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Tourism

A Norwegian Idea: Greece’s Ferries Should Go Electric

OSLO – Norway – the world leader in using electric ferry boats – can help Greece do the same, its Ambassador Frode Overland Andersen, said, adding it would lead to Greek shipyards dominating the Mediterranean market.

He told the state-run Athens-Macedonia news agency AMNA that Greece could develop an electric ferry industry to gradually replace aging and diesel-burning vessels the emit heavy smells making a voyage unpleasant for some.

That could be using Norwegian state-of-the-art technology, he said on the sidelines of a conference this at the Eugenides Foundation in Athens on Electric Ferries: Establishing a New Industry in Greece earlier this year.

It was organized by the Norwegian Embassy and Isalos.net for shipping industry and government representatives to exchange ideas about an electric ferry industry in Greece, where islands closer to the coast have shorter voyages.

Andersen said that of 203 passenger and vehicle carriers operating in Norwegian waters, 79 are already electric, also noting that Norwegian and Greek companies and agencies talking to Greece’s shipping industry about technical know-how and collaborations for the electric idea.

In December, 2019, Greece’s first electric ferry was commissioned to service a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) route across the Gulf of Corinth between the port of Aigio on the Peloponnese side and the village of Agios (Saint) Nikolaos on the mainland’s Dorida region.

Greece has almost 14,000 kilometers (8700 miles) of coastline and ferries are still the main way to get to islands, with more than two dozen major lines operating from mainland ports, primarily Piraeus.

The Agios-Nikolaos pilot is part of a much larger project that includes an offshore power plant to provide the electricity with a hybrid power generating system that combines solar, wave and wind technologies, said Plugboats.

“Greece is one of the world’s great maritime nations, but it has been slow to take up electric ferries, in large part because many of the routes in the country are long overnight journeys to the islands that tax today’s electric-only capabilities,” the site said of why development has lagged.

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