary activities took place in cooperation with local stakeholders.

Besides raising the environmental awareness of kids and adults, the aim of this initiative was also to provide scientific knowledge on the Campaign's themes to students and teachers of the Greek periphery and to inspire children to learn more about science, engineering and new technologies in the service of the environment and humanity.

On the island of Naxos, the mobile exhibition was hosted for 8 days at the Cultural Centre of Filoti and was visited by a total of 1,050 students from all the Primary and High Schools of the island. Moreover, during the seminar "The marine environment and us: ensuring a sustainable future" that took place in the same place, participating teachers were informed about recent scientific developments and became members of the "Marine Teachers" network.

HELMEPA wholeheartedly thanks the Society of Filotites of Naxos - Anomeritis Library for hosting the exhibition, the Municipality of Naxos for placing the Campaign under its auspices and organizing the program of school visits, the Directorate for Primary Education of Cyclades for their cooperation and above all the schoolchildren and teachers of Filoti and the rest of Naxos for their enthusiastic response to the Campaign's messages, which fills us with hope for a better future.

* 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.

Annual Meeting HELMEPA - USCG

On Tuesday 21 November 2017, the 5th consecutive annual meeting of HELMEPA Member Companies' representatives and the United States Coast Guard took place at their Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The meeting was hosted by RADM John P. Nadeau, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, who leads development of national policy, standards and programs to promote Marine Safety, Security and Environmental Stewardship, while overseeing the Directorates of Inspections and Compliance, Marine Transportation Systems, and Commercial Regulations and Standards.

With the participation of Captain Jennifer F. Williams, Director of Inspections & Compliance, Captain Ryan D. Manning, Chief, Office of Port & Facility Compliance, Captain Scott Kelly, Office of Operating & Environmental Standards and other staff, the meeting took place in a friendly and constructive atmosphere.

Items of the Agenda, which was compiled in cooperation with the participating Member Companies, included water ballast management, Cyber Security, adequacy of shore reception facilities and management of sewage and garbage, QUALSHIP 21, inspections towards issuing COC, biofouling, navigation issues in US waters and other. Clarifications and update on the most recent developments on these issues were provided while CG officers listened attentively to specific concerns of vessels managed by HELMEPA Member Companies because, as they stated, their aim is safety, security and environmental protection in parallel with facilitation of maritime commerce.

During the meeting, the Coast Guard emphasized that, at all circumstances, on time and sincere reporting to the COTP by the Master and the Operator of any problems experienced onboard is appreciated since proper communication can solve issues that otherwise may have severe consequences.

The 7 Member Companies that participated and their representatives were:

  • ARISTON NAVIGATION CORP., Christos Georgousopoulos, DPA/CSO-Newbuildings Manager,
  • CARRAS (HELLAS) S.A., Spiros Vlachos, QMS Manager,
  • COSTAMARE SHIPPING COMPANY S.A., Ioannis Drakogiannopoulos, RS&Q Manager, DPA-CSO,
  • DIANA SHIPPING SERVICES S.A., Michael Gavriil, DPA-CSO-HSQE Manager,
  • EURONAV SHIP MANAGEMENT HELLAS LTD., Pantelis Patsoulis, HSQE Superintendent/DDPA/DCSO,
  • S. LIVANOS - HELLAS S.A., Michail Fragkias, DPA & Safety Manager,
  • TSAKOS COLUMBIA SHIPMANAGEMENT (TCM) S.A., Andreas Zarnavelis, Deputy DPA /Quality & Regulatory Compliance Officer.

HELMEPA Secretariat was represented by Dimitris C. Mitsatsos, Director General, Christiana Prekezes, Executive Coordinator and Dimitris Giakos, Membership Services.

HELMEPA Junior celebrates 24 years of action

On November 10, 2017 we celebrated 24 years of operation of the “HELMEPA Junior” Program. It was on November 10, 24 years ago, that HELMEPA’s Board of Directors, chaired by Basil Phr. Papachristidis and with the sincere, warm support of the late Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos, then Vice Chairman, unanimously approved the proposal to create the educational environmental program “HELMEPA Junior”. It was and still is, the offering of HELMEPA’s volunteer Members to children aged 5 to 13, in order to enhance the environmental awareness of tomorrow's citizens.

