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Greek seamen to strike – Zenith opts to skip Piraeus port

Passenger ships will be most affected by the strike starting at 0300 GMT Monday, with at least 30 ferries not operating from Greece’s main port Piraeus, near Athens, and more across the many Greek islands.
At least five cruise ships were expected in Piraeus, officials said, and may be prevented from leaving or disembarking passengers due to protests.
“We are protesting against the government’s policies. We have to protect our rights and our jobs,” said Yannis Halas, general secretary of the Panhellenic Seamen Federation.
“It’s not a protest against tourist arrivals in Greece, but they can’t throw Greek seamen onto the streets. They are also offering a lot to the economy,” he said.
The Zenith cruise ship will sail to Malta rather than the port of Piraeus on Monday.
The owners of the cruise ship made the decision in order to save their passengers from problems pertaining to the strike the Hellenic Seamen’s Federation (PNO) has called in protest at the lifting of cabotage rules. Talk that the port pilot service, which helps bring in ships for docking, will call a snap strike on Tuesday and Wednesday also played a role in the decision.
“Zenith is being targeted and has suffered losses. We’ll not risk going through the same again,” said Markos Nomikos, head of Donomis, the company representing the owners in Greece.
“If this situation continues, Zenith will not travel to Greece. Why is this happening? We don’t have any problems in Italy or Spain,” he said.
In reaction to the news that it has decided to sidestep Piraeus, business groups including the Athens Traders Association have canceled their planned gathering at the port which had been intended to welcome the cruise ship’s passengers.

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