New Fast Ferry Service in Greece

LONDON, May 9/PRNewswire/ — Specialist fast ferry operator Sea Containers is to launch a new service in Greece in a 50-50 joint venture – Aegean Speed Lines.

The company is a partnership between Sea Containers and the Eugenides Group. It will be the first to operate a non- Greek flag ship on a dedicated domestic ferry line in Greece after the Government lifted the cabotage restrictions last year, opening up trade as part of its European Union membership.

The service will operate between Piraeus and the Western Cyclades Islands with a start-up date of May 19th until the end of October.

The craft will be a 74-metre Wave Piercing Catamaran – which formerly operated on a route from St. Malo, France to Jersey in the Channel Islands. After extensive refurbishment in a Croatian shipyard the fast ferry has been renamed SpeedRunner 1 and will sail under the UK flag.

The wave-piercing catamaran – which as Hoverspeed Great Britain won the Hales Trophy and Blue Riband for the fastest crossing of the North Atlantic in June 1990 – will carry 557 passengers and 84 vehicles.

The service will operate one round trip per day from Piraeus to the islands of Serifos, Sifnos and Milos which are popular with Athens residents, many of whom own holiday homes.

David G. Benson, Senior Vice President Ferries Division of Sea Containers said: “We are delighted to be in partnership with such a well respected Greek company as Eugenides. Aegean Speed Lines will be introducing speed, style and service into the market and we are confident it will be a tremendous success with the travelling public.”

Mr Nicolas Telionis, Executive of the Eugeniodes Gropup said it was pleased to join forces with such an experienced fast ferry operator as Sea Containers. He added the aim of the venture is to further enhance the high speed passenger and cars transportation concept primarily for The Cyclades.

The new fast ferry venture is another foothold in the Greek tourist industry for Sea Containers as it operates the historic Corinth Canal under a 40 year agreement from the Greek government with plans to expand the facilities for visitors currently under progress.

Sea Containers also announced today that it plans to introduce a larger vessel into its SNAV – Hoverspeed joint venture service in the Adriatic between Italy and Croatia. A SNAV-owned vessel will be renamed Pescara Jet to operate on the Pescara/Hvar/Split service providing increased capacity for 900 passengers (up from 450) and 200 cars (up from 85).

The former Pescara Jet, a 74-metre SeaCat, will be renamed Zara Jet to operate a new route to Ancona from Zadar whilst the Croazia Jet will continue on the popular Ancona/Split service. All three routes will operate between June and September.

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