Since then, the Program, with the approval of and in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Research and Religions as well as with the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, has been implemented throughout Greece with a total participation of 99,150 children and 3,604 Volunteer Teachers in 1,361 kindergartens and elementary schools.

Up until today, the young volunteers, under the guidance of their teachers, implemented with great eagerness and enthusiasm 30,000 actions of the Action Plan, which is renewed every year and approved by the State. In and out of the classroom, the children turned their concerns into action for a better environment around them but also for “Planet Earth, our one and only home”. They “adopted” beaches that they cleaned up, produced and disseminated informative material, created artworks from “trash” materials, recycled, staged theatrical performances, located illegal dumpsites and spoke about them to local authorities and media. They learned about the marine environment through simple experiments and games, they discovered the world of shipping and the nation’s maritime history through visits to Port Authorities and Maritime Museums as well as discussions with veteran mariners.

With the annual Panhellenic Drawing Contests, the children sent 5,200 colorful “messages”, through their imaginative group artworks. Many of these have been presented in special exhibitions organized by the Athens City Museum, the Maritime Museum of Greece, the Cultural Center of the Municipality of Palaio Faliro and the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace, at the Port of Thessaloniki.

In 1998, the Program was awarded the Global 500 Award by the United Nations Environment Program-UNEP while in 2000, the International Maritime Organization-IMO invited two kids members of the program in London to speak to the Plenary of the Organization’s members, then 166 countries and 63 non-governmental organizations. They stated their concerns about the marine environment and made reference to the voluntary activity of Greek children through their participation in “HELMEPA Junior”.

In 2002, the Office of the European Parliament in Greece recognized the children members of the Program and their teachers for their voluntary environmental action, which HELMEPA spread to other countries.

In 2005, children members of “HELMEPA Junior” from the island of Kalymnos, and from the relevant programs of CYMEPA in Cyprus and TURMEPA in Turkey, represented IMO as its Ambassadors in the "World Children's Conference of the UN for the Protection of the Marine Environment". The Conference was held under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program in Japan in 2005, Malaysia in 2006 and Norway in 2008.

In 2016, “HELMEPA Junior” received the Lloyd’s List Greek Shipping Award for “Achievement in Environmental Protection”.

At the annual meeting of the Board of Children's Representatives of the Program in Athens, the most active groups from all over Greece are represented with their leaders. They exchange experiences and ideas and express their messages to the adult society. At the same time, teachers and parents, as HELMEPA guests, are informed about the children's activities and contemporary environmental issues by the association’s staff.

During all these years of the Program’s operation, HELMEPA’s scientific staff visited public schools in 85 towns and informed students and teachers. The 89 issues of the quarterly newsletter titled “Young Seagulls” in 75,000 copies, informed kids and teachers on the members’ activities in various regions and hosted students’ articles addressed to other children and the adult society.

A dedicated website ( with approximately 12,000 visits annually, in operation since 2001, provides information to teachers about the Program and developments on contemporary environmental issues besides projecting groups’ activities.

HELMEPA, having celebrated this year its 35th anniversary of the voluntary commitment of the Greek shipping family, from shipowner to the last seafarer for Clean Seas and Safe Ships, wholeheartedly thanks all children-Members, their Teachers and their parents. Furthermore, HELMEPA wishes that the thousands of members of the Program of the past and the future contribute towards the protection of the environment urging us all to change our environmental conduct.

HELMEPA and Gratia Publications sign Memorandum of Cooperation aimed at the younger generations in Greek shipping

Today, Tuesday, 31 Ďctober 2017, Dr George Gratsos, Chairman of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association - HELMEPA and Mrs Ioanna Bissia, Publisher of Gratia Publications, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation at HELMEPA's offices.

The aim of the Memorandum is to further develop the cooperation between the two parties towards enhancing environmental awareness and a spirit of safety at sea among the human element in the Greek shipping community, with a focus on the younger generations, by use of all adequate means of information and publicity.

Such means will include organizing awareness raising activities, recognizing and projecting achievements in pollution prevention by individuals or organizations, projecting achievements of the contemporary shipping industry and the potential of engaging in marine professions, as well as the information of youth on marine science and technological developments for the sustainable management of marine resources.

