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

What is the principal aim of this initiative?

How is this achieved?

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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,
- 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.



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.

For further information:
Tel: (+30)210-9343088

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



HELMEPA Junior celebrated 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.



WISTA Hellas 2017 Conference

HELMEPA, as a Supporting Organization, attended the annual WISTA Hellas Conference, with members of its staff, at the Athenaeum InterContinental Hotel on Monday, 27 November 2017, along with 300 guests.

The conference included two sections of panel discussions with experts from the Greek and international shipping industry. On behalf of the MEPAs, in the first section panel, HELMEPA Executive Coordinator, Christiana Prekezes, stressed the importance of continuous education for seafarers and refresher training on a voluntary basis. HELMEPA Board Member, Aristides Pittas, spoke about the apparent recovery of container transport in the panel of the second section. Furthermore, TURMEPA President and INTERMEPA Vice-chairperson, Sadan Kaptanoglu, highlighted the value of complying with the regulatory system internationally for fair competition.

The rapidly growing challenges for global shipping such as the uncertainty of the global economy, has been part of the debate. Seafarer training, new ship technologies, automated vessels, cyber-security, concerns on the Ballast Water Treatment Convention of IMO and climate change were also issues of the conference. Moreover, topics such as "new investment opportunities and forms of financing in a constantly changing and uncertain business environment" were raised, while at the same time shipping seems to be setting a "green route" and adoption of the autonomous ship is being delayed by the industry.

President of the Board of WISTA Hellas, Angie Hartman, concluding the Conference, thanked the sponsors, speakers, media and supporting organizations, as well as the guests for their participation "in a constructive and successful event".



The new generation talks with the protagonists of shipping

HELMEPA’s pocket guide titled “Important Reminders for your own Safety on board”, was presented during the successful workshop “Shipping is my Choice” organized by the “Naftika Chronika” (Shipping Chronicles) magazine and the educational initiative, on Saturday 4 November, at the Benaki Museum. This publication, along with other information material of HELMEPA, was disseminated to the 400 young merchant marine officers and students of Merchant Marine Academies. This constitutes a useful tool for the young officers in conducting their duties on board, as mentioned by the representatives of the “Naftika Chronika” magazine.

Addressing the participants, HELMEPA’s representative, Costas Triantafillou, spoke about the need for seafarers to implement safety and pollution prevention procedures on board, not in fear of penalties but for the protection of human life and our Planet’s environment. Wishing the young officers a productive career, he invited them to become members of HELMEPA and participate in the seminars of the Maritime Training Centre for Pollution Prevention, Safety at Sea and Environmental Awareness.



New Biofouling Management Regulations in California

The HELMEPA Monitor, issue No. 15, has been released, including the following articles:

New Biofouling Management Regulations in California
The biofouling management regulations to minimize the transport of non-indigenous species from vessels arriving at California ports, contained in Article 4.8 of the California Code of Regulations, became effective on...
Cyber Security Developments in the US
Things are tightening up on the issue of cyber security in US ports. In the aftermath of a cyber-attack on a major shipping line doing business at the Port of Los Angeles in June 2017, which seriously disrupted operations, U.S. Senators for California introduced the…
USCG Draws Attention To Vessel Stability and Watertight Integrity Issues
On the occasion of a recent marine casualty involving a fishing vessel in the Bering Sea which resulted in multiple fatalities and complete loss of the vessel, the USCG draws attention to the critical safety issues of vessel stability and watertight integrity…
ECDIS Updates to Meet IHO Standards
Since 1 September 2017, Paris and Tokyo MoUs have been running a joint Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on safety of navigation, following the guidance as listed in… • Update on USCG Type-Approved Ballast Water Management Systems Since 18 October 2017, the number of Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS) granted a USCG type approval amounts to six. The last, for the time being, type approval was issued for ERMA First FIT…
Update on USCG Type-Approved Ballast Water Management Systems
Since 18 October 2017, the number of Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS) granted a USCG type approval amounts to six. The last, for the time being, type approval was issued for ERMA First FIT…


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!”

Following, commemorative diplomas and gifts were presented to the children and adults. HELMEPA offered saplings and seeds of aromatic plants to the children-member of the Board to plant them at their school yards, as a symbolic act to reduce the environmental footprint of the transportation with airplane, ship or car to Athens.

The event concluded with a lunch kindly offered by COSTAMARE and a visit to the Planetarium of the Eugenides Foundation.



2017 International Coastal Cleanup Campaign: Results in Greece

The campaign, coordinated by HELMEPA in Greece from 16 September to 16 October 2017 as “Action Month for the Marine Environment”, was concluded with the hope that the power of volunteers may improve the environmental state of seas and beaches, but also with the concern about the continuing pollution from garbage. From the island of Corfu to that of Karpathos and from Alexandroupolis to Neapoli, Lakonia, thousands of motivated volunteers actively expressed their interest in our country’s seas and coasts.

In total, 99 beach and underwater cleanups were organized by 108 private and public entities. Once again, the extensive participation of the educational community is noted. Members and volunteer teachers of the “HELMEPA Junior” Program, young volunteers-Cadets and kids from 55 Kindergartens, Primary and High Schools sent their environmental message to the adult community. Participants also included representatives of Municipalities, Coast Guard officers, staff of environmental education Centres, members of environmental organizations, clubs and societies, divers and other sensitized citizens.

Present in this initiative were also 4 HELMEPA member-companies, who organized beach cleanups with the participation of their staff and families:

- American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) – Megalo Kavouri beach,
- Lamda Flisvos Marina S.A. at the beach of Derveni near Corinth, in cooperation with children-members of
  “HELMEPA Junior” and teachers of the local Primary School,
- Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement “TCM” S.A. and Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd – beach of Agios Nikolaos in Anavyssos.

Under the motto “We clean what we left behind us during the summer”, volunteers, apart from collecting the waste, contributed to HELMEPA’s research regarding the quantities, composition and origin of waste. The data that the volunteers provided, is being forwarded to Ocean Conservancy, the global coordinator of the initiative, in order to include it to the overall results.

