By Andreas G. Laimos
(Naftika Chronika 1033/792, 15 June 1978, p. 14.)
During a crisis that has already lasted three years, with half of the ships superannuated, shipping receipts reached one and a half billion US dollars. The foreign press, in order to depict the dynamism of our Merchant Marine, highlights the importance of Posidonia ’78 which opened on June 5 at the Passenger Terminal of the Piraeus Custom Authority with a special ceremony and the presence of the minister of Shipping Mr. Emm. Kefalogiannis and the council of the Union of Greek Ship-owners with its president Mr. Antonio Chandris, with the Union Organization of the Panhellenic Federation of Sailors and other important figures of the Greek economy, and closed on June 12.
Posidonia are indeed a unique opportunity for the international marine community to come closer the first industry in maritime transport. More than five hundred foreign companies and around one hundred Greek companies, which represent shipping interests, shipyards and in general industries that cater for the needs of the shipping company give the tone of this gigantic activity, which is a paean to the nautical ability of the Greek nation in the 40 centuries of its historical trajectory.
Since 1969, when the Posidonia were first established, I have been writing in the Greek dailies but also periodicals in order to stress their significance. I am also writing this year in order to stress how beneficial Posidonia are as an institution for our country.
Posidonia are an affair of all Greeks, both modern but also historical and not just of our contemporary ship-owners. Because our Merchant Marine is an accomplishment of our struggle at sea, a struggle waged by the entire nation, namely our people, since Antiquity, creating its history and building its civilization.
That is why Posidonia must take the form of a panhellenic celebration and not just of an exhibition of marine products and of making trade agreements: They must enriched in terms of contact and take an organizational form which would allow – even better encourage – the participation of the entire people in the preparation and the various events.
To this direction we can follow the road taken by ancient Greek festivals. The Isthmia were dedicated to the god of the sea, Posidon, who’s name Posidonia also bear, the Olympia, the Panathinea and other festivals of our ancestors. Above all the Delia, because of their stronger commercial character. All of them had commercial motivation: to enhance the exchange of products between different areas. However, they quickly set as their aim to offer a higher moral motivation to youths and to forge stronger relations between Greeks in order to survive at the conditions of that time, conditions of competition between peoples, and thus build as they wished their national civilization. In order to achieve this aim, they enriched these festivals with many kinds of sports that exercised body and spirit, heart and soul. The Greek bravery, in other words. The bravery that filled our seas with battles such as the one in Salamis and our land with Marathons and Thermopylae and built Parthenons on our rocks and other sanctuaries upon our mountains and down our valleys.
Posidonia and their organization
This bravery at sea took a special character and became the Greek seamanship. I will not expand my presentation to the description of the beneficial effects that the organization of Posidonia has for our national economy and the general development of our country, because the space of an article is not enough. However, I have to stress something that refers to our own Shipping: with Posidonia conditions will be soon created to drastically solve the problem of the shortage of ship crews, a problem that could be a disaster for our Merchant Marine.
Because if Posidonia are organized in this fashion, then the struggle at sea, which from ancient times – ever since the sea was ruled by Posidon – defines the fate of our nation, will be a cause for the entire people and our youths will prefer to seek employment in the moving factories of our Merchant Marine than in foreign industries. Because apart from their earnings, which today are not smaller than the ones offered to Greeks migrating abroad and which must be improved wherever this is necessary, they will also be able to put in practice the ideals that inspire Posidonia.