Greek owners to give massive boost to tsunami fund

The Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) is to donate a sum of at least one million U.S. dollars to the Tsunami Maritime Relief Fund that was inaugurated by IMO in the wake of the 2004 Boxing Day disaster.

In a letter to IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, pledging the donation, UGS President Mr Nicos D. Efthymiou spoke of the shock that the Greek shipping community had felt following the disaster and stressed the importance of providing material help.

He said "Words of condolence and the extension of sympathy alone cannot fill the gap and alleviate the grief and suffering currently experienced by the people of the region, especially as they now start to rebuild their livelihoods."

The Greek donation will be dispensed after mutual consultations between IMO and UGS and taking into account the priorities of specific projects in areas of need in the Indian Ocean.

In thanking the UGS for its donation, Mr Mitropoulos drew parallels with the age-old humanitarian customs of the sea. He said "Seafarers have always gone to the aid of their fellows in distress and this most generous gesture on the part of the Union of Greek Shipowners is truly in the spirit of that tradition."

The Tsunami Maritime Relief Fund was established by Secretary-General Mitropoulos early in January in order to co-ordinate the maritime community's wider response to the UN's immediate efforts. Contributions have come in from the shipping industry, the IMO staff and individuals and the Fund remains open to provide assistance for the longer term task of capacity building in the affected maritime communities. A previous donation from the Tsunami Maritime Relief Fund was made by Mr Mitropoulos to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in April when the two met in Switzerland and Mr Mitropoulos handed over to Mr Annan a cheque for £86,580 to be used for the restoration of the maritime infrastructure in the region affected and the reconstruction of the devastated fishing industry in the Indian Ocean.

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20 June 2005


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