HESGB conquering Park Lane…

Anniversaries, Charity, Events, People and Places, Shipping Centers, Social Columns, Story of the Month — By on February 24, 2017 at 11:35 PM

The HESGB Governing Committee; the great team behind the super event…

When you come to age, your immediate action and conversely reaction is to conquer; conquer everything that comes as a challenge to you, needless to say in business. Last year the HESGB* (Hellenic Engineers Society of Great Britain) came of age… This year the conquest began!

Anny Zade of allaboutshipping.co.uk continues to relate the success story of HESGB’s annual dinner and dance events, bringing together all stakeholders of the shipping industry: Britons and Hellenes  mainly, as well as others from all over Planet Ocean excel, all being masters in their specialist maritime fields, and, in addition to having fun on these occasions, make business despite the adverse market conditions we are witnessing these nine years of this unprecedented crisis – part of a phenomenal worldwide economic crisis and credit crunch. Synergy and mutual support at the get-together at its best!

Shaenia Brandel on stilts…“depicting” in an optimistic way the upcoming improvement of the shipping markets…

Following the Dorchester and Hilton Hotel events on Park Lane, it was the turn of the Grosvenor House, as its Great Room can accommodate 1,000 people – and quite comfortably! Over 650 –  surpassing last year’s event, participated and supported in any way you can imagine this 22nd annual dinner and dance of the HESGB which will remain as the best ever event of its kind. You might wonder “Why”? Well, as our sector is the most important of all others put together carrying in 2016 10.5 billion tonnes of cargo, the best performance to ensure continuity and sustainability of life on the planet, performance-excellence is the name of the game and we are all more than familiar with the shipping KPIs which we adhere to maintain!

President Dimitris Monioudis welcoming J. P. Morgan’s Christos Kottas and his wife Maya

The welcome featured a disciplined performance with Shaenia Brandel on stilts…“depicting” in an optimistic way the upcoming improvement of the shipping markets, hence this special picture here, with John Faraclas having his day… Interestingly, Shaena, a circus artist and co-director of Pirates of the Caribbean – what a name yet again connected with shipping given that piracy pre-occupies all involved, with her team brought us a really circus shipping performance! Ropes and conversely knots are a tradition in our industry – including leisure with boats and yachts, and continue to be part of our everyday life… Knots you said and she did her best to please all present receiving extended applause!!

Foresight’s Dr. Ravi Mehrotra with Tracy and David Barrow from Lloyd’s Register at the drinks reception

A very lively drinks reception at the hotel’s  basement foyer and three-step level bar, where …Love was in the Air – Valentine’s just 53 hours away… Good to see many from the Square Mile, Downtown Akti Miaouli, as well as many others from all over Planet Ocean and to catch up. Ample time also to check not our tables, but find out where friends and business acquaintances were to be found; good to check who wasn’t coming too, as business comes first.

Dr. Christine Morley with her husband Jonathan Morley from Lloyd’s Register

After this jovial reception with intense networking  and doubtless even deal-making (!) pre-dinner champagne  and …soft drinks reception, we went down the … magnificent Emperors’ stairway leading to the football field-size ballroom for dinner, dance and good fun!

As in all previous HESGB annual D&D events, academics, accountants, architects and civil engineers, associations, aero tourism clubs, brokers, bankers and financiers, bunker suppliers, charity organisations, chartering brokers, claims specialists, class society representatives, cruise industry groups, diplomats, diving and underwater specialists, environmental protection and products companies were present…

ClassNK  Dr. Abdul Rahim, his wife Manju and Mrs. Fond

Fashion designers and clothing specialists,   flag states and ship’s registries, florists, freight forwarders, food and drinks groups, hotels and resorts companies, IT computer  and communications specialists, freight forwarders, logistics and ports services, lubricants companies and suppliers, marine engineers, marine paints, maritime arbitrators, military authorities – Coast Guard officers, naval architects, navigational systems and aids were there in full force….

