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Untaxed Greek Shipping Tycoons Buying Vessels From South Korea

Αssociated Press

In this Monday, March 23, 2020 file photo, shipping containers are offloaded from a vessel in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

Greek shipping companies, that pay only voluntary contributions to their homeland while flying flags of foreign countries, are flourishing during the COVID-19 pandemic as they did during Greece's economic crisis, ordering ships from South Korea's shipbuilding industry.

The United Kingdom market research firm Clarksons Research showed Greek firms placed orders for 18 ships worth 589,421 compensated gross tonnage from South Korean shipbuilders this year, accounting for 20.7 percent of the total, Greece the top buyer.

Greece, which has the most ships in the world, has traditionally been a big customer for Korean shipbuilders. Greece’s largest shipping company, Angelicoussis Group, has ordered 110 ships exclusively from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering since 1994.

According to the industry, the Kyklades Maritime Corporation of Greece, run by the Alafouzos family, ordered two 300,000-ton crude oil carriers from Korea Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in September and the shipping company Evangelos Pistiolis also ordered two more vessels.

The orders are worth a combined 420 billion won ($364 million) the Korea Herald said in a report about how the Greek oligarchs are continuing to build their world dominance in shipping while doing almost nothing to help their country deal with the pandemic or the economic crisis before that.

Pantheon, a Greek shipping company specializing in liquid cargo carriers, ordered two Suezmax tankers from Samsung Heavy Industries that the newspaper said was likely worth more than 120 billion won ($104.45 million.

The Greek shipping company Pleiades Shipping recently signed a contract with Daehan Shipbuilding to build an Aframax crude oil carrier. The order is worth about 54 billion won ($46.9 million.)