While on a flight from Athens to London with Aegean Airways a couple of weeks ago, I could not fail to notice a distinguished looking gentleman sitting just ahead of us examining a Tsakos Shipping Group fleet brochure. I eventually realised that this was no other than Captain Panagiotis Tsakos, the founder of the Tsakos Group who was flying in the company of his wife Dr. Irene Saroglou-Tsakos and supporting staff members. Following a career at sea and land based management, Captain Tsakos established Tsakos Shipping and Trading SA in 1970, the embryo of what has grown to become the “Tsakos Group of Companies” comprising a number of affiliated and associated companies around the globe. Today, with a fleet of 90 vessels, the company is a leader in several sectors of shipping including tankers, LNG carriers, bulk carriers, container and ro-ro vessels, all of which are committed to long term charters, some with provisions for profit sharing
A typical example of this modern and well maintained fleet is the Suezmax tanker Spyros K.
Built by Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Tongyoung, South Korea
Owned and operated by Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement, Athens
Delivered in 2011
GRT 81314 tons
DWT 157,648 MT
Summer draft 17.05m
Main engine HHI 6S70MC-C7, 18,660 kW
Above left is Spyros K in the Strait of Canso, Nova Scotia approaching the Nustar oil terminal. With two mooring locations servicing vessels up to 400,000 DWT, Nustar is the deepest independent ice-free marine terminal in Atlantic North America. TEN on the ship’s hull denotes “Tsakos Energy Navigation” one of the world’s largest movers of oil and gas. Further to the shipping core business, the Group has diversified into other investment areas from shipbuilding, ship repair and ferry services to oil exploration, real estate, agriculture, forestry and renewable energy projects along with cultural, educational, philanthropic and charity activities. The company’s base remains on the Aegean archipelago island of Chios.
The “Maria Tsakos Public Benefit Foundation, International Centre for Maritime Research and Tradition” was founded in 2008, also in Chios, by Capt. Tsakos and his son Mr. Nikolas P. Tsakos with the aim of promoting research, the study of Greek and international shipping, maritime tradition and education, as well as protection of the marine environment. The Foundation carries the name of Capt. Tsakos’ daughter, the late Maria Tsakos, a legendary promoter of the Hellenic culture and supporter of seafarers. Maria Tsakos died suddenly in 2010 in her hotel in New York City, after suffering a heart attack at the age of 44.
Captain Tsakos, seen above left with his young family in the 1970’s, was elected the Connecticut Maritime Association Commodore for the Year in 2015. His son, Mr. Nikolas P. Tsakos, President and CEO of TEN, is the current Chairman of INTERTANKO, the voice of independent tanker owners and representing some 80% of the world’s tanker fleet. The picture above right was taken in the Presidential Hall in Athens in 2014 when Captain Tsakos was honored by the President of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Karolos Papoulias, with The Grand Commander of the “Order of the Phoenix”. The Greek Government confers the medal of “The Order of the Phoenix” to Greek personalities for their exceptional deeds, which enhance and promote the country’s international image.
Captain Tsakos provides a simple message: “The sea is our life breeder and seamanship, but more than anything else, is a combination of art and science, built on tradition and requiring, full dedication, devotion and commitment”.