From the drinks reception at the bar with George Teriakidis, Kostas Papadakis both from DNV GL and friends

Add also the offshore companies, oil companies, P & I associations, press and media, regulatory interests, salvage – towage and wreck removal entities, security anti-piracy and terrorism specialist firms, shipmanagers, ship agencies, ship chandlers and suppliers, shipbrokers, shipyard representatives for building repair and conversions,  spare parts and marine equipment companies and representatives, the entire shipping markets and sectors – bulk, oil /containers/ LNG and LPG carriers /reefers / cruise liner operators,  travel agencies – specialists also in marine travel,  underwriters were present; and we noticed that accompanying guest’s other halves engaged in other sectors, such as medicine, the arts, public services were more than impressed by our industry!

Heading to the Grand Ball Room for dinner, dance and good fun!

As a woman, I was more than pleased to see so many on the female side, not that they were with their husbands, fiances, boyfriends or friends as couples, but on their own as business -women and some bringing their male companions! Pleased to see many youngsters, but mentors too; excellent continuation of our maritime heritage!

The president’s welcome

President Dimitris Monioudis’ figure of over 650 faithful from 35 countries – coincidentally we have rechecked this and next time round there should be more flags at the Society’s site-page sponsors, gives you the well prepared event by his HESGB events team, including this year’s presence in the United Kingdom of Patty Apostolopoulou, the HESGB Secretary, whose silent work all these years in the Far East paid off! Despite his many trips abroad as a Flying Dutchman …err Flying Greek, he did more than you can imagine, having also not just his alter ego, but his wife Camila full support and continuous involvement.

The president Dimitris Monioudis with his wife Camila deOliveira Deniz

As a medium we also witnessed – even by chance if you like, the well in advance tasting date and process for selecting the dinner menu as we were trying to find one afternoon GSCC’s director and HESGB’s deputy treasurer Rt. Radm (HCG) Costas Amarantides, who was there meticulously selecting with other members of the events tasting crew the various food and delicacies; excellent!  Excellent, but we did without a rooster – fillet of beef Wellington was chosen.  As this was the Year of the Rooster… Shicheng Yang, our UK Cosco friend gave us all super smiles!

This year’s welcome address was brief and to the point as it had to cover twice the issues covered last year by the president Dimitris Monioudis, as well as the fact that there was a special guest speaker, the very well-known to all beyond the Gates of the Square Mile, and cordial friend for nearly three decades in the City, Doug Barrow who delivered a lengthy but very much to the prevailing circumstances speech on the “Greece – UK ‘special relationship’”.

Doug Burrow delivering a great speech

Despite the fact that most know of the special relationship being between the UK and the USA and we receive continuous media bombardment including eblasts… things prove otherwise with this unique special relationship; both speeches can be read in full at the end of this reporting. A big THANK YOU Dimitris Monioudis for these exceptional contributions..!

The programme booklet, was an improved version of last year’s new programme design continuing the tradition and scientific facts as we have mentioned in the past. There is always hope in life and immediately you open the programme there was Hellenic Hope, the charity supporting kids-at-risk in Greece and a special envelope was on each table for generous support from all; we will let you know soon the result of this successful fund-raising!

Networking didn’t stop even during dinner; here Aggeliki Koutoulia from Bank Julius Baer Luxembourg – being approached by a prospective candidate, in action

l to r: Shicheng Yang COSCO (UK) Ltd., Iris Liaskonis from Seascape Ltd and Foresight’s Dr. Ravi Mehrotra

Last year we had the Antikythera Mechanism, a more than worth-to-remember instrument, which over the last five years has been the talk in many forums and symposia; this year the front cover was dedicated to the Relief of Anaximander 610-546 BC and the back cover the 5th century BC Hellenistic World! Respect to geography and knowledge of the various goods and services, created today’s unrivalled performance of Greek Shipping! Did I hear you say GPS?

My first event, nearly a decade ago upon returning to London, was that of the HESGB annual dinner and dance and I was more than impressed by the performances by a Lykion ton Hellinidon (the Lyceum) abroad, the best that take place, are here!

The Greek folklore dancers in London are second to none.  Once again the excitement was unique and at least half of the 650 guests joined them on stage!!

The Deputy Treasurers’ table; Rt. Radm (HCG) and GSCC director Kostas Amarantidis with his wife Tenia Koronaiou; to his right George Anastassioi, Gosia Kosciolek and her husband Loic Raboteu. LISCR’s Kostas Ladas – extreme front right, next to him is GSCC’s secretary Maria Syllignaki and other  guests

Dancing was as always an issue as Hellenic Nights’ DJ Avgoustinos Galiatsos had to do his utmost to please the multiple requests!