Top 10 marine litter items in Greece

Type Pieces
Cigarette filters 43.339
Plastic straws   9.987
Plastic pieces less than 2.5 cm   7.808
Food wraps                                      7.773
Plastic bottle caps   6.881
Plastic bottles   5.252
Plastic bottle lids   5.172
Plastic bags   3.282
Glass pieces less than 2.5 cm.   3.032
Foam pieces less than 2.5 cm   2.389

Cigarette filters are once again this year at the top of the list, accounting for 37% of the total number of the items collected ( almost 1 in 3 items are cigarette filters). In recent years, the list is filled almost entirely with plastic waste, associated with recreational activities in the coastal zone, polluting every “corner” of our seas and beaches. Especially microplastics are one of the environmental challenges of our time, because they serve as a new type of “food” that invades uncontrollably into the sea food chains, as seabirds, fish, marine mammals as well as smaller organisms consume this deadly “delicacy”.

Out of the 6.8 tons of litter collected, 1.3 tons were recycled in cooperation with the Hellenic Recycling-recovery Corporation (He.R.R.Co.). Unfortunately, for yet another year, many household items were found discarded along beaches, such as 86 electrical appliances, 1 heater, 15 chairs, 1 quilt and 2 carpets, 3 gas cylinders, and various articles of clothing and footwear, such as 72 pairs of shoes and flip-flops! Furthermore, many items dangerous to human health, like the 355 batteries, 164 used diapers and 92 syringes, in addition to the derelict fishing gear among which were 685 metres of synthetic nets and 1,006 metres of rope, as well as 469 tires!

HELMEPA congratulates all volunteers who, with their participation, emphasize the need to respect the marine and coastal environment of our country and wishes that “every year, our beaches would need us less and less”, as a volunteer-teacher of the 4th High School of the island of Rhodes characteristically remarked.



25 years of CYMEPA

CYMEPA celebrated its 25th anniversary by staging a gala dinner on Wednesday 19 October 2017, at the Hilton Hotel in Nicosia.

The Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Mr. Marios Demetriades, the Director General of the Ministry Alekos Michailides, the founder of the Association Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and many members of CYMEPA, distinguished personalities of the Cypriot and international community, honored the event with their presence.

HELMEPA was represented by the Director General, Dimitris C. Mitsatsos, to whom CYMEPA’s President, George Tsavliris, presented a commemorative plaque, as an expression of appreciation to the Hellenic Association, the "mother" of all MEPAs.

Saluting the anniversary, Mr. Mitsatsos expressed the satisfaction of everyone in HELMEPA for the success of the first MEPA it helped to be established worldwide along with the wish that CYMEPA continues this course for many years in a peaceful environment.

The event came to a close with music and songs from Cyprus and Greece.



HELMEPA - Lloyd’s Register Foundation in Southern Evia

HELMEPA’s “Educational Community and Public Awareness Campaign on the Marine Environment, Shipping and Sciences”, which is supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF)* and is carried out across 14 towns and cities of Greece between 2014 and 2017, was concluded on a positive note in Karystos and Marmari.

The environmental Exhibition of the Campaign at the Cultural Centre of Marmari was visited by 750 students and 60 teachers of 11 Primary and 3 High Schools of Marmari, Karystos, Styra and remote villages of Southern Evia. All the students and the accompanying teachers were transported to the Exhibition on the Campaign’s expenses.

A ‘train-the-trainer’ Seminar for Teachers was conducted titled “The marine environment and us: ensuring a sustainable future”, during which HELMEPA’s staff presented to participants the marine environment, shipping, climate change and marine litter. Simple experiments and methods that teachers may use in class to introduce their students to the world of science were also demonstrated. Each teacher received a Certificate of Attendance, while the vast majority became members of HELMEPA’s “Marine Teachers” network. Members of the network have access to supporting educational material and regular updates on scientific developments on the themes that the Campaign raised during the 10 days that it remained in the region.

The “Aegean Rebreath” team of volunteer divers in cooperation with HELMEPA, the “Nautilus” and “Dikelas” diving centres, the Municipality and the Port Authority of Karystos carried out a two-day underwater cleanup of a reef and the port of Karystos. Approximately 700 kgs of bulky items such as fishing nets and tires as well as many plastic bottles and other litter were collected from the seafloor.

Emphasis was given on the fact that discharged or lost fishing nets constitute a major threat to marine ecosystems and organisms that get trapped in them. The positive response of fishermen and the local community of Karystos is a sign of hope towards efficiently addressing this serious problem. The relevant video of the underwater cleanup actions is available at the following link:

HELMEPA wholeheartedly thanks the Municipality of Karystos for placing the Campaign under its auspices and for hosting the Exhibition, the Directorate for Primary Education of Evia for the sound cooperation in organizing the schedule of school visits and especially the schoolchildren and teachers of Southern Evia for their warm response to this educational initiative.

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



Memorandum of Cooperation between HELMEPA and “Naftika Chronika” (Gratia Publications)

The Chairman of HELMEPA, Dr George Gratsos and Mrs Ioanna Bissia, Publisher of Gratia Publications signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on Tuesday, 31 Οctober 2017 at HELMEPA’s offices, with the aim to further develop cooperation between the two contracting 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. Both parties are committed to cooperate towards raising awareness on environmental protection and pollution prevention issues, in which we all participate even if we are often not aware of it.

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 coverage of 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.



Εducational initiative on marine pollution

Following the invitation by the Primary and Secondary Education Directorates of the South Athens’ District, HELMEPA was the keynote speaker at the Workshop titled “Marine Pollution and the Saronic Gulf Oil Spill”, which took place on 13 October at the “Flisvos” Cultural Centre of the Municipality of P. Faliro. Participants were welcomed by the Mayor of P. Faliro Mr. D. Chatzidakis and the Vice Mayor for Environment Mrs V. Andikopoulou, who both saluted the event.

The aim of the event was to inform approximately 40 teachers about oil pollution, combating an oil spill and the promotion of the idea to create a relevant Environmental Education program.