The collaboration has actually already begun with the extensive article dedicated to HELMEPA's 35 year-long history and work, hosted in the English May 2017 edition of "Naftika Chronika".

This joint effort continued with the recent educational event for students of maritime schools and Merchant Marine Academies, titled "Environmental regulations in shipping: modern dilemmas for the maritime industry", co-organized with the "" educational initiative, at the "Aikaterini Laskaridis" Foundation.

HELMEPA member vessels receive the new USCG designation 'E-Zero'

We are glad to announce that 4 HELMEPA member vessels are included in the first 40 vessels that recently received from the USCG the new E-Zero designation within the framework of the Qualship 21 program. These vessels are rewarded for having Zero Environmental Deficiencies or Violation.

More specifically, the program which started on 20 July 2017 provides rewards mainly in the form of reduced inspections to vessels enrolled in Qualship 21 for the last three years, which for this period have zero worldwide detentions for MARPOL, and zero environmental deficiencies (MARPOL, 33 CFR Subchapter O, Ballast Water Management, Vessel General Permit, Antifouling) in the U.S.

The eligible vessels must also have zero Letters of Warning, Notices of Violation or Civil Penalties related to Right Whale Mandatory Ship Reporting or speed restriction violations over the past 5 years. Finally, they must fulfill requirements regarding ballast water management, such as having installed a USCG type approved system.

More information is available at the following link: QUALSHIP 21 E-Zero pamphlet.

The following table shows HELMEPA member vessels number per Managing Company that are current holders of Qualship 21 and E-Zero:

Managing Company Number of Vessels *
Qualship 21 E-Zero
Total number of member vessels 44 4

* 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.

HELMEPA honors World Teachers Day

World Teachers Day is celebrated on 5 October each year, to pay tribute to those who struggle on a daily basis to provide decent education to the new generation, often under harsh conditions. It was established by UNESCO in 1994 in order to honor the teachers' precious work and place them at the center of attention along with their needs.

This year's theme "Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers" reaffirms the support of teachers as a top priority in all education and development strategies, in order for them to be able to offer all students the education they deserve.

HELMEPA - the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association, which operates the annual Environmental Education Program "HELMEPA Junior" since 1993 throughout Greece, feels the need to wholeheartedly thank the 3,600 Elementary and Kindergarten Teachers who have voluntarily participated and supported the Program to date and to wish them health and strength in their difficult and important work.

Meeting of HELMEPA's Training Committee

The meeting of HELMEPA's Training Committee took place on Thursday 21 September with the participation of 11 representatives of member managing Companies and the Association's competent staff. The Committee elected unanimously Capt. J. Drakogianopoulos, DPA/CSO of COSTAMARE SHIPPING CO. SA as its Chairman and Capt. M. Gavriil, DPA/CSO of DIANA SHIPPING SERVICES as his replacement.

Following, the Committee reviewed the Training Program for 2018, which was proposed by the Maritime Sector and will be offered by HELMEPA to Merchant Marine Officers and the staff of Member-Companies. The Program will consist of two-day and one-day seminars in the fields of Safety and the Human Element, Pollution Prevention and Meteorology applied on the Full Mission Bridge Simulator, while the two-day Marine Environmental Awareness seminar will continue. The Committee also dealt with the training offered by HELMEPA on the Full Mission Bridge Simulator, which 193 merchant Marine Officers have received so far and recommended additions to the programs concerning ship handling, ECDIS and COLREGS.

The Committee's proposals will be materialized once the Board of Directors has been informed on Wednesday 27 September.

New Placard on MARPOL Annex V discharges

Revised Guidelines on the implementation of Annex V of the MARPOL Convention on the Prevention of Garbage Pollution from Ships were adopted at the recent 71st meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 71) of the International Maritime Organization (ÉĚĎ), 3 - 7 July 2017. The new Guidelines are aligned with the revised MARPOL Annex V, while new amendments will enter into force on 1 March 2018 bringing significant changes to operational practices as well as to the structure and categories of the Garbage Record Book (GRB).

Seeking to contribute actively to its Members efforts towards prevention of garbage pollution from ships, HELMEPA supplied its 400 Member-vessels with the new redesigned Discharges' Placard, which also includes the requirements of the "Polar Code", in force since 1st January 2017.

