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72 hours in Athens!

On Tuesday  4th June Monique Turner and I jetted off to Athens on the 6.20am flight from London Luton to attend our very first Posidonia!

We arrived bleary-eyed but excited for the next few days in Greece. After dropping our bags at our hotel in Sparta we headed straight to the Expo. We were booked in for a ‘Crew Insights’ seminar session hosted by our friends at Kyvernitis Travel.

The seminar featured 4 panel discussions hosting representatives from some of the biggest shipping companies in Greece such as Crossworld, Dynacom, and Danaos plus representatives from Kyvernitis’s partners American Express and Qatar Airways (who actually provide a lounge solely for seafarers at Doha airport!)

The panels discussed important themes such as the attraction and retention of talent on-board vessels. Companies such as Dynacom had quirky initiatives such as providing seafarers with birthday gifts.

All panelists agreed that it was important to rebuild the link between ship and shore, and to motivate seafarers to take part in training and development initiatives.

We then jumped in a taxi (thank you FREE Now) to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre in central Athens for the British Ambassador’s Cocktail Reception with a welcome address from Lord Mountevans, Honorary President of Maritime London. The event was held in the ’Lighthouse’ on the 8th floor of the Cultural Centre with stunning views of the Athens skyline and Piraeus. We had heard that Kylie was playing that evening at the Capital party but unfortunately, this was strictly invite only so like Cinderella we headed home at midnight instead.

We woke up fresh and raring to go the next day, and headed straight to the expo to explore the halls.
We were booked in for the OTG and Danica Crewing ‘Beating the talent time bomb’ seminar which was chaired by Sean Moloney and with an intro from OTG’s Chief Creative Officer Raal Harris who summarised some of the findings from their research into Human Capital Management that they carried out with Thetius! They believe the war on talent is coming, when it comes to a job, people want more than just money. What employee experience can your company offer that makes it stand out from the crowd?

Danica CEO Henrik Jensen also provided an introduction to the session and reminded us of the importance of setting a versatile crewing strategy, particularly when it comes to the supply of crew. Currently 6 nationalities make up the majority of crew supply. Companies need to diversify to mitigate risk – as witnessed when we see the effect the Ukraine/Russia conflict has had on crew supply. Panelists included representatives from Optimum Ship Services, IMEC, Safe Bulkers, Danaos and Dohle Shipmanagement in the Philippines.

There is a drive from all companies to increase the number of females on board vessels in the coming years with 88 Aces (Part of Scorpio) looking for a 70% female crewed ship by the end of 2024.

There was also a lively discussion about the availability of crew from locations other than Eastern Europe and Asia, with thoughts that Africa and South America will make up a larger volume of seafarers in the coming years.

Following the seminar, we jumped on a coach provided by our friends at OTG which was heading to the beautiful beach resort of Glyfada. We arrived at what can only be described as one of the most beautiful locations we have been to for a work event – ‘Ark’ a stunning restaurant right on the seafront. OTG had arranged beautiful seafood canapes and fabulous Greek wine for the evening. We even dipped our toes in the water for some much-needed respite from the 40-degree heat!

After a wonderful evening, we got ready for our last day in Athens. We headed to Pireaus for a spot of ship spotting and client meetings with Gaslog and Blue Planet.

We had a wonderful lunch at Italida with desserts such as profiteroles filled with homemade ice-cream to die for!

We headed back to the airport for our evening flight with weary legs but positive thoughts from the amazing experience we had during our 72 hours at Posidonia.

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