The Greek Coast Guard received two new state-of-the art patrol vessels during a ceremony held in Piraeus on Friday.
Two more new vessels will be incorporated into its fleet soon.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was present at the ceremony, said the new vessels “will significantly strengthen the already great operational capacity of our Coast Guard.”
Providing more details, the Greek premier said that the new patrol boats, each 38 meters long, can cross the entire Aegean twice without refueling and under all weather conditions.
He added that they feature cutting-edge radar systems and underwater cameras, and are ideal for effective maritime patrolling.
They also provide requisite space for rescued migrants. One of the two will be deployed permanently at Lesvos, a front-line island in terms of migration flows.
Mitsotakis added that they were designed according to specs provided by the Coast Guard that correspond to the requirements of Greek waters.
Coast Guard vessels named after fallen heroes
The two ships were named in honor of two fallen heroes of the Coast Guard:
Captain Georgios Kotoulas, who was executed in 1942 by the occupying forces at the Kaisariani Shooting Range, and port guard Marinos Zampatis, who was fatally injured in 1997 by smugglers between Corfu and Epirus, while trying to prevent the illegal entry of cargo into the country.
“They are two heroes, they are two symbols of the Coast Guard, whom we must not only remember, but also honor.
“That is why from today their names will travel on the waves of the Greek seas, which they loved so much. Keeping their memory alive. Continuing their mission. And inspiring the younger ones to the task,” Mitsotakis said.
“We are all proud of the work of the women and men of the Coast Guard. Because we know that its executives – especially in the last year – have forgotten leave and weekends… And that they are always vigilant there, on the shores and in the waves, for our own safety,” the PM added.
On his part, Minister of Maritime Affairs Ioannis Plakiotakis said: “the strengthening of the operational capabilities, the sense of responsibility, the experience and the determination of the officers of the Coast Guard, have led to the particularly effective guarding of the maritime borders of our homeland.”
“It is even more important that these impressive results are combined with the observance of the rules of International Law, with sensitivity and with absolute respect for human life. Greece has sea borders, which are also borders of the European Union, and it protects them effectively,” he concluded.
The Hellenic Coast Guard, like many other Coast Guards, is a paramilitary organization that can support the Hellenic Navy in wartime, but operates under separate civilian control in times of peace.