For further information you may contact the Maritime Training Center of HELMEPA.

HELMEPA’s Scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year

Honoring the memory of the late George P. Livanos, Founder of HELMEPA, Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos, Honorary Chairman and Stavros Daifas, Founding Member of the Association, the Board of Directors, having examined the 26 high-quality submitted entries, awards three Scholarships, worth €15.000 each, for postgraduate studies, as follows:

(1) George P. Livanos Scholarship, to Mr Antonios-Stefanos Vakondios, son of a seafarer and graduate of the Law School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, for the acquisition of an LLM degree in Maritime Law at the University of Southampton.

(2) Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos Scholarship, to Mr Alexandros-Gerasimos Kellaris, a distinguished graduate of the Department of Biology of the University of Crete, for the acquisition of an MSc degree in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College in London.

(3) Stavros Daifas Scholarship, to Ms Marianna Dimitriou, a graduate of the Naval Architecture Department of the Technological Educational Institute of Athens, for the acquisition of an MSc degree in Marine Engineering at Newcastle University. This scholarship is kind donation of Ms Irene St. Daifas, Special Secretary of the Board of Directors of HELMEPA.

HELMEPA thanks all the candidates for their interest and congratulates the three new Scholars, whishing them every success in their studies!

HELMEPA celebrated its 35th anniversary

In an atmosphere full of excitement, at the Yacht Club of Greece, hundreds of supporters and friends, along with Mrs Fotini P. Livanos, celebrated on Tuesday 6 June, 35 years of operation of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association-HELMEPA, founded on the initiative of the late George P. Livanos.

Members of the Parliament, State officials, members of the Diplomatic Corps, the Hellenic Coast Guard Commandant, the Chief of the Fleet, the President of the UGS, former Chairmen of HELMEPA, members of the Greek and international maritime community, Presidents and Directors of AUSMEPA-Australia, CYMEPA-Cyprus, NAMEPA-North America ęáé TURMEPA-Turkey as well as representatives of Greek and foreign shipping press honored the event, which was coordinated by the journalist Ms Niki Lymberaki.

The TV spot with the "Seagull" of 1984, a video with facts and achievements of the 35year long work of HELMEPA and the presenter's statement that her generation grew up with the message "no garbage, no plastic in the seas and on beaches", provided the basis upon which Dr. George Gratsos, Chairman of the Board of Directors presented a brief account of the association's work in his address. He referred to the voluntary contribution of HELMEPA in the maritime training of Greek officers, the environmental awareness of the wider public and the students as well as the creation of similar associations in 7 more countries.

"Shipowners and seafarers, inspired by George P. Livanos, co-signed in 1982 a joint declaration with which HELMEPA operates and will continue to do so as long as Greek shipping exists" , emphasized Dr Matthaios D. Los, Founding Member of the association and Treasurer of the Union of Greek Shipowners.

On behalf of the 15,000 Greek member seafarers, the President of Union of Masters and Mates of the Greek Merchant Marine, Captain Manolis Tsikalakis, underlined that "Greek mariners believe in HELMEPA, which with its work contributed also in their being treated with respect by national maritime administrations."

"The work and example of HELMEPA offer Greece a special distinction, comparable to the advantageous position of the Greek owned fleet within global shipping. It took the vision, creativity and faith of a great Greek shipowner and patriot - George P. Livanos - for Greece to express the best its maritime tradition has to show" stated Mr. Basil Phr. Papachristidis, second HELMEPA Chairman, in his address read by Ms. Lymberaki.

Honoring Mr. Andreas Potamianos, who served HELMEPA's goals for a number of years as Member of the Board, Dr. G. Gratsos bestowed him a commemorative placard. In his thanking address, Mr. Potamianos praised the vision of the late G.P. Livanos and spoke on HELMEPA's achievements through his personal experiences, specifically at the beginning.

Also honored at the event was Captain John Tsenembis, associate member of HELMEPA since 1983, first and for many years instructor at the association's seminars. In his brief speech, he referred to his personal memories from the first years of this initiative of Greek shipping, which he still serves. Presenting him with a commemorative placard, Mr. Paul Ioannidis, associate Member and Member of the first Board of Directors, stressed the fact that HELMEPA was the first to accept and implement in its training the safety spirit with which the global aviation industry was already operating.