Under the title “Pollution Prevention and the Voluntary HELMEPA”, Mrs Christiana Prekezes, Executive Coordinator, spoke about the initiative of the Greek shipping community to spread environmental awareness in shipping through information and training “from shipowner to seafarer” as well as in the wider shore-based communities through the “HELMEPA Junior” program. The ultimate goal is to protect the marine environment from our own mistakes.

Following, Mr P. Giannatos, Chemical Engineer of Environmental Protection Engineering SA, Associate Corporate Member of HELMEPA, presented the complicated procedure of combating an oil spill and carried out a demonstration in the sea in front of “Flisvos”. and HELMEPA: Environmental Regulations in Shipping
 and HELMEPA cooperated in the organization of an informative meeting titled “Environmental Regulations in Shipping: Contemporary Dilemmas for the Shipping Industry”, which took place on 19 October 2017 under the auspices of the “Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation”, at their library.

The event was saluted by Mrs Irene Daifas, Special Secretary of HELMEPA’s Board, while speakers included:

- Mr Panos Zachariadis, Technical Manager, Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management Ltd and Member of HELMEPA’s   Board

- Mrs Christiana Prekezes, Executive Coordinator, HELMEPA

- Mr Emmanuel Vergetis, Senior Consultant Marine & Offshore, LR

- Mr Vasileios Dimoulas, Ηellenic Plan Approval Office Manager, BV

- Mrs Efi Koureta, Claims Executive, The North of England P&I Association Ltd

- Ms Katerina Stebili, Communications Officer, ELLINIKI ETAIRIA - Society for the Environment & Cultural Heritage



Global Climate Change Week

The week 9-15 October 2017 aims to encourage academic communities including academics, students, and non-academic staff at universities in all disciplines and countries to engage with each other, their communities and policy makers on promoting Climate Change actions and solutions.

This initiative was taken because current policies do not seem sufficient to reach the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels.

There is an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gases and adapt to the effects of Climate Change that now are obvious and impossible to avoid. The Global Climate Change Week provides the opportunity to engage in voluntary awareness raising activities to change our environmental conduct, research activities such as conferences and workshops, educational activities outside the university area such as discussions with schools or local communities, in cultural activities and promotion of this subject by the media.

HELMEPA, honoring this initiative, devoted the week to informing students and teachers visiting its environmental Exhibitions on Climate Change and the need to change our daily habits so that we can help to address the issue, which concerns us all absolutely!



HELMEPA honors World Teachers Day

World Teachers Day, celebrated on 5 October each year, pays tribute to those who on a daily basis struggle 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 that priority in all education and development strategies is a top issue, so that teachers can offer to each student the level of education he/she deserves.

The Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association, which operates the annual Environmental Education Program "HELMEPA Junior" since 1993 throughout Greece, wholeheartedly thanks the 3,600 Elementary and Kindergarten Teachers who have voluntarily participated and supported the Program to date and wishes them health, strength and success.



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 (ΙΜΟ), 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 (



Development of the 2017 Training Program - New Full Mission Bridge Simulator Seminars

The annual Refresher Training Program of HELMEPA and the training offered on the Full Mission Bridge Simulator, which since 2016 operates at the Centre’s offices in Nea Smynri, continue during Autumn 2017.

From the start of the year until the end of September a total of 18 two-day and one-day seminars of the Training Program’s 24 seminars have been carried out with 221 participants from 50 Member-companies, the Panhellenic Seafarers’ Federation, the Coast Guard and the Hellenic Navy.

The remaining scheduled seminars are as follows:

• Human Element and Operational Safety on Board (10-11 October and 12-13 December)
• Marine Environmental Awareness (7-8 November)
• Best Practices for MARPOL Implementation (14-15 November)
• Challenges for Shipping and New regulations (28-29 November)

During 2017 a total of 27 five-day, three-day and two-day seminars and 6 half-day assessments were carried out on HELMEPA’s Simulator with the participation of 108 merchant marine officers from 17 Member-companies and the Hellenic Navy.

Following a recent decision of HELMEPA’s Training Committee, the training offered on the Full Mission Bridge Simulator is now enriched with the following 3 new two-day seminars:

• Optimizing Skills in the Best and Safe Use of ECDIS and Radars (HS2)
• Νavigating in Dense Traffic – Fishing Areas – COLREGS and Loss Prevention (HS3)
• Marine Meteorology – Handling Ships in Heavy Weather and Following/Quartering Seas (HS5), which incorporates the content of the one-day seminar of the Training Program titled “Modern Marine Meteorology”.

For further information and Registration Forms those interested may contact the Maritime Training Centre,, (+30) 210-9343088.



Meeting of HELMEPA's Training Committee

The meeting of HELMEPA's Training Committee took place on 21 September 2017 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 are being materialized following the information of the Board of Directors at their recent meeting.



The HELMEPA-Lloyd’s Register Foundation Campaign kicks off at Marmari in Evia

Τhe Exhibition of HELMEPA’s “Educational Community and Public Awareness Campaign on the Marine Environment, Shipping and Sciences”, which is supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF)*, was inaugurated on 26 September at the Cultural Center of Marmari, on the southern tip of Evia.

The Mayor of Karystos, Mr L. Raviolos and the Vice Mayor, Mr Ath. Zafeiris, the Coordinator of Schools’ Activities of the Primary Education Directorate of Evia, Mrs A. Frantzeskidou, the Schools’ Consultant of Marmari, Mr. G. Pantioras representatives of the Hellenic Coast Guard and local stakeholders, as well as 50 pupils and teachers of the Primary School of Marmari honoured the event with their presence.

Welcoming the participants on behalf of HELMEPA, Mr C. Triantafillou, Assistant Executive Coordinator, made reference to the aims and the results of the Campaign to date underlining that pollution prevention through information and awareness raising of all constitutes the best investment towards protecting the marine environment.

In his address, the Mayor of Karystos wholeheartedly thanked HELMEPA for including their region in the Campaign, thus providing the opportunity to local students and teachers to be informed on issues pertaining to the marine environment, shipping and sciences. He then stressed that the environmental consciousness of all and especially the younger generations must be alert due to increasing pressures on the natural environment.

