At the presence of the Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the Minister of National Defence Dimitris Avramopoulos officially named the new Submarine of the Hellenic Navy “PIPINOS”. The launching and naming ceremony of the submarine was held at the premises of the Hellenic Shipyards, in Skaramagkas. The ceremony was officiated by His Beautitude the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Hieronymos.
The ceremony was also attended by the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Evangelos Meimarakis, the Vice President of the Government Evangelos Venizelos, the Alternate Minister of National Defence Fofi Gennimata, the Deputy Minister of National Defence Ioannis Lampropoulos, the Chief of HNDGS General Michail Kostarakos, the Chief of HNGS Vice Admiral Evangelos Tournas and the Chief of HAGS Lieutenant General Christos Manolas.
It was also attended by the Minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection Vasilis Kikilias, the Minister of Shipping and the Aegean Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, MPs, representatives of parties, representatives of local authorities, personalities of the shipbuilding industry, foreign Defence Attaches and employees of the Hellenic Shipyards.
After the end of the ceremony, Mr. Avramopoulos addressed the following statement:
Mr. Prime Minister,
Mr. Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament,
Mr. Vice President of the Government and Ministers of the Government,
Representatives of the Political Parties,
Mr. Chairman of the Court of Audit,
Colleagues of the Hellenic Parliament,
Chiefs of the Armed Forces,
Dear Employees of the Shipyards,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is a special day for Greece and for the Hellenic Navy.
Mr. Prime Minister,
Approximately one and a half year ago, you trusted and supported the proposal I submitted you about the final solution of a complex, yet particularly important national and financial issue; of an issue which concerned not only the leaders of the Ministry of National Defence, but the Governments, the Parliament, Justice and public opinion as well for more than ten years.
Today, with this highly symbolic launching ceremony which is held according to our Navy’s traditions, the submarine “PIPINOS” is integrated in the Hellenic Fleet, whereas the submarine “OKEANOS” will follow quite soon and then, always according to the time schedule we have set and announced to the Hellenic Parliament, two more submarines, “MATROZOS” and “KATSONIS” will follow.
All this time we had set the solution of this problem as a priority and with bold yet realistic policies, actions and decisions, we finally solved the Gordian knot and put an end to this case which was damaging our national and public interest and our national security.
With our legislative initiative and the law voted by the Hellenic Parliament we ensured, as it is proved today, the interest of our state fully and effectively.
And all this, under circumstances of full transparency, democratic and parliamentary order and respect of our country’s legislation.
The total management of the submarines issue points out how important to our country is the political understanding on national issues, like defence.
How important the right planning, the proper method, truth and honesty are.
I stress them because they served as our rule in the field of our cooperation with the competent Committees of the Parliament, as well as in the reliable public information of the public opinion.
I wish, however, to express my full satisfaction and gratitude to the Chief of the Hellenic Navy Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis and to the personnel of the Hellenic Navy who believed, embraced and applied our policy for the solution of the submarines’ problem with reliability from the beginning, and which led to the final result, before which we are standing today, sooner than the deadlines we had set and in a more cost-efficient manner.
I am sure that the Hellenic Navy, released now from this burden is prouder, stronger and readier today.
But, at these difficult circumstances for the wider neighbourhood, our homeland too, by integrating these submarines to our fleet, reinforces its defence system and enhances its significant geopolitical role at the service of peace, security and stability in Eastern Mediterranean and South-Eastern Europe.
I wish also to stress that our efforts to integrate the submarines to the operational force of the Hellenic Navy were assisted by the employees of the Hellenic Shipyards who, with a sense of national responsibility and solidarity between each other, though they are unpaid for a long while, contributed to the application of the provisions under article 26 and to the fulfillment of the aim we had set in our policy.
I express them in public my thanks and my acknowledgement for their high level of professionalism.
Because, after all, it is our manpower who are and will be the main lever for the growth which will follow the period of the financial crisis.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let us keep this from this issue as an example and as a lesson learned: that when there is a steadfast loyalty to Public interest and democratic legitimacy, when there are capable and honest civil servants to implement political decisions, even the hardest and more complicated problems can result in a positive outcome and a happy solution.
The submarine which is at sea today, ready to bear proudly our flag sailing in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, and wherever duty calls for it, confirms this truth.
At the same time, it proves our country’s capability to build high technology weapon systems.
Preserving the infrastructures and the manpower for this capability must be a key pivot of our defence, as well as of our growth policy in the future.
Mr. Prime Minister,
The mission of the Ministry of National Defence which regarded this part too, was carried out successfully.
I thank you again for your confidence and support you showed me and I ask you to have the floor.”
The Prime Minister Antonis Samaras addressed the following statement:
“Your Beautitude, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is a special day. It is particularly important for our country, for our National Defence System, for our Hellenic Navy and for our growth strategy. After 12 years and many efforts which, of course, always had the same objective, the same purpose: the construction of these super-modern submarines to be completed and their integration finally to the force of Greece’s Navy.
This great moment has come. However, many people and many governments worked so that we can watch today “Pipinos” being launched.
The super-modern submarine “Papanikolis” was launched previously and it was in compliance to its model and know-how that the next ones were constructed. And I must remind you at this point that all these submarines came under state ownership when today’s Vice President of the Government, Mr. Venizelos, was Minister of National Defence and it came by a bill that he proposed and was voted by the Hellenic Parliament.
Thus, the money that the Greek people had paid proved to have been properly used. And today, the Greek people can watch the result of theis sacrifices. So, we share with them, in an atmosphere of pride, in am atmosphere of satisfaction this excellent development; but, mostly, the result. Today, Greece sends a message of power to all directions. And our economy sends its own message about growth since the construction of this super-modern weapon system was conducted in Greek shipyards by hands of Greek workers; shipyards, which are wealth and growth weapons for Greece and which are at the front line of our priorities for our country’s strategic growth.
And that there cannot be a naval country, a really shipping superpower, like our country, without possessing the respective shipbuilding infrastructure which exists, whatsoever.
The period of idleness and depreciation will be followed by a new period of dynamic growth, creativity, fully ensuring our skillful scients and workers. And this is our goal. The Greece of tomorrow, the new Greece will be a Greece of progress, growth, authority and most of all of national confidence; a Greece that creates, produces and also employs its skillful manpower with its tremendous capabilities.
I would like to congratulate the Minister of National Defence, Mr. Avramopoulos, I would like to congratulate the leadership of our Hellenic Navy and I would like to congratulate particularly the workers who put an end to a long lasting pending issue with their systematic work, with patience and transparency and they brought us this result within the deadline they committed themselves to.
Our Government proves once more that it has both the will and the courage and the strength to lead this country securely in the post-crisis era. And I want today here to assure the Greek people that this same road we will follow also in the years to come in the name of a more responsible national mission.
Thank you very much.»
After the launching ceremony, Mr. Avramopoulos performed the official naming ceremony of the submarine “PIPINOS stating:
“In the name of the Greek state and the Greek people I name you “PIPINOS” to the honour of a heroic figure of the naval combats of 1821. I wish you always have nice trips, you sail safely on the surface and under the water and may St. Nicholas always protect you.”