Moving on from maritime training to the environmental education of children, Mr. Nikos Tsakos, former Chairman of HELMEPA, presented Mrs Carmen Constantakopoulos with a commemorative placard in appreciation of the support of her late husband Capt. Vassilis Constantakopoulos to "HELMEPA Junior" program, which is continued by his sons and Costamare Shipping. Mrs Constantakopoulos expressed her warm gratitude to all those who contribute to the environmental awareness of the younger generation.

HELMEPA was exposed for the first time to the international shipping in 1985, participating in the Seatrade exhibition in New York and since then is present at every "Posidonia" with the initiative of their founder Mr. Themistocles Vokos, Honorary Member of HELMEPA. In his address, Mr. Vokos expressed his admiration to the vision of George Livanos and all the contributors to the successful evolution of the association, to what it offers to maritime training and environmental education and wished that this work continues for many years to come.

The Commandant of the Hellenic Coast Guard, Vice-Admiral Stamatis Raptis referred to the long standing cooperation of the Coast Guard with HELMEPA. Similarly, Vice-Admiral Ioannis Pavlopoulos, Chief of the Fleet, thanked the association for the gratis participation of Hellenic Navy personnel in its training programs.

First classification Associate Member was American Bureau of Shipping-ABS and on the reasons for which they supported this voluntary initiative from the very beginning, referred Mr. Dimitris Houliarakis, at the time prominent member of ABS staff.

Significant to the successful growth of HELMEPA was and remains the contribution of Associate Member Companies. Commemorative honorary placards were presented to the representatives of the first 3 Associate Members as well as for the extra support to HELMEPA's needs. To Mr. Vassilios Kroustallis, Senior Vice President, ABS Europe, to Mr. George Teriakidis, Regional Business Development Manager, DNV GL and Mr. Theodossis Stamatellos, Area Manager, Greece, East Mediterranean and Adriatic, Lloyd's Register. All of them in their respective addresses praised the association for its constant voluntary contribution to shipping and the wider community, renewing their commitment to continue supporting it in the future.

Congratulations and wishes for continuation of its work expressed also to the Members of the Board and the Secretariat of HELMEPA the 300 Greek and foreign guests who honored the event during the reception that followed, closing a enjoyful evening. The guests were offered, as a symbolic souvenir of the 35th anniversary, the special, well designed in English issue of "Naftika Chronika", which its editors had the initiative of dedicating to the 35 years of HELMEPA with data derived from the association's records.

INTERMEPA honors World Oceans Day

The Steering Committee of the International Marine Environment Protection Association-INTERMEPA met on Wednesday 7 June at the Metropolitan Hotel in Athens, on the occasion of HELMEPA's 35th Anniversary event.

Present at the meeting were the following Committee members: Mr Warwick Norman, Chairman of AUSMEPA and INTERMEPA, Mr George Tsavliris, Chairman of CYMEPA, Dr George Gratsos, HELMEPA Chairman along with Messrs Dimitris Mitsatsos and Nikos Gerassimou, Director General and Legal Advisor respectively and Mr Aksit Ozkural, General Manager of TURMEPA.

During a working lunch, the members of the Steering Committee exchanged ideas towards strengthening the cooperation of the members of INTERMEPA. Expressing all the members, the Chairman Mr W. Norman congratulated HELMEPA for its 35th anniversary as well as Mrs Sadan Kaptanoglu, Vice-Chairperson of INTERMEPA for being elected the first ever President Designate of BIMCO.

On the occasion of World Oceans Day, which is celebrated on 8th June 2017, the members of INTERMEPA, AUSMEPA in Australia, CYMEPA in Cyprus, HELMEPA in Greece, NAMEPA in North America, TURMEPA in Turkey, UKRMEPA in Ukraine and URUMEPA in Uruguay, honor the theme of this important Day "Our Ďceans, Our Future" as it reflects their philosophy.

"The protection of the marine environment and exploitation of ocean resources are compatible providing humans exercise care, restraint and understanding" as mentioned in the inaugural Declaration of the MEPAs and INTERMEPA.

Synergy between all the stakeholders of the "blue sector", in various parts of the world, is an essential element towards effectively addressing the challenges facing the oceans in order to ensure their sustainable future along with that of the world at large.