We did our part too, following the overwhelming …revellers’ request, repeating our last year’s …spectacular… on stage!

Finally the Raffle Draw – compered by Riffi Khan and Michael Sfakianakis, included 28 prizes – same as the number of February’s days!

The Pandora table with the Greek Consul Sotiris Demestihas at the centre, Captain (HCG) George Skandalis – front right. Other guests include Dr. Kiki Sonidou, Millie Argyriadou, Georgia Fotopoulou – Pitidis, Mary Ferizis, Anna Lingi, Nikos Pappas, Vicki Fotopoulou, Theodora Chrysostomou, Michael Pitidis – Poutous, and Irini Pantazi

A great thanks to all the sponsors for their generous support in promoting their business but also giving that … waiting agony to all leading to the sheer enjoyment and content of the winners.

Many of allaboutshipping.co.uk friends and supporters won, amongst them winning the top prize was Jean Richards – coincidentally returning from a cruise  – as she intimated, and now ready for yet another one. She won the Majestic international cruise  for two  during one of the ship’s fabulous 2017 European trips!!

Many congratulations for all who took part in any way and capacity for producing this memorable evening.


The Lykion ton Hellinidon performing

* HESGB: The idea to form a Club had been regularly mulled over since the early 1980’s, but it was not until the summer of 1995, that a group of Greek Engineer friends, based in the UK and predominantly Graduates from Newcastle and Sunderland, conclusively decided to form a “Club of Greek Engineers” with its main goal to maintain social contact amongst its widely spread membership. Later that year, the first General Assembly was held, at which time, the official name of “Hellenic Engineers Society of Great Britain” was endorsed, the Society’s statutes were formulated and the first Governing Committee was elected.

All the world on stage learning Greek folk dances


From inception, the aim of the Society has been to nurture and promote professional and social contact amongst its members and particularly younger members, newly positioned within the shipping industry. This is achieved by holding informal gatherings, providing a forum for exchanging views on technical matters and by organizing numerous social and cultural events.

The Society started off with around eighty Founding Members and since then has increased in membership year on year, firmly establishing its presence within the UK maritime industry.

The super raffle winner Jean Richards head of Quantum Shipping Services flanked by George Foustanos and Michael Sfakianakis

In fact, just as Greek shipping history goes back over 4, 000 years, we are proud to report that our Society’s membership has a collective experience within the industry exceeding 4, 000 years with many members requested to share their views and expertise in various prestigious international for a, such as IMO, Intercargo and BIMCO.

At the same time, the society has been privileged to welcome into its ranks a number of non-Engineer Associate Members, who have wished to actively participate and support its Society’s functions and thus broadening HESGB influence even further.

Smiling faces from Christina Sinopli-Pappas after receiving her prize

2009 was truly memorable for the Society’s brief history.

The new logo was introduced to critical acclaim, based on the trireme, the ancient Greek warship which was fast, agile and state of the art, all attributes HESGB  wishes to emulate three millennia later.

The website was also revamped and relaunched bringing our members even closer together.

…another prize winner: arts specialist Janaina M. Baxevanis’ smile of content

Worth logging on for the rest of interesting functions… www.hesgb.com


2017 HESGB presidents address

Dear Guests, Members, Friends and Colleagues,

It is a great pleasure and privilege to welcome you to our Society’s 22nd Anniversary Annual Ball which is being held at this most prestigious venue, the iconic Great Room of the renowned Grosvenor House, London.

The Chartworld / King Kollakis table

It truly leaves me speechless, that year after year we are able to find so many loyal friends both in the United Kingdom and overseas who are willing to offer us their continuing support in the form of table sponsorship, raffle prizes or advertisements in our commemorative brochure. This year in particular, we are even more proud of our close ties with all our steadfast sponsors who are participating despite the profound global political and financial turmoil. A special note of thanks should be extended to Lloyds Register and Marlink for their unheralded support of young engineers in particular. May I express my sincere thanks to all concerned and urge all our Members and Friends to support our sponsors in the coming year.

The Atlas table …err The Youngster’ table in full force at centre stage!

