The naming ceremony of the General Support Ship “Atlas I”, a Panagiotis Laskaridis donation to the Greek Navy, was attended by His Excellence President of Greece, Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos, President of the Greek Parliament Mr. Ioannis Tragakis, Chief of the Defence Staff, Mr.Christos Christodoulou and Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis and others.
In his salutation, Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis stated: “I come from a small country, with a stone cape in the Mediterranean. From a small place, with great tradition…. Our history, our ancestors, call for us to be worthy of that glory past”. The Vice Admiral added that the effort is going to difficult, like “a ship caught in bad weather”, and requires collective work with people like Panagiotis Laskaridis at the forefront. The General Support Ship “Atlas” is to bear a significant weight with regards to transportation, towage and maritime pollution prevention, said the Vice Admiral.
Donator, Mr. Panagiotis Laskaridis, President of the Aikaterini Laskaridi Foundation stated in his salutation that: “Today is a great day for him and his family, as he was able to offer the Greek Navy, a vessel that will contribute in a more efficient and economically effective way in the Navy’s operations”. He also stressed, that “the country have not to honor its citizens, to the contrary, it is the citizens who should honor the country. The country owes us nothing, we all as citizens owe the country”. Mr Laskaridis said that “the aid should come from all Greeks. Whoever has a lot (to give), should give a lot, whoever has little should give little, and whoever has nothing doesn’t need to give anything”.
Mr. Laskaridis also pointed out that the Greek Navy’s equipment has been neglected in the last years and need to be urgently enhanced. He underlined the importance of the human factor, as an important basic pillar of the Greek Navy by stating that “no one is above the Navy’s personnel. I would much rather have a good officer, than a good vessel. You can find a good vessel, but it takes years to make a good Officer”.
In his salutation, the Chief of the Defence Staff stated that this great Laksaridis’ donation constitutes to the renovation of our Navy and that this “patriotic gesture” will set an example for those, who have the means to support the armed forces, in these difficult times. He also reassured that the vessel will be fully utilized for the needs of the national fleet and country.
After emphasizing that «Sea and Greece are identical concepts”, Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos stated that “such vessels are high valued units and forced multipliers”. The Minister agreed with the rest of the speakers, that “after some time, a newer vessel of significant standards is being added to the fleet”.
Mr. Panagiotopoulos personally congratulated Mr. Laskaridis who, as he mentioned, “is always present for both the society’s and the armed forces’ needs”.
Visibly moved, Greece’s President emphatically stated that Mr. Laskaridis “continues the great tradition of national benefactors”. He also added that this vessel constitutes only a fraction of Mr. Laskaridis’ contribution and that his humbleness makes him a true supporter of the country, who didn’t seek constant attention for his donations to the armed forces. Mr. Pavlopoulos expressed his wish that more people will follow this example. The country always needs for people who support it. Closing his speech, he indirectly but clearly responded to Ankara’s provocative actions by underlining that the Greek Navy is a guardian for not only Greece, but also for the European Union- «against provocations and arbitrariness, Greeks continue to prove that we are guarantors of international European legality, both in regards to the borders and the Exclusive Economic Zone”. Mr. Pavlopoulos also added that this call for the European Union’s cooperation, who benefits from our borders’ protection, since they belong to it as well”.
The General Support Ship “Atlas I” has an overall length of 70 meters and more than 3.000 tons worth of displacement. It was built for the fuel equipment supply of other vessels for the execution of open seas supporting operations as a Platform Support Vessels.
Photos: Naftika Chronika