Representing the Educational Directorates of Evia, Ms A. Frantzeskidou spoke about our valuable heritage, the marine environment and the threats it faces, which may cause irreversible changes to marine ecosystems and widespread social and economic damage. Also, she stressed the importance of inspiring students to become further involved in science, engineering and new technologies in the service of the environment and humanity.

Following, Mr G. Pantioras congratulated all those who contributed to the design and implementation of this imitative, which provides the opportunity to students to realize that environmental problems are the result of reckless human activity. The event came to a close with a light buffet lunch offered by HELMEPA, during which representatives of local stakeholders discussed with the Director General, Capt. Dimitris Mitsatsos and staff of the Environmental Sector about issues of common interest.

Until 6 October, 800 Primary and High school students of Marmari, Karystos, Styra and adjacent villages will be transported to the Exhibition on the Campaign’s expenses. Additionally, a ‘train-the-trainer’ Seminar for Teachers titled “The marine environment and us: ensuring a sustainable future” will take place on Wednesday 4 October at the Environmental Awareness Center of Karystos ,as well as underwater cleanups of the port of Karystos and “Mandili” reef during the weekend in cooperation with the “Aegean Rebreath” volunteers’ dive group, the “Dikelas” Scuba Dive Club and local fishermen.

* 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.



Action Month for the Marine Environment, 16 September - 16 October 2017

The Action Month began with voluntary cleanups in Astros Kynourias, Chios, Corfu, Igoumenitsa, Karystos in Evia, Kato Achaia, Kea, Lasithi and Rethymnon in Crete, Platamonas, Polygyros and Sykia in Chalkidiki, Preveza, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Thessaloniki,and Volos. This initiative of HELMEPA is carried out in the framework of the 207 International Coastal Cleanup campaign and runs until 16 October with the voluntary participation of schoolchildren and teachers, port authorities, local stakeholders, diving clubs and the wider public.

So let's renew our commitment for Clean Seas and Beaches on the occasion of the International Coastal Cleanup campaign! It is an opportunity to measure what we "left behind" on the beaches we visited and send a message that we care about the sea and our future!

All you need to do is to mobilize your colleagues, relatives and friends, choose the site you wish to clean-up and register your action by filling in the participation form. To support your action, you will receive from HELMEPA relevant guidelines, information material and data recording sheets.

For further information please contact HELMEPA’s Environmental Awareness Sector on telephone +30 210 9343088 or by email at



Safe voyages and return strong and healthy to your families!

HELMEPA Junior groups have prepared cards with wishes and short messages to Greek seafarers, to give them strength and joy! The indicative cards included in the collage are from children-members of the following Elementary Schools and Kindergartens:

- 1st Elementary School of Gerakas, Attica
- 2nd Kindergarten of Zakynthos
- 2nd Kindergarten of Sapes, Rodopi
- 20th Kindergarten of Volos
- Elementary School of Antimachia, Kos island
- Elementary School of Vrytes, Edessa
- Elementary School of Cynopyaston, Corfu island
- Kindergarten of Ambelia Giannitson
- Kindergarten of Elia, Crete
- Kindergarten of Maistros, Evros



Update on QUALSHIP 21 (September 2017)

According to data just published by the USCG, current holders of the QUALSHIP 21 Certificate include a total of 46 HELMEPA member vessels managed by 19 companies, as shown in the following table:

Managing Company

        Number of vessels*







































Total number of member vessels


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

European Cleanup Day - thousands of HELMEPA’s volunteers take action

European Cleanup Day was organized and co-ordinated in Greece by HELMEPA during 5 - 25 May 2017, with actions continuing during June.

In total 5,402 volunteers, from 167 public and private stakeholders organised 127 beach, underwater, riverbank, lake-side, forest, park and other natural area cleanup activities, covering a distance amounting to 83 kmThe volunteers collected 6.8 tons of rubbish, of which 2.6 tons were recycled in collaboration with the Hellenic Recovery Recycling Corporation (HE.R.R.Co).

As the volunteers, young and old, descended on beaches, rivers and lakes, they recorded the items of litter on special Data Sheets, which HELMEPA provided. The results made up the “Top 10” of most common items of trash that pollute our natural environment.

Top 10 marine litter items in Greece

Type Pieces
Cigarette filters 21.730
Plastic pieces less than 2.5 cm.   8.458
Food wraps   6.026
Plastic bottles   4.645
Straws   4.581
Plastic bottle caps   4.177
Plastic bags   2.852
Plastic lids   2.231
Foam pieces less than 2.5 cm   2.187
Glass pieces less than 2.5 cm   2.075

In total, volunteers collected 75,889 pieces of litter, from the tiniest pieces of foam to a gym mattress! Unfortunately, cigarette filters are, once again, the “champions” prevailing on the top of the list of common marine litter items. This is characteristic of the indifference and ignorance of people about the damage that even the smallest item of rubbish can cause to the natural environment. Worrying is also the fact that 2 out of 3 items are plastic, which are associated to recreational activities and remain in the environment for long periods of time. Let us consider that according to a recent survey, by 2050 there may be more plastic by weight than fish in the ocean!

Once again this year, the education community was widely involved in this initiative. Students, members of the “HELMEPA Junior” and “Cadets” Programs, together with their teachers, as well as other students of all ages, from 82 Kindergartens, Primary, Junior and Senior High Schools gave their own special touch to the activities of the Campaign.

Cleanup actions were also organized by 7 HELMEPA member-companies, local authorities, other companies and organizations, protected areas management authorities, environmental organizations and cultural associations, nautical clubs, citizens' groups and divers. Τhe participation of Coast Guard Officers, from 17 Coast Guard Stations and Port Authorities, was also significant. With instructions given to them by the Marine Environment Protection Directorate of the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, they supported the organization and implementation of activities on a local scale. A list of all participating organizations is available at the following link (in Greek only):

Commemorative participation diplomas were awarded to the coordinators of the clean ups as well as the children and teenagers that took part. HELMEPA thanks all the volunteers who, with their participation, showed that only through a concerted team effort, the environmental problems of our times may be effectively addressed. The message remains: let’s change the habits that harm our planet!


