Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos attends the naming-induction ceremony of the General Support Ship “AIAS” in the Hellenic Navy

November 26, 2021

On Thursday, 25 November 2021, the Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, representing the Prime Minister Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, attended the naming and induction ceremony of the General Support Ship “AIAS” (GSS A-473) in the Hellenic Navy, which took place at the premises of Salamis Naval Base.

The ceremony was attended by H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Mrs Katerina Sakellaropoulou. The ceremony was also attended by the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Mr Konstantinos Tasoulas, the Chief of HAFGS Lieutenant General Georgios Blioumis, the Chief of HAGS Lieutenant General Charalambos Lalousis and the Chief of HNGS Vice Admiral Stylianos Petrakis, representatives of the political parties, representatives of the Church and of the Regional and Local Self-Administration.

The ship is another kind donation of the President of the “Aikaterini Laskaridis” Foundation, the ship-owner and Rear Admiral with honours Mr Panagiotis Laskaridis.

In his address, the Minister of National Defence Mr Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos stated the following:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Distinguished guests,

Although the Chief of Staff and Mr. Laskaridis almost covered everything, allow me to add that it is a special honour and pleasure to have the opportunity to be here today, at the naming-induction ceremony of the General Support Ship “AIAS” in the Hellenic Navy’s force. It is indeed a day of joy, an important moment for our Fleet, as it happens in every similar induction ceremony of a ship in the Hellenic Navy’s active force.

The General Support Ship “AIAS”, following the General Support Ships “ATLAS 1” and “ERAKLIS”, supplements and further upgrades the capabilities of supporting the Hellenic Navy’s units, operating in the Aegean and wherever requested. In a time period less than two years, since December 2019 until today, three main and modern Units were incorporated in the Hellenic Navy.

Their capabilities upgrade our Fleet operationally and all these in a time period which, due to the pandemic and the more general challenges that the country faces, could not be effected, without the really big contribution of the Rear Admiral with honours Mr. Panagiotis Laskaridis. The acquisition of these three ships in such a short time period is the result of his multi-sided contribution, both with regard to the Hellenic Navy and the Country in general. His contribution and work are of great importance and meaning, through his steady and tireless material and moral support, which, apart from the ships, it includes partial technical systems and spare parts. Mr. Panagiotis Laskaridis constantly shows both his love for the Hellenic Navy and of course the unbreakable ties of the Merchant Navy with the Hellenic Navy.

I would like to point out the immediate response of the Hellenic Navy’s members to delivery procedures, both of the General Support Ship “AIAS” and the previous ones, which, since last year, have been fully incorporated in the Fleet, operationally speaking, been used in the extreme by the Staff Officers and Ship Crews, as it was indisputably proven during the second semester of 2020, in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. So, I would like to congratulate and thank once more, the Captains and crews of these ships, as well as the praiseworthy Leadership of the Hellenic Navy.

Greece’s location, geographically speaking, is such, that it faces constant challenges both in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. The Armed Forces and the Hellenic Navy have always been the guarantor of National Sovereignty to protect the national interests; they make the country a powerful and trustworthy ally, by playing an active role in the international developments and a deterrent power as well, regarding any apparent insidious enemy and opponent.

That is why the Political and Military Leadership constantly work, seeking urgently the Fleet’s upgrade, both through the acquisition of new strike units and the arming of the existing ones with modern assets.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me here to make a comment: The effort to increase the fight effectiveness of the Armed Forces and especially the Hellenic Navy is constant. It does not start and of course it does not end during the tour of duty of a single Political and Military Leadership. It is evolving, it is intensified. Our effort was just to make it more intensive.

To the General Support Ship “AIAS” captain and crew, I would like to wish safe journeys. I am certain that you will worthily respond to your missions and that you will defend proudly the national interests, in the Aegean, the Mediterranean seas and wherever requested. May Saint Nikolaos always be at your bow.

I would like to cordially thank the Rear Admiral with honours Panagiotis Laskaridis on behalf of the Government, the Ministry of National Defence and the Armed Forces, for his contribution and generosity. He sets- and although I know he does not like courtesies, but I feel that I must project his contribution concluding my address-an example of a great Greek citizen, who acts, keeping in mind, not what the Country can do for him, but rather what he can do for the Country. For this only, I deeply respect and honour him.

Thank you”.