I also wish to extend a warm welcome to all new friends and organisations who are joining us tonight, and especially, KPI Bridge Oil, Technava, L&R Midland, AIMSS, Thomas Gunn’s Poseidon Navigation Services and HEMEXPO (the Hellenic Marine Equipment Manufacturers and Exporters)  who are supporting us for the very first time. I thank them all for their contributions, wish them a memorable evening and hope to see them again in years to come.

On behalf of the Society, we are all very proud of our Annual Ball, since we believe it stands out from other similar events due to the genuinely friendly atmosphere, the unique style of entertainment and good old Greek hospitality. 2017 sees us being joined by over 620 guests of more than 40 nationalities !!!


The IRI / Marshall Islands Registry table

Past participants will also note tonight, that as we have now entered our third decade as a Society we have grasped the opportunity to completely revamp our function and with the help of the Grosvenor House feel confident that this will be the very best event in our Society’s history.

No doubt, you will also have noticed that the booklet in your hands is very different to those issued at other similar events. We are extremely proud of this publication (perfected by hard working Mark and Elaine) and sincerely hope that it will be taken home with you at the end of the night both as a memento and to be used as a valuable quick reference tool in the future by those of you directly involved in the maritime industry.

The ABS table

On my part, I would like to thank all those who have given up their valuable time over many months in organising this event and particularly Patty (without whom the Society could simply not function), Evan, Alex, Michael, Kostas, the two Christos’, Marc, the two George’s, Zaf and of course Camila for her inspiration and unbelievable patience.

I am very excited to greet our DJ Avgoustinos Galiassos, on secondment from the “Hellenic Nights”, who will be drawing us to the dance-floor until the early hours of the morning. We also look forward to seeing the wonderful dancers of the Lykion ton Hellinidon supervised as always by Anita and Pighi.

Finally, in our effort to ensure the “unexpected” which has by now become the norm at our annual functions, we are delighted to announce that we will be addressed tonight by Doug Barrow (newly appointed Director of the UK Shipping Register) who is seeing us in action for the very first time, whilst the Pirates of the Carabina’s performers are expected to leave us spellbound.

A Room …err a Ball Room with a view…!

Finally, I wish to express my sincere thanks to all of you who have honoured us with your presence at this event and especially those who have travelled from foreign lands in order to be with us here in London. I hope you will have a very enjoyable evening and look forward to seeing you at one of our future functions.

The 12 months following our last Dinner Dance in February 2016, have probably been the most momentous in many of our younger members’ lifetimes:

  1. Leicester City won the Premiership
  1. “Brangelina” are no more
  1. Andy Murray became the world’s Number 1 ranked tennis player

    Right on from the right, big smiles…: Michael Kotsapas, Anastasia Papadopoulou, Thomas Antoniadis and friend; on the left Cassie Forman Michael Kotsapas’ wife

  1. The British people were gifted a new Prime Minister without any prior national or party election
  1. A reality TV personality became “Leader of the Free World”


  1. Greece remains in the Eurozone, despite an eighth consecutive year of austerity and progressively gloomier long term forecasts

On the other hand, a number of issues that define our world remain unmovable and act as our daily bedrock:

  1. The England Football team had another dismal international tournament in Euro 2016 and has experienced 3 different managers in the last 8 months

…more smiling faces…: Georgia Blioka from Chartworld with her son Antonis Vyrgiotis currently with the Bahamas Ship Registry

  1. Greece remains the Number 1 global shipping nation, being the only member of the big Top 4 to see her share increasing (to 16.36% of the world fleet) compared to Japan (at 12.8%), China (at 8.9%) and Germany (at 6.6%) experiencing small drops
  1. The HESGB continues to go from strength, seeing a membership increase of over 15% in 2016 !!! Tonight we are thrilled to see amongst us over 100 of our members including our very first member (Andreas Papadakis of AP&A) as well as our two latest recruits, Nick Karagiannis and Antigoni Venizelou of LR
  1. London remains the leading global shipping centre, combining commercial (e.g. the Baltic), technical (e.g. IMO, Intercargo, Intertanko, ICS, IMAREST), insurance (Lloyds) and legal expertise (as my good friend Aleka Shephard of the London Shipping Law Centre sitting across from me will vouch for) unrivalled by no other city. National and international organisations found it the best city to operate in before the UK joined the EC/EU and will no doubt find it so after Brexit (no matter when this happens)…

    …smiling too are Mr and Mrs Leon Papazoglou

and on this note I am very honoured to welcome Doug  Barrow, who currently leads Maritime UK and will be taking over the UK Shipping Registry next month.