Τhe U.S. Coast Guard honors RADM Joe Servidio

Invited by the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Admiral Paul Zukunft, the Director General and the Executive Coordinator of HELMEPA attended on June 22, at USCG headquarters in Washington, a special event organized in honor of RADM Joe Servidio, who is leaving the service. As Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, RADM Servidio made the many year-long relationship between HELMEPA and USCG more direct by introducing annual meetings in 2013, under his chairmanship, of Member Companies’ representatives with his section and more particularly with the responsible officers of Port State Control. His successor, RADM Paul Thomas, continued and strengthened this important initiative.

HELMEPA’s presence at the event, which bears a special meaning not only for the departing RADM Joe Servidio but also for the traditions of the Coast Guard, was dully underlined at relative speeches. During Mr Mitsatsos’ conversation with the Commandant, Admiral Zukunft thanked him for the association’s presence and expressed his appreciation for the ongoing cooperation.

Upon the initiative of Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy, RADM Paul Thomas, Mr. Mitsatsos and Mrs. Prekezes met with him and his successor, RADM John Nadeau, whom they informed on HELMEPA and its 30 year-long ties with USCG's Sector, which he is soon taking over. During the meeting, they talked about the voluntary initiatives of HELMEPA, the refresher training it offers to its Members in support of their efforts towards eliminating ship generated pollution (and not only) and ever upgrading safety and security. They also exchanged ideas on closer cooperation for the better information of Greek seafarers serving upon Member-vessels and discussed the meeting to take place next November.

HELMEPA's representatives thanked Admiral Thomas for his cooperation and wished him every success in his new duties as USCG 8th District Commander.




HELMEPA’s Maritime Training Center Seminars

The 2017 Voluntary Refresher Training Program seminars continue divided in four 2-day and one 1-day seminar categories:

- Human Element and Operational Safety on Board,
- Best Practices for MARPOL Implementation,
- Challenges for Shipping and New Regulations,
- Marine Environmental Awareness and
- Modern Marine Meteorology (one-day).

In all HELMEPA refresher training programs an interactive spirit prevails between instructors and participants, through which experiences are “shared” among participants. The topics of programs are being selected in cooperation with the Training Committee’s 15 members, experienced staff officers of respective Member companies. These companies manage in total 400 ocean-going ships of all categories, which call at ports all over the world more than 3,000 times each year. In this way the vast experience of 15 shipping companies is spread to an ever expanding circle of Greek officers.

At HELMEPA’s Bridge Simulator facilities, the following seminar categories are carried out:

- HS1: “Bridge Resources Management (BRM)”
- HS2: “Refresh BRM and Advanced Ship Handling”
- HS3: “Navigating in Highly Congested Waters and Heavy Seas”

The following data is quite interesting as it represents the participation in HELMEPA’s refresher training of Member Companies’ officers and shore based personnel and their evaluation of the Programs.

Training Program 2017

All the 14 seminars executed from the beginning of the year till the end of June, a number of 183 persons from 46 Member Companies, the Pan-Hellenic Seamen’s Federation, the Hellenic Coast Guard and the Hellenic Navy attended them, with the following breakdown by specialty:

So, 67 shore-based personnel of Member Companies, 55 deck officers, 27 engineer officers and 34 Hellenic Coast Guard and Hellenic Navy officers, a much larger number than previous years, attended the seminars.

The most popular category is that of The Marine Environmental Awareness, immediately followed by The Human Element and Operational Safety On Board, The Best Practices for MARPOL Implementation, The Challenges Shipping Encounters and The New Regulations and Modern Marine Meteorology. The average participation was 13 persons/seminar.

Regarding the evaluations, the vast majority of the participants (over 90%) consider the seminar they attended as “Very Good” or “Excellent” with regard to its quality, usefulness when carrying out duties onboard or at the office as well as the quality of the accompanying educational and information material.

It is noteworthy that in their absolute majority (98%), the participants stated that they felt more familiar with the topics than before. When answering the question "Where do you encounter the greatest difficulties in implementing the requirements and regulations for the safe operation of the ship and pollution prevention?", the most highlighted issues and their frequency are the following 10:

1. Training and briefing of the crew,
2. Garbage management and lack of port reception facilities,
3. Fatigue, resting hours, heavy workload,
4. Complexity of regulations and legislation, difficulties in their implementation,
5. Fuel change when entering ECAs,
6. Multiculturalism of crews with different maritime culture,
7. Implementation of safety measures,
8. Not proper maintenance of equipment and spare parts,
9. Ballast Water Management,
10. Ship Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP).

Bridge Simulator

The 22 seminars that took place from January to June 2017 were attended by 67 officers from 15 Member Companies and 5 Hellenic Navy officers, with the following breakdown:

- HS1: “Bridge Resources Management” - 11 seminars - 42 persons
- HS2: “Refresh BRM and Advanced Ship Handling” - 8 seminars - 23 persons
- HS3: “Navigating in Highly Congested Waters and Heavy Seas” - 3 seminars - 7 persons

In terms of their quality and usefulness in the execution of duties onboard ships the seminars were rated by the above officers as “Excellent” (58%), “Very Good” (39%) and “Good” (3%).

HELMEPA celebrated its 35th anniversary

In an atmosphere full of excitement, at the Yacht Club of Greece, hundreds of supporters and friends, headed by 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, the President of the Union of Masters and Mates of the Greek Merchant Marine, former Chairmen of HELMEPA, members of the Greek and international maritime community, Presidents and Directors of AUSMEPA-Australia, CYMEPA-Cyprus, NAMEPA-North America και TURMEPA-Turkey as well as representatives of Greek and foreign shipping press honored the event, which was coordinated by the journalist Ms Niki Lymperaki.

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. Lymperaki.

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.



HELMEPA’s Scholarships for 2017-2018 Αcademic Υear

Honoring the memory of the late George P. Livanos, Founder and first Honorary Chairman of HELMEPA, Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos, second Honorary Chairman and Stavros Daifas, Founding Member, the Board of Directors examined the 26 high-quality submitted entries and awarded three Scholarships, worth €15,000 each, for postgraduate studies, as follows:

(1) “George P. Livanos”, to 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”, to 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”, to 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!



“These are the beaches we want!”