35th General Assembly of the Members of HELMEPA

The 35th Regular General Assembly of HELMEPA, held on Tuesday 16 May 2017, was of a historic character as it was hosted at Member-Company CERES, in the same place where the first General Assembly took place 35 years ago.

HELMEPA's Chairman Dr G. Gratsos chaired the Assembly with acting Secretaries Mrs. Th. Papaemmanouil of ANANGEL MARITIME SERVICES Inc. and Mr. E. Stergiopoulos of GASLOG LNG SERVICES Ltd.

During his brief address, Dr Gratsos made reference to the activities of the association highlighting the training of officers on the bridge simulator, which was acquired by HELMEPA thanks to the efforts of his predecessor, Dr J. Coustas and the kind donation of Corporate Associate Member DNV GL. Referring to the training seminars offered by HELMEPA, which are attended annually by approximately 350 officers and staff of Member Companies, he stressed that they are possibly unique worldwide as they don't focus only on maritime regulations but also on practical implementation and the operational experience of the vessels' managing Offices. The selection of topics is carried out by a Committee of 12 experienced staff members of shipping companies managing a total of approximately 350 vessels - tankers, bulk carriers, container ships, product carriers, chemical carriers and LNG - classification societies and staff of HELMEPA's Maritime Training Center Secretariat. Therefore, these seminars offer the experience of companies and seafarers of vessels visiting annually approximately 3,000 ports, where they face continuous inspections by authorities.

Dr Gratsos went on to note that the environmental education initiatives are spreading throughout Greece also with the 3-year long "Campaign" funded by Lloyd's Register Foundation, while international cooperation with the MEPAs' network is continuing. Closing, the Chairman stated that "all environmental regulations, inspections, penalties and fines have been created by the international community because there are still people amongst us who have not realized the significant benefits of environmental protection. These are the people we want to approach and enhance their environmental awareness, for their benefit and that of the environment" .

The Director General, Mr. D. C. Mitsatsos presented the activities of 2016, which were unanimously approved by the Assembly. The Treasurer of the Board of Directors, Mr. N. Bafaloukos, described the finances during 2016. The Assembly approved the financial status presented by the Auditors, Moore Stephens and released the Board of Directors and Auditors from any management responsibility for the year 2016, electing the latter once again for 2017.

Mr. Bill Box, Senior Manager and Commercial Area Manager for Greece/Cyprus of Associate Corporate Member INTERTANKO, conveyed to the Assembly the appreciation of all Members of this international association for the work of HELMEPA, especially the bridge simulator training, the activities of "HELMEPA Junior" and the voluntary beach cleanups. Closing, he stated that the instigator of the association, the late G. Livanos, "would be thrilled seeing, 35 years later, the achievements of HELMEPA and its sister Associations-MEPAs worldwide" .

Present at the Assembly were the Chairman of CYMEPA, Mr. G. Tsavliris, HELMEPA Founding Members Dr Ě. Los and Í. Soutos and Honorary Members, Messrs P. Ioannidis, J. Polychronopoulos and Í. Tsavliris.

A light buffet followed, kindly offered by CERES.

HELMEPA receives the EFKRANTI Award for Best Communication Strategy

Yesterday, 9 May 2017, at the Foundation Chatherine Laskarides in Piraeus, the shipping magazine NAFTIKA CHRONIKA presented the EFKRANTI Awards 2016.

In a packed room, at the presence of the Minister of Shipping and Island Policy, the Commandant of the Hellenic Coast Guard, representatives of shipping entities, companies and the Press, HELMEPA was honored with the Award for best communication strategy, "for its organized, consistent, transparent and meaningful communication policy through cooperation with mass media representatives" .

The President of the Masters and Mates Union of Greek Merchant Marine (PEPEN), Mr. Em. Tsikalakis, introducing the award, stated:

"I feel especially honored to represent the large maritime family of Greek Masters and it is a great joy for me specifically, that as President of PEPEN, I present this award to HELMEPA. With HELMEPA we are connected with inextricable bonds because of our common aims and efforts for the protection of the marine environment and ocean resources. All of us, the Greek captains do not forget the endeavours of the pioneers of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association - 35 years now - to nurture a high level of environmental consciousness through multiple means of information and refresher training… we owe them a lot!