Forget about the wavering UK/US “special relationship”, Doug will share a few thoughts about the steadfast Anglo-Greek “special connection”

Dimitris Monioudis, President

+ +

The Guest Speaker on the Greece-UK special realtionship

Mr President, Ladies & Gentlemen – Good evening

Kyr-i-es kai kirii – kalispera

and more smiles from LSLC’s Jeremy Thomas, Marsh and Mcleans’ Stavriana Asprogiannidou and Yannis Karagianopoulos

It is a great pleasure to be asked to speak to you this evening – not only am I honoured as a former deck officer to be addressing an audience of mainly engineers and their guests – but with so many originally from Newcastle and Sunderland, to have a Southampton man talking is a risk!

My thanks to the Hellenic Engineers Society of Great Britain for this invitation and congratulations on your 22nd Anniversary.

From past experience of attending events with predominant Greek audiences, I know that well before I finish the majority of you will be checking e-mails, talking with your neighbours or going outside for a smoke!

I have been asked to speak to you for a few minutes on the relationship between our two nations and for me, that is personal. It started over 40 years ago, when, as 3rd Mate of the MV Luminetta, we docked in Piraeus with a cargo of oil. There was enough time for a run ashore and a visit to the Acropolis – in the days when one was allowed inside the Parthenon.

Supports Navarinio Icons products… learn more about them as well as the Peloponnesian products from Greek mother earth

This was the start of a love affair with Greece, its people, its culture, its food and its wine!

As a nascent petroleum inspector in 1976 I was “stranded” by a strike of airport staff in Athens whilst on route to Kuwait for my first, and last, posting as a petroleum surveyor. I recall my days were spent whiling away the hours in the Red Lion pub behind the Hilton hotel. The pub is long gone now, and my memories are non-too clear anyway! I have holidayed in Gregolimano and Elounda; lost count of the number of Posidonias I have attended as well as trading thousands of tonnes of bunkers with Greek buyers and sellers. I have developed friendships with members of the UGS and GSCC and many more beside. None of it loses its sparkle and now looking forward to returning to our Embassy in Athens with our Shipping Minister in June for the 4th Greek British Shipping Forum.

Greece is currently sailing in troubled waters, but I hope, the country I love, will manage to find calmer waters soon as you are a creative and intelligent people

A folk dancer heads …the chorus with three ladies from the Aegean: Pyghi N. Skinitis, president of the Lykion ton Ellinidon – from Rhodes, Dodecanese Islands, Dr. Aleka Mandaraka-Sheppard, the founding director of the London Shipping Law Centre – from Andros, Cyclades and Anna Menis –  from Chios, North East Aegean Islands. No paparazzi can get this in a million years…

So, let’s look at the long standing maritime relationship between our nations, how that relationship has changed and what is being done to ensure its strength.

When the GSCC was formed in 1935 the world was in the grip of an economic crisis. There was an oversupply in the freight market and a voluntary agreement was made to lay up part of the tonnage. What a pity we haven’t been able to achieve that on a global basis today to deal with the current overcapacity of ships.

However, it is acknowledged that the close relationship between the maritime services of the UK and the ship owning operations of Greece is at a critical point and, whilst I am sure we will be friends long into the future, I am aware of the issues and can assure you attempts are being made to do something about it.

But, before looking forward let’s take a moment to consider our past.  

Greece has been synonymous with shipping forever, and the history of the Greek merchant marine goes back 3,000 years

…and you never ever seen this before; all the world on stage!

Since those early days there have been ups and down, sadly, including wars where the fleet has nearly been wiped out – but the love affair between the Greeks and the sea has never diminished

The UK also has a similarly long maritime history.

We know there was a bridge or jetty built on the Thames around 3,000 years ago.

British merchant shipping has its origins in the 17th century, when Lloyds Coffee House was opened followed a little later by the forerunner of the Baltic Exchange. It peaked in the 19th Century leading to the development of the maritime services we have today.