Summer has arrived along with HELMEPA’s new summer campaign poster of our beloved “Seagull” to remind us that if we want to continue enjoying our country’s beaches, we have to keep them clean and trash-free.

Unfortunately, the data recorded by thousands of volunteers during HELMEPA’s recent cleanup campaign shows that seas and beaches are under intense pressure from increased quantities of mainly plastic and other waste items.

More than 7,000 children-members of the “HELMEPA Junior” Program throughout Greece are already spreading this message in their localities by disseminating the copies of the poster we sent them.

Posters are also being sent to HELMEPA’s Members and cooperating entities, such as Port and Local Authorities, yacht/sailing clubs and maritime museums, environmental education centers, environmental and cultural associations.

The message for Clean Seas and Beaches is also being digitally spread through the Seagull’s TV spot, which was once again approved by the Greek National Council for Radio and Television and it is already being broadcasted gratis by national and regional TV stations. Continuous information is also provided through collaborating radio stations and social media.

So lets us all make an effort not only to keep our seas trash-free, but also to raise awareness for Clean Seas and Beaches, which constitutes our country’s real wealth!

For further information and requests to receive the new “Seagull” poster, please contact HELMEPA’s Environmental Awareness Sector,, tel (+30) 210 9343088.

Friends and supporters of HELMEPA who wish to be informed on the wider work and activities of the Association  may read the 2016 Annual Report, which was distributed at the recent General Assembly and is sent by post to the Members and other shipping organizations in Greece and worldwide.

More than 4,000 volunteers participate in HELMEPA’s Voluntary Cleanups’ Campaign

According to data received so far, over 100 cleanups of beaches, the seabed and land areas were carried out with the participation of 4,350 volunteers in many parts of Greece, in the framework of the European Cleanup Day, coordinated by HELMEPA between 5 - 25 May 2017.

Especially extensive was the participation of schoolchildren-members of the “HELMEPA Junior” and “Cadets” programs from Kindergartens, Elementary and High Schools in various parts of the country. Other participants include HELMEPA member-companies, Local Authorities, Coast Guard officers, educational institutions, diving centers, local associations, cultural organizations and citizens of all ages.

In Attica, on 12 May, the Metropolitan College of Piraeus, an associate Member of HELMEPA, organized the cleanup of Achinos beach in Piraeus. On 13 May, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, also an associate Member, cleaned Kavouri beach and on the same day, students of St. Catherine's British School, members of “HELMEPA Cadets”, cleaned the east side of the beach and forest area of Schinias. The students were informed by representatives of the Management Body of the National Park of Schinias/Marathonas about the local ecosystem and following, they digitally recorded the litter they collected by using the Marine LitterWatch apllication.

On 20 Μay, the staff of Seaworld Management & Trading Inc., an associate member of HELMEPA, cleaned the beach of Varkiza. Following, on 23 May, HELMEPA associate Members Environmental Protection Engineering SA and Society for the Promotion of Education and Training, with the participation of pupils from the Arsakeio-Tositseio Elementary School of Ekali, set-out on the west side of the beach and forest area of Schinias.

On 25 May, upon the initiative of the Sailing Club of Kea and following the invitation by the Municipality, HELMEPA coordinated the cleanup of Korissia beach with the participation of pupils of the local Elementary School, who were informed on the marine litter problem.

On 26 May, the scheduled beach cleanup of Votsalakia, on the occasion of the “Sea Days” initiative of the Municipality of Piraeus and with the participation of children-members of “HELMEPA Junior” from the 14th Elementary School of Piraeus, did not take place due to the morning rainstorm. However, the kids had the opportunity to be informed about the importance of pollution prevention by a representative of HELMEPA, who visited their school, at the Kaminia area. The young volunteers spoke with enthusiasm and pride about their environmental activities and their efforts to sensitize everybody in their neighborhood to love and respect the environment.

Commemorative Participation Diplomas are awarded to the coordinators of the cleanups and participating schoolchildren and youth. The total results from the processing of data cards will be published following the conclusion of the scheduled actions. HELMEPA wholeheartedly congratulates all volunteers, kids and adults, for sending once again a positive message for Clean Seas and Beaches.

All cleanups are depicted on the Campaign’s e-map at


HELMEPA receives the EFKRANTI Award for Best Communication Strategy

On 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!


The HELMEPA - Lloyd’s Register Foundation Campaign in Sparta comes to a close

The activities of the “Educational Community and Public Awareness Campaign on the Marine Environment, Shipping and Sciences” were successfully concluded at Sparta. This Campaign, supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation* (LRF), is carried out in 14 cities of Greece between 2014 and 2017.

The Campaign in Sparta was placed under the auspices of the Regional Authority of Lakonia/Region of Peloponnese and the environmental Exhibition was hosted at their headquarters in Sparta, from 25 April until 9 May. The latter was visited in total by 876 students and 69 teachers of 12 Primary and 4 High Schools from Sparta and the wider region of Lakonia.

According to preliminary results of the survey conducted by HELMEPA in each region concerning environmental awareness, the students of Sparta are environmentally aware to a great extent, participate in environmental activities and 93% of them take part in the Municipal recycling program. An encouraging fact is that 9 out of 10 high school students consider environmental protection as their own duty and not only of the State and Local Authorities. 1 out of 2 high school students were impressed by the thematic section of the Exhibition titled “The Marine World”, where HELMEPA’s scientific staff presents the importance of the sea for humans and for the preservation of life on Earth, while 58% of elementary schoolchildren stated an interest in pursuing in the future a sea-related career. Finally, the main environmental issues of concern for the students were marine litter pollution, the many years-long it takes for trash to decompose in the environment and the killing or entrapment of animals in trash, as well as the reduction of the fish stocks.

The Campaign came to a close with the voluntary cleanup on the banks of River Evrotas by 45 students of the 9th Primary School of Sparta and their teachers. Besides gathering enthusiastically the trash they found, the young volunteers also acted as ‘young scientists’ by recording the litter items in special data sheets provided by HELMEPA, thus contributing to the scientific monitoring of marine litter.

