Press Releases

Honoring the Italing Coast Guard of FRONTEX

With the high sense in the meaning in the co-operation of people in the sea, the President and the Board of the Propeller Club’s honored the Captain and the crew of the Patrol vessel of the Italian Coast Guard, CP 265 that participated in the FRONTEX operations of the Hellenic Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Islands Policy.

The ceremony began with honors to the officials by the Hellenic Coast Guard Philharmonic Orchestra and the Hellenic Coast Guard. The coordination and the presentation of the ceremony was undertaken by Propeller Club Secretary General, Mr. Costas Constantinou who thanked the attendees for their presence. “The presence of the leadership of the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, of the Hellenic Coast Guard, as well as the presence of Italian Ambassador Mr. Luigi Marras, the representation by the Italian Community, the Roman Catholic Church and of course, the representatives of the U.S. Embassy,  honors today’s event, “said the Secretary General, welcoming the attendees. The President, Mr. George Xiradakis, in his brief greeting said that “the Club is particularly sensitive to the rescue of human souls who are at risk at sea and that is why every year the Club mediates for the AMVER awards. The Club has honored the Hellenic Navy and the Hellenic Coast Guard for the enormous efforts they make for the rescue of refugees and immigrants”.  This year, as noted by Mr. Xiradakis, “our actions are influenced by the motto” team up, explore our potential “and in this context we are acting to show to the Greek and global society our respect for the cooperation of the people for the rescue of people at risk. We believe that today’s event honoring the ship, the master and the crew of the Italian CP 265 materializes our delight in the more general cooperation that in this case is under the FRONTEX mission”. Moving on Mr. Xiradakis added, saying: “Surely the difficulty in dealing with the massive wave of refugees and immigrants is impossible to be addressed by a single agency. Thus, the cooperation that is over the last few months has been demonstrated by Governor Paolo Fedele and the crew of the Italian ship with the officers of the Greek Coastguard and the rescue of more than 400 people certifies the result of this cooperation. Ubi concordia, ibi victoria (where unity, there victory)”.

Then the greeting by Mr. Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Immigration was read who congratulated and expressed his gratitude to the Hellenic and Italian Coast Guard for their ongoing efforts to rescue human souls, demonstrating their humanity and sensitivity as well as commending the Propeller Club for this initiative. Mr. Panagiotis Kouroumblis, Minister of Shipping and Island Policy, in his greetings, referred to the burden of the refugee flows that the Greek and Italian nation is facing, as well as the values ​​of humanism that both nations hold. The senior officers of the Hellenic and Italian Coast Guard and also congratulated them in defending these values.

Then, the Catholic priest, Father John, blessed the boat and the crew of the Italian boat. In an extremely moving climate, the Governors gave the awards to the Captain and the crew of the CP265 patrol and appointed the Italian Ambassador Mr. Luigi Marras as an honorary member of the Club for his work in cooperating with the two states. Luigi Marras, in his speech, after congratulating the Captain of the Italian patrol and his crew for the honor they made in their country participation in the salvation of human lives, thanked the Propeller Club for this initiative by saying that “when Propeller’s President proposed me this award, he told me that it is important that we immediately recognize the value of someone when it is worth it, which I fully share. It is equally important to know when we do the right thing and to recognize immediately when we are wrong. The sea teaches us some wise rules and one of them is that too. ” Honored by the Club were also Mauro Renaldi, Honorary Consul of Italy, and Colonel Enrico Frasson, Military Embassy of the Italian Embassy for their support to the mission of CP265 as well as Lt. Col. Λ.Σ. George Christiano, head of the Center for Coordination, Research and Rescue, for his excellent work on the participation of the Hellenic Coast Guard in FRONTEX operations.

Backstage discussions between the high-ranking officers of the Hellenic Port and the Italian Coast Guard together with the Italian Ambassador and representatives from the Ministry of Shipping had to do with the difficulties of business and practical ways in which one body can help the other for this common purpose.

The Italian crew praised the high level of their Greek colleagues and expressed their expectation to return to six months. The Greek officials, in turn, thanked the Captain and the crew for their work and cooperation, bringing the two marine nations closer.

The event was attended by the Vice Admiral of the Hellenic Coast Guard Stamatis Raptis, the Rear Admiral of the Italian Coast Guard Giancarlo Russo, the Rear Admirals, Mr. Theodoros Kliaris, Mr. Athanasios Dounis, , C. Avaliotis, I. Kontopoulos, A. Varelas, I. Argyriou, the Archbishop A.Antastasakos, the Central Harbor Master Pryeia, Archbishop Andreas Theofilos, Mr. Gregoris Apostolou, head of Frontex and its executives, the US Embassy military officer, Cpt Franck Schlereth, Vatican spokesman, Father Massimo Catterin, Mr. Bryan Hoyt from the US Embassy, Mr. Philippe Leclerc, Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Italian Navy Chief of Staff Maurizio Alibini, Mr. George Pateras, President of the Hellenic Naval Chamber, Stavros Vidonikolas, Deputy Mayor of Piraeus, Mr. Emmanouil Tsikalakis, president of PEPN, Mrs. Theodora Riga, Marketing Director of PPA, as well as representatives of the Italian community and representatives of the maritime cluster. A reception followed.