…not forgetting Bureau Veritas’ Yiannis Calogeras (on the right) seen here with his guests

The maritime relationship between Greece and the UK has long been entwined, especially since the decline of the British fleet in the late 1970’s, and is, we still hope, inseparable.

But why is it that I have heard from Greek colleagues, despite the non-doms issue, the Greek shipping market has always been more “pro London” than “pro Piraeus”? It is certainly not our climate!

The main reason is the full range of maritime services available to the ship owner and operator in a single location.

Historically, what better place to establish an office, where there was a good supply of a skilled workforce, in an ideal time zone, at the heart of international shipping?

…or DNV GL’s friends John Kourmatzis and Evan Zaranis…

In many respects, not a lot has changed today – with the possible exception of finding the finance! All of the one stop shop capability still remains.

So, why have our maritime services been so successful, especially considering the national decline in the ship building and ship owning capability.

The UK remains the global centre for maritime law and arbitration, insurance, both underwriting and P&I and shipbroking to mention just some of the services. We have a plethora of maritime education establishments making the UK a global leader.

Charles Darwin said that it is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is most adaptable to change.

It is that adaptability to change that has been one of the keys to retaining our position. With a history spanning over 300 years, the UK’s maritime firms have been leaders in innovating change.

Ah! our old friend from Elsmore Shipping Thanassi Theofilis with his sister Athina Paris

The UK was once the global dominant force in shipping and maritime affairs and was largely unchallenged. That is no longer the case and other shipping centres have appeared. One only has to look to the East to see that growth.

Excluding the Greek members of Maritime London, a significant number of our members have offices in Greece. Lawyers, shipbrokers, insurance firms, accountants, surveyors, and many more demonstrate the importance placed on the Greek market by the maritime services providers of the UK.

The Hermes table with, on a l to r basis Lt. Commnader (HCG) Theofilos Mozas, Iris Liaskonis, Les Chapman, Anna Menis, Jonathan Lux, Dr. Aleka Mandaraka – Sheppard, Jeremy Thomas, Stavriana Asprogiannidou, Yannis Karagianopoulos, Aggeliki Koutoulia, John Faraclas and Anny Zade

What every business requires is fiscal stability, certainty and predictability. The UK’s tonnage tax scheme has helped increase the size of the British fleet and continues to be a good scheme, but as we are all aware, there are challenges with taxation that have not yet been overcome and who knows, Brexit may afford our government that opportunity, and I hope it won’t be too late.

Despite the efforts of past governments, albeit unintentionally, to jeopardise commercial relationships, the special affinity between Greece and UK maritime businesses remains solid. It is the enduring, strong personal relationships between commercial partners who want to, and will continue to, work together.


Analyst Lilian Evgenides and her brother Dimitris – both from Teekay with Takis N. Pappas from Silverstream Technologies and his son Nikos…

In 2015 our government undertook the Maritime Growth Study to make the UK more competitive and attractive to global businesses. Despite a slow start from both industry and government, implementation of those recommendations is now well under way and we have never had a better relationship between industry and government on maritime affairs in peace time before.

We don’t know what Brexit is going to mean, it will provide challenges and opportunities but rest assured, we will adapt to those changes as there is a real commitment for shipping to do better in a post Brexit environment.

Les Chapman and Dr. Aleka Mandaraka-Sheppard

What it will mean is a different relationship between the UK and our friends within the EU, but already analyst the work to have a special relationship between Greece and the UK is well underway. Our new Ambassador to Greece, Kate Smith, took post in January. She, like me, is passionate about our maritime services. She made the greatest effort I have ever known of an Ambassador Designate to understand our industry and rest assured, she will do everything in her power to ensure that special relationship between our nations with the support of our government and our Shipping Minister.

Mentoring, discipline and future success: Gard’s Michael Kougellis and his 12 years old son Antonis. This is the recipe for Shipping’s future success!

As I conclude may I invite you all to London International Shipping Week 7-11 Sep 2017 – Save the Date! It is the result of our government and industry working together to provide a “must attend” week focusing on Tomorrow’s Maritime World. It is not there to compete with Posidonia, but to compliment it and I hope we will see many of you there at some of the 160 industry functions to be held during the week.

President, Ladies & Gentlemen – Thank you for your kind attention. Efharisto – Doug Barrow



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