HELMEPA thanks the Regional Authority of Lakonia, not only for hosting the Exhibition but also for its assistance in implementing the Campaign, the Education Directorates of Lakonia for their contribution in the scheduling of activities, as well as the schoolchildren and teachers who “embraced” the Campaign’s messages for a cleaner marine environment.

* 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.


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 Μ. Los and Ν. Soutos and Honorary Members, Messrs P. Ioannidis, J. Polychronopoulos and Ν. Tsavliris.

A light buffet followed, kindly offered by CERES.



Meeting with the Minister of Shipping

The Minister of Shipping and Island Policy Mr Panagiotis Kouroumplis was visited by Chairman Dr G. Gratsos and Director General of HELMEPA, Mr D. Mitsatsos, on 20 April. Present at the meeting was also the Chairman of CYMEPA, Mr G. Tsavliris. The representatives of the two MEPAs had the opportunity to inform the Minister about their initiatives and cooperation. The Minister expressed his appreciation to these joint activities which promote their common goals towards pollution prevention and safety at sea.


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:


Marine Litter Watch - Working with the European Environment Agency on the marine litter issue

Pollution with marine litter is among the key indicators for the assessment of the environmental status of coasts and coastal waters of European Union countries.

According to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), beach litter monitoring is an obligation of EU Member States and must be conducted according to a specific methodology (protocol) to ensure the collection of high quality, reliable data that will reflect how the problem evolves through time and will support policies and measures for its mitigation.

To assist to the recording of beach litter and the wide and free dissemination of the results to all interested parties, the European Environment Agency (ΕΕΑ) has developed the electronic application (app) Marine Litter Watch (MLW).

The MLW app is available for free to Android and iOS users and may be used for litter recording not only for monitoring activities but also for every voluntary beach clean-up event.

After downloading and installing the app in her/his device, each user may become a member of a community of volunteers (e.g. in Greece she/he may join the HELMEPA MLW community) and use MLW to organize a voluntary beach clean-up event and to record and automatically share the results, as shown in the following picture:

For further improvement and spread of the use of MLW app, the EEA has organized and hosted for 3 consecutive years at its premises in Copenhagen a dedicated workshop, with the participation of HELMEPA and other European NGOs which are active in the marine litter issue.

A particular objective of this year’s workshop, which took place on 20-21 April, was to agree on the next steps for the formation of a pan-European network of aptly trained volunteers who will take on beach litter monitoring activities in all European Seas, as a follow-up to the pilot monitoring activities conducted last autumn (MLW month) in 33 European beaches (3 of which in Greece under the coordination of HELMEPA).

Participants to the 3rd MLW Stakeholder Workshop (20-21 April 2017, Copenhagen)

For more information on the app, you may visit the relevant EEA web page:

At the following link, you may explore an interactive map with all the results submitted until today by the communities participating in the MLW initiative:

Last but not least, if you are interested in using MLW app for a voluntary beach clean-up event within the context of the current HELMEPA Voluntary Clean-up Campaign (5-25 May) or one of our future campaigns, you may contact for instructions HELMEPA’s Environmental Sector at or by phone at 210-9343088.

Take part in the voluntary cleanups’ campaign

For yet another year, thousands of volunteers in Greece are taking part in cleanups coordinated by HELMEPA throughout Greece in the framework of the European Cleanup Day. Specifically, more than 3,000 people of all ages have already registered in 70 cleanups of beaches and the seabed, river banks, parks and forest areas organized by companies, schools and pupils-members of the “HELMEPA Junior” and “Cadets” programs, Port Authorities, Municipalities and local organizations throughout the country.

Besides the symbolic character of these actions, participants record the collected litter on data sheets thus contributing to the scientific monitoring of marine and coastal pollution. Also, they separate recyclables, which are collected by the Hellenic Recycling-Recovery Corporation (He.R.R.Co.) that provides technical support to the campaign.

Scheduled activities are displayed on an interactive map on HELMEPA’s website at There you may also find data cards and other useful material. Local Coordinators and kids will be awarded with commemorative participation diplomas.

You may also take part in this pan-European voluntary initiative by organizing your own action with friends and colleagues or by registering in a nearby cleanup. So let’s all give a helping hand in order to be able to enjoy once again this summer Clean Seas and Beaches!


USCG Port State Control Statistics for the Year 2016

The HELMEPA Monitor, issue No. 14, has been released, including the following articles:

• USCG Port State Control statistics for the year 2016
• New E-Zero initiative within the QUALSHIP 21 Program
• To extend or not to extend-Updated highlights and tips on the
   USCG Ballast Water Management Extension Program
• Eavesdropping on whales on the East Coast to avoid collisions with ships


The HELMEPA - Lloyd’s Register Foundation Campaign in Sparta

HELMEPA’s Exhibition titled “Marine Environment, Shipping and Sciences”, was launched on Tuesday 25 April at Sparta. It is hosted at the headquarters of the Regional Authority of Lakonia and will remain open until 9 May.

The Exhibition is part of the “Educational Community and Public Awareness Campaign on the Marine Environment, Shipping and Sciences” carried out by HELMEPA across 14 Greek towns and islands with the support of Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF)*. In Sparta, the Campaign is carried out under the auspices of the Regional Authority of Lakonia/ Region of Peloponnese.

The Prefect of Lakonia, Mrs. A. Tzanetea, the Vice-Mayor of Sparta, Mr. P. Argyropoulos, the Directors and School Activities Coordinators of Primary and Secondary Education of Lakonia, representatives of local stakeholders, teachers and students from the 3rd Primary School of Sparta honoured the event with their presence. The Prefect of Lakonia warmly welcomed HELMEPA to Sparta and stressed the importance of raising environmental awareness among students through information and education so they are able, as the citizens of tomorrow, to protect the environment.

Following, the Vice-Mayor of Sparta spoke about the value of this initiative for Sparta and made reference to the Municipality's actions on cleanliness and recycling. Closing, he said that children should be more aware than adults so that when the time comes, they will deliver the environment to the next generations in a better state than it is today.

