By L. Karageorgos
Alternate Shipping Minister Nektarios Santorinios, who holds the coastal shipping portfolio, told "N" this week that a pending legislative revision aims to eliminate the phenomenon of unnecessary routes, ones that are more concentrated towards receiving state subsidies for so-called remote island destinations rather than actually meeting real transport needs.
He also promised that a new framework for the coastal shipping sector will probably be ready by next May, a development that is important for Greece, given that ferry routes connect the mainland with scores of islands, islands with other islands, as well as the Adriatic routes connecting Greece with Italy by sea.
Santorinios, a native of the island of Rhodes who represents the Dodecanese constituency, also referred to the opportunity for the building of three or four new and more environmentally friendly vessels, such as LNG-powered ferries, to service Greek island routes.
In a bid to address the decades-old problem of high fuel costs in tandem with high-polluting conventional vessels, Santorinios also cited the opportunity now presented, as he said, for the use of smaller, electricity-driven or hybrid vessels to service close island-to-island routes, in both the Ionian and Aegean seas.