Origins of the international Club

History of the International Propeller Club of the United States.

The idea for the Propeller Club was conceived in New York in 1922 by a group of professionals engaged in the merchant marine industry. They would meet regularly to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern. These meetings led to the foundation of the Propeller Club of the United States on 7 November 1927, with the aim of promoting the U.S. merchant marine industry and international shipping to create a better world through sea commerce.

The name “Propeller” is symbolic of propulsion, the driving force required to achieve the Club’s objectives.

The Propeller Club’s world headquarters are located in Fairfax, Virginia. Today there are Clubs in 80 ports worldwide. The first Propeller Club outside the United States was established in Hamburg in 1932.

Origins of the GREEK Club

History of the Greek Propeller Club, Port of Piraeus.

The Propeller Club, Port of Piraeus, was founded three years later in 1935. It is the oldest active Club outside the United States and, in terms of membership, the largest Club in the world.

The remarkable success of the Club is due to the interest and active participation of its membership and the Board of Governors. It is a non-profit charity association, collectively controlled in Greece by a board of sixteen volunteer governors, elected by members every two years.

Costas Papagiannacopoulos was the first Greek to be elected President in 1988. Until then, the President had always been an American, or an American of Greek origin, living in Greece. He was a man with outstanding communication skills who gained worldwide respect for the Greek presidency and for the potential of the Propeller Club in Greece.

The Propeller Club of Piraeus is an autonomous, nonprofit organization funded entirely by its members’ fees. The objectives and aspirations of the Club include the encouragement of cooperation between the United States and the Greek shipping community, the promotion of the entrepreneurial, cultural and social interests of the Greek and American members of the Propeller Club, as well as the exchange of views between the two countries.

Membership of the Propeller Club is open to people of all nationalities, thus demonstrating the belief of its founders in an open society where everyone, regardless of race and religion, can and ought to pursue his or her personal happiness and success. The Club attracts strong individuals wishing, in their own way, to contribute to its ongoing progress and development.

Our members are typically CEOs or top executives of Greek or multinational firms in Greece, prominent Greek businessmen and professionals engaged in the maritime industry, Government Ministers, Members of Parliament and senior foreign diplomats. These are the Club’s objectives:

  • Promote and support world merchant shipping, which symbolizes the efforts of mankind to contribute to the evolution of the world, through trade, diplomacy, and education.
  • Monitor the progress of the younger generation and contribute, through the provision of scholarships, to the education of students attending special Greek and American maritime schools in Greece.
  • Participate in charitable activities, aiding weaker social groups or individuals.
  • Promote, in collaboration with other organizations sharing the same objectives, the interests of, and cooperation between, the Greek and American merchant shipping industries, as well as the shipping industry in other countries.
  • Promote trade, public relations and cultural exchange between Greek and American citizens and cultivate a spirit of understanding, cooperation, and friendship between the two nations.
  • Facilitate meetings and contacts with people in pursuit of these goals.

Each year a substantial portion of our income goes to support and empower the next generation. In 2018 the Club initiated two annual scholarships named the “Zoe Lappa-Papamatthaiou’s Scholarships” in memory of the late Zoe LappaPapamatthaiou, a Governor and Secretary General of the Club, who lost her brave fight to cancer. These scholarships are extended to the postgraduate students of the Masters of Law program of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens – Law School (LLM in Maritime Law).

In 2020, the Club offered 25 scholarships to the highest achievers of Greek and American universities, and maritime academies in Greece, as well as to top athletes.

This year the Club provided an online interactive psychological counseling and coaching program for seafarers. This innovative program was offered to the Greek shipping community in an effort to empower seafarers. The 100 innovative sessions were designed and performed by Potentia ( and supported crew on Greek vessels. Each month, the members of the Propeller Club hold business lunches with distinguished speakers, who deliver speeches on current affairs. Among our most recent speakers have been well-known personalities such as Efthimios Mitropoulos, George Foustanos, Theodore Vokos, Nicolas Bornozis, Peter Economides, James Stavridis and many more.

2020 has been an unusual year. Due to the pandemic, we held a series of remote, online meetings on a range of topics from lockdown challenges and opportunities, life and business during and after COVID-19, Greek and international shipping issues, Greek and global economic challenges and opportunities for Greek/American relations. Guest speakers have included Niels Aalund, Steve Vranakis, Dr. George Pateras, Dimitris Fafalios, Nikolaos Bakatselos, Dr. Nancy Mallerou, George Margaronis, George Foustanos and Senator Leonidas Raptakis. Member events have played a large role in our history with prominent speakers such as King Paul of Greece, U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Senator Edward F. Kennedy, Queen Frederica of Greece, Prime Minister Constantine G. Karamanlis, President of Cyprus Glafkos Clerides, Prime Minister Kostas A. Karamanlis, E.U. Vice President Sir Leon Brittan, and many more.

United States Ambassadors to Greece are frequent participants and speakers at the Club’s meetings and events. Over recent years we have been honored by Ambassadors Thomas M.T. Niles, Nicholas R. Burns, Thomas J. Miller and Geoffrey R. Pyatt, to name just a few. Every year, the Club, in collaboration with the United States Embassy in Greece and the U.S. Coast Guard, hosts the AMVER Awards Gala, to honor Greek shipping companies that participate in the AMVER Program. Presenting the awards are the Greek Minister of Merchant Marine, the United States Ambassador to Greece and an Admiral from the U.S. Coast Guard, along with prominent representatives of state and industry. The Gala is attended by more than 1,100 guests each year, primarily from the shipping industry.

Much has changed at the Propeller Club of Piraeus, but some things will always remain the same – productiveness, honesty and consistency in our views, combined with an unswerving commitment to work for a better future. Given the global significance of Greek shipping, the Club has strived for a stronger expression of an essentially Greek character. It is fair to say that, today, it occupies a place in the Greek shipping community as an institution where merit and cooperation among its members prevail. The International Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Piraeus, will continue to work hard at developing closer ties between the United States and Greece, and with the other countries represented by its membership.