The Coordinator of School Activities for Primary Education, Mrs E. Lambrinou, also thanked HELMEPA and the Regional Authority of Lakonia for its prompt response to the request to host the Exhibition. Referring to the significance of environmental education, she expressed her wish that every child visiting the Exhibition will learn something valuable, so that they “can improve the environment in their own small world”.

During an intervention, the Director of the 3rd Primary School of Sparta, Mr. N. Koufos, said that he is very pleased to see the “Seagull” of HELMEPA in Sparta and highlighted that Greeks, as a nation with ancient naval tradition, are the first to be responsible for the protection of the marine environment.

In cooperation with the Education Directorates of Lakonia, HELMEPA will transport to the Exhibition, on the Campaign’s expenses, approximately 1,000 pupils of local Primary and High Schools. The exhibition will remain open daily for schools from 09.00 to 13.00 and for the public until 15.00.

The students’ enthusiasm and the positive comments made by teachers during the first visits to the Exhibition are an optimistic message for the start of a new collaboration between HELMEPA and the educational community of Laconia.

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


Seminars for our Members: Refresher Training Program 2017 and Bridge Simulator Training

Training activities of HELMEPA’s Maritime Training Center include the seminars of our Voluntary Annual Refresher Training Program, which are renewed and updated each year, as well as training on the Full Mission Bridge Simulator operated since 2016 at the Center’s premises in Nea Smyrni.

The scheduled right after the Eastern period one-day Seminar “Modern marine Meteorology” (Tuesday, April 20) completes the second (out of five in total) cycle of the Refresher Training Program 2017, which also comprises 4 different categories of two-day seminars:

• Marine Environmental Awareness

• Best Practices for MARPOL Implementation

• Challenges for Shipping and New Regulations

• Human Element and Operational Safety On Board

The total participation of merchant marine officers (bridge and engine department) and land-based staff of our member companies as well as of Hellenic Coast Guard and Navy officers, who are also entitled to attend, depending availability, was 137 people.

An overview of attendance figures per seminar and participants’ specialty is presented in the following diagrams:

Total Seminars: 9 Total participation: 137

With regards ton the Full Bridge Simulator, 12 seminars were conducted from the beginning of 2017 and up to Easter with the participation of 38 merchant marine officers from 11 member-companies and one officer of the Hellenic Navy, as follows:

- HS1: “Refresh Bridge Resources Management”
  5 seminars - 19 participants

- HS2: “Ship Handling”
  5 seminars - 15 participants

- HS3: “Cruising in Highly Congested Waters”
  2 seminars - 5 participants

The processing of the particularly interesting data derived from the participants’ evaluation of the seminars is underway and the outcome will be presented in one of our future newsletters. In general, assessment of the presentations, the lecturers and the usefulness of the topics is considered very positive.

HELMEPA Scholarships for 2017-2018

The Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association – HELMEPA, honoring the late George P. Livanos, Founder, Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos, Honorary Chairman and Stavros Daifas, Founding Member, announces 3 scholarships valued at €15,000 each, for candidates pursuing one-year post graduate courses (Masters’ level) for the 2017-18 academic year, in 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 Science, 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, Special Secretary of HELMEPA’s Board of Directors.

Applications and the necessary documentation, as specified on HELMEPA’ s website, must be sent by Friday 2 June 2017, 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.


Preparedness for dealing with emergency pollution incidents in European waters

Almost 12 years have passed since HELMEPA’s International Workshop titled “Contingency Planning in the European Union” was organized in cooperation with the European Commission, in June 2005, at Petalidi of Messinia, in the southern tip of Peloponnesus. During the Workshop, experts of 14 EU Member States, Norway, Iceland, 5 other Mediterranean States and 9 international organizations examined ways of improving Contingency Planning in order to be able to effectively respond to emergency incidents of oil pollution and other hazardous substances in European waters.

The Workshop’s conclusions included, among other, the need to enhance cooperation between States and competent European agencies through common drills and exercises.

It is with great satisfaction that we noted in a recent report of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), published in March 2017, the progress that has been achieved in this area, at a European level.

Specifically, upon the initiative of EMSA, 17 fully equipped response vessels have been placed in key areas in order to be able to immediately respond to emergency pollution incidents in European waters.

On of these vessels is the AKTΕA OSRV, a tanker vessel featuring two fitted sweeping arms with skimmers stationed in Piraeus, of Environmental Protection Engineering SA, an Associate Corporate Member of HELMEPA.

Additionally, 2 central storage facilities of Equipment Assistance Service in Scotland and Poland contain specialized response equipment and dispersant stockpiles to be available in the case of future incidents in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea respectively.

The following map depicts the positions of EMSA’s 17 contracted vessels in coastal Member States according to a special risk assessment that had been presented for the first time at HELMEPA’s Workshop in 2005, and is updated by EMSA ever since.

Distribution of EMSA’s contracted response vessels and EAS arrangements in 2016

The mobilization of the response vessel or/and the special equipment in the case of an emergency pollution incident begins following a request by a coastal State, a cooperating private entity or the European Commission.

During 2016, a total of 99 drills and exercises were conducted in order to ensure the preparedness of the vessels and their crews, as well as to test the good condition of the specialized equipment. Of these, 6 drills and exercises took place in Greece by the crew of AKTΕA OSRV.

The wish of all of us in HELMEPA remains that accidents in the future are dealt with efficiently, as a result of a high spirit of cooperation between all stakeholders on shore and at sea, i.e. state agencies, international organizations, the industry and coastal communities.

Press here to see EMSA’s full paper titled “DrillandExercises – AnnualReport 2016”


Update on QUALSHIP 21 (March 2017)

According to data published by the USCG, current holders of the Qualship 21 Certificate include a total of 60 HELMEPA member vessels managed by 25 companies, as shown in the following table:

Managing Company

        Number of vessels*



















































Total number of member vessels


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

HELMEPA’s Campaign in Aigio comes to a close

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bridge Simulator Seminar Program

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

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

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

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


Memorandum of Cooperation between HELMEPA and RINA HELLAS

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

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

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

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

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


The Metropolitan College supports HELMEPA

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

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


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Editorial Team:
Mailing Administrator:

Dimitris C. Mitsatsos
Christiana Prekezes
Maritime Section
Constantinos Andreadis

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