20 December 2014

Artemis in Piraeus, 10 November 2013

We again return to Greece a year ago for today's entry. Whenever I think of a ship named Artemis, the first thing that comes to mind is the former P&O cruise ship with that name, today sailing as the Artania. Today's ship is, however, a different - and arguably better-looking - ship with the same name, build in Greece in 1997.


IMO 8966951
Name history: Georgios 2, Artemis
Built 1997, Salamis Shipyards, Greece
Tonnage 1 612 GT
Length 89,46 m
Width 14,00 m
Draught 3,50 m
1 250 passengers
85 cars
4 Alpha-B&W diesels, combined 5 678 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 18 knots

The Artemis was built in 1997 at the Salamis Shipyards in, you guessed it, Salamis, Greece. Originally named Georgios 2, her original owners was Hydra Ferries, who used her on a service linking Piraeus and Spetses via Aigina, Methana, Poros and Hydra. In late 1999, Minoan Flying Dolphins took over several smaller Greek ferry operators, including Hydra Ferries. The overtaken operators came to be marketed as Saronikos Ferries, and as such the Georgios 2 also became a member of the Saronikos Ferries fleet.

A further merger came in January 2005, when Minoan Flying Dolphins, Saronikos Ferries and Hellas Ferries merged to form Hellenic Seaways. Subsequently the Georgios 2 was renamed Artemis, and repainted in Hellenic Seaways' attractive black-hulled livery. Precise information on the routes she sailed on hard to come by. She may have continued to sail on the Piraeus-Spetses service for the duration, but at some point during her career this seems to have been altered to Piraeus-Poros via Aegina, Agistri and Methana. Regardless of her precise route in Hellenic Seaways service, in 2009 she was chartered to ANEK Lines for services around the Cyclades for the summer season. In late 2012 she was laid up, but reactivated for the 2013 summer season, sailing on the Volos-Skiatos-Skopelos-Alonissos -line. After this she was again laid up, apparently as a reserve vessel, but reactivated very briefly in November 2013 for Piraeus-Aegina -service. I seem to have managed to photograph her during the few days she sailed on that service.

Information on the Artemis' current owner and operator are conflicting. Although several websites list her as having passed under the ownership of a reformed Saronic Ferries this year, a little internet sleuthing reveals that she remains in Hellec Seaways service, operating currently on the Cyclades.

The photographs below show the Artemis departing from Piraeus for Aegina on the afternoon on 10 November 2013, photographed from onboard the Rotterdam. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Yes, there are craploads of ferries in Piraeus at any given time. Seen here in the background are Hellenic Seaways' Flyingcat 4 and Flyingcat 6, alongside their larger fleetmate Highspeed 5. Behind them is Blue Star Ferries' Blue Star Naxos (I think, it's hard to be certain from this distance), and in the foreground on the light the tug Alexander 5, coming to assist us (the Rotterdam) out of the harbour.
The same set of fast ferries as before, plus the Speedrunner III and Highspeed 4 on the left.
I'd really like to know who designed the Artemis' exterior; she is really quite pleasantly sleek - although a part of that comes from the very nice Hellenic Seaways livery, she doesn't look nearly as nice in older photos with a while hull.
More familiar background ferries: Knossos Palace, Olympic Champion and Lato.
Big and small Greek ferries.
Sailing towards the open sea. On the right edge of the image you can just see the funnel of the museum ship Hellas Liberty, which, as the name suggests, is a preserved World War 2 -era liberty ship.

Next time: Louis Aura.

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