The acceptance of HELMEPA"s goals by the entirety of the shipping world, seafarers and owners alike, shows that the vision of the late shipowner George Livanos met with "receptive ears" and was materialized by competent and sensitized personnel. Presenting the EFKRANTI Award, I wish to congratulate the organizers for the selection of the recipient and for the fact that they stand by the maritime community and to HELMEPA for the immense environmental work carried out… warm congratulations."

Receiving the Award, HELMEPA Chairman Dr. G. Gratsos warmly thanked NAFTIKA CHRONIKA on behalf of his colleagues at the Board of Directors, the Secretariat and especially the volunteer Members of the association. He referred to the late George P. Livanos, who had the idea of bringing together seafarers and shipowners, motivating them voluntarily and proactively. Furthermore, he stressed the offering of continuous training to merchant marine officers by means of simulator courses, seminars and e-learning and he mentioned the sister organizations - MEPAs created in 7 more countries and cooperating among them under the umbrella of INTERMEPA. Closing, Dr. Gratsos accentuated the fact that HELMEPA Members realized from the very beginning the need of sensitizing the younger generation on the protection of the sea and the environment, "something we do at an ever more intensive pace".

All of us in HELMEPA wish to warmly congratulate each and every recipient of the Awards as well as the organizers and supporters of the event!

MoU between HELMEPA and Dubai Council for Marine and Maritime Industries

Today, Thursday 4 May 2017, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association-HELMEPA and the United Arab Emirates Offshore and Shipping Industry, represented by the Dubai Council for Marine and Maritime Industries (DcmmiEmirates).

The signing ceremony took place in Athens in the framework of the 3rd Session of Joint Cooperation Committee of Greece and the UAE, in the presence of Ministers G. Katrougkalos and G. Stathakis of Greece and Dr. Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State of UAE.

Signing the MoU, Dr. George Gratsos, Chairman of HELMEPA and Mr Khamis Juma Buamim, Chairman of DcmmiEmirates, committed the two organizations to voluntarily cooperate towards establishing the Emirates Marine Environment Protection Association-EMEPA, a non-profit making entity dedicated to the preservation of the marine environment and enhancement of safety.

Details of this cooperation are provided in an agreed upon Action Plan.

HELMEPA Junior members paint their marine world!

The Panhellenic Drawing Competition of "HELMEPA Junior" Program based on the theme "What a rich seafloor, a magic marine world!" has been successfully completed. The Program's young volunteers colorfully depicted on paper the magical marine environment thus reminding us with their artworks why we all have a duty to protect them.

The Competition was held separately for kids under 2 age categories: (a) 5-7 years old and Special Education Centers and (b) 8-12 years old. HELMEPA received a total of 314 artworks from 336 "HELMEPA Junior" Groups from 104 Kindergartens and Primary Schools across Greece.

The Program's Groups and Board of Representatives voted for the best artworks and the winning drawings were:

Kids 5-7 years old and Special Education Centers

  • 1st Prize: Primary Special Education School of Amfissa, Group 60(K), 9-15 years old
  • 2nd Prize: "ILIADI" Private Primary School, Island of Salamina, Attica, Groups 1932(A)-1933(A)-1934(A)-1935(A), 7 years old
  • 3rd Prize: Kindergarten of Mavrothalassa of Serres, Groups 2278(N)-2279(N), 5 years old

Kids 8-12 years old

  • 1st Prize: "ILIADI" Private Primary School, Island of Salamina, Attica, Groups 2749(B)-2750(B)-2751(B), 9 years old
  • 2nd Prize: Primary School of Loutrochori, Pella, Group 388(E), 11-12 years old
  • 3rd Prize: 10th Primary School of Alexandroupoli, Group 1029(D), 12 year old

The two first-prize winning artworks were printed as posters and feature the names of the young artists and their Teachers in both Greek and English. These will be distributed widely throughout Greece and abroad. The members of the Groups awarded 2nd and 3rd prizes will each receive special Commemorative Certificates of Participation

Congratulations to all the young artists for their wonderful work!

All the drawings of the two categories can be viewed at the following links:

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.

Memorandum of Cooperation between HELMEPA and RINA HELLAS

Today, 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.

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