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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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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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Tel: +(30) 210 9343088 | Fax: +(30) 210 9353847
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Editorial Team:
Mailing Administrator:

Dimitris C. Mitsatsos
Christiana Prekezes
Maritime Section
Constantinos Andreadis

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