March 31, 2014

MORE than 300 Greek shipping personalities, their partners in the UK maritime service industries, and their guests gathered at the Park Lane Hotel on Monday 24 March to pay tribute to the first 20 Inductees in the Greek Shipping Hall of Fame.

Among those honoured were the two new Inductees for 2013 – Pericles G. Callimanopulos (1892-1979) and Alexander G. Tsavliris (1914-1973). Their induction was concluded with a special tribute as part of the ceremony.

The inaugural Greek Shipping Hall of Fame – The London Event was also a celebration of Greek shipping and its ties with London and a portion of the proceeds from the event was donated to Hellenic Hope, the UK-registered charity that helps children in Greece who are affected by the country’s deep economic crisis. The prestigious London Event was supported by the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee whose chairman, Haralambos Fafalios, said that London was still the epicentre of world shipping. “The Greek shipping industry itself has been greatly aided by its position in London over the last century,” said Mr Fafalios. “With one of the most modern fleets spanning virtually every sector, there is no place on the globe where a Greek ship is not performing its role of facilitating world trade.”

The gala dinner event, in the art deco ballroom of the Park Lane Hotel, was also supported by a number of prestigious sponsors, many of them leaders in their sectors with a history of partnership with the Greek shipping community.

Classification society ABS was lead sponsor of the highly successful event. “Like the members of the Hall of Fame, ABS is committed to the pursuit of excellence,” said ABS’ chief operating officer, Europe Division, Kirsi Tikka who delivered a message from the society’s chairman, president and chief executive Christopher Wiernicki. She said that ABS, which forged strong relations with the Greek shipping community in the aftermath of the Second World War through classing the Liberty ships, pledged its full resources to continue supporting the activities of its Greek clients.

The event began with a welcome cocktail reception sponsored by Citi Private Bank, which established a convivial atmosphere that pervaded the entire evening. Premium Sponsors of the event were the Baltic Exchange and Deloitte. Other sponsors of the London Event were: Aegean Marine Petroleum Network; Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement; ClassNK; Commerzbank International Wealth Management; GMS; Lloyd’s Register; and the UK P&I Club. Aegean Airlines was travel sponsor.

Highlights of the event included songs by Athens-based singer Irene Zerva and an after-dinner speech by Stathes Kulukundis who has served on the councils or boards of numerous shipping industry associations. Mr Kulukundis, the nephew of one of the Hall of Fame’s Inductees, launched the Greek Shipping Hall of Fame’s ’15 Minutes of Fame’ Mini-lectures, conceived as a highlight of the institution’s events from now on.

Greek Shipping Hall of Fame director Nigel Lowry outlined the historic nature of Greek shipping’s relationship with London. Many of the Hall of Fame’s first 20 Inductees were closely associated with London during their careers.

“For Greece, shipping is a national cause. But the wider story is that Greek shipping is an international phenomenon,” he said. “And there’s nowhere - outside Greece, at least - that has played a more important role in that story than London has.”

Among guests attending the dinner were the Ambassadors to the UK of Greece and Panama, the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas and Lady Amanda Zambellas, Secretary Generals Emeritus of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) William O’Neill and Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, numerous Greek shipowners, and leading personalities from the maritime community in the UK. 

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