AEN / P of the Ionian Islands

The founding of the AEN / P Ionian Islands took place in 1966 and was initially called the School of Kefallinia. Later, in 1998, under relevant legislation it was named AEN. Ionian islands.


Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian islands, acquires its own Naval Academy (1961-1977)

Kefalonia and Ithaca were the two largest seaports in the Ionian Sea, whose ships and sailors from the mid-18th century and then helped the Greek shipping industry to become a significant naval force in the Mediterranean and beyond. The naval tradition of the islands has prompted large Ionian shipowners to “invest” in the naval education of young people in the islands so that the latter can consistently and professionally serve Greek shipping.

Ithaca will be founded in 1907 by the shipowner Othon Stathatos, the first, modern, Greek schoolmasters school, also known as the Stathatos School. Othonos A. Stathatos School functioned in a newly built and majestic building, equipped with all the necessary instruments and with the most remarkable Greek and foreign teachers. Her address was taken over by Swiss teacher Julien Cherm. The school will operate until 1913. During these five years of operation it will become well known and will be distinguished for the adequacy and quality of the vocational education and training of its graduates.

In Kefalonia, on the other hand, at the beginning of the 20th century, namely in 1911, the Embassy School was founded on the initiative of the Vallianos Legacy, as it was considered to meet the professional needs of the island’s inhabitants. The school’s mansion will be erected in the center of Argostoli with a cost of £ 13,849. However, the school will operate for a few years and will then be transformed into a Panagiou Vallianou Commercial School, from private to public, and will operate until 1953, after which, after the devastating earthquakes of August of that year, the ruin will cease and cease its operation. As Kefalonian journalist Chr. Mountains,

AEN of the Ionian Islands

Commemorative photo taken from the swearing-in of the first students of the Public School of Commerce of Nautical Kefalonia “Vergoteos” (1977). In the front row, on the ladder of the commander’s office, distinguished from left to right by the then merchant Maritime Minister Al. Papadogonas, Mary Vergoti, her husband Andreas Vergotis, one of the great benefactors of the school, and the governor of the school Fouskas Panagiotis, Lt.

In 1915, at the initiative of the Panagis A. Vallianos Legacy, the Vallianos Vocational School of Lixouri will be established, with the function of starting the school year 1927-1928. A few years after the earthquakes of 1953 and despite the calls for the re-establishment of the naval school of Argostoli, the Ministry of Mercantile Marine and the then Minister Stelios Koviadis decided on 22 September 1956 (decision 58099/7345) to establish a “Naval Engineering Department at the Valliane School Kefallinia, in which there is already a very good machine for the practice of the pupils “. Several engineers who graduated from Greek ships graduated from this new department, while the shipowner Spyros Typaldos had offered a substantial amount of money to support this new private naval school,

It is worth mentioning that the Vallianos School will acquire even its own training vessel, but this time the initiative belonged not to the legacy of Panagis A. Vallianos but to the legacy of Angelos Louise. They write in particular the Nautical Chronicles on the sheet of October 1, 1959 that “on September 17th, the ceremony of the name of the educational board of the Vallianios School […], purchased by the legendary shipowner Angelos Louise, was made at the Tourkolimanos bay. This 80-ton graded boat is equipped with a 95-horsepower Leande diesel engine and is developing at a speed of 10 miles. In the presence of the head of the GN. Mr. Tsatsou, the Director of the Naval Training of the Hellenic Ministry of Marine, Mr. Villiamos, of the Kefalonia MPs. Metaxa and Pinyathorou and the President of the Vallianiou School of Ioannis Romanou, Mrs. Karra graduated from the new teacher, I broke the well-known bottle of Campanite in his front and I call this “Andreas Lousis”. After the ceremony, there was a reception for the Navy Club. “

However, the shipowner’s request for the re-establishment of the shipbuilding school of Argostoli was persistent and persistent. Indeed, as Nikolaos B. Metaxas notes, following the earthquakes of 1953, several shipowners from the island, wanting to offer a professional outlet to young people, who left the deserted Kefalonia in search of a better professional future and wanting, clearly, to staff the their ships with well-trained Kefalines, decide to cooperate and with personal donations proceed to the construction of a suitable building for housing a new naval school, this time in the village of Keramies, just outside Argosto li. However, despite their continuous memos and appeals to the then Greek governments, the demands of Kefalines for the re-establishment of the Merchant Navy School were in vain and “without a positive result”. It will take a few years to demonstrate the great needs of Greek shipping to well-trained bridge officers to move again from a more favorable starting point to the establishment of a naval school in Kefalonia, namely a masters’ school.

It is noteworthy that at the end of 1955 the Naval Chronicles estimated that “we will have an increase in the strength of Greek retired shipping by 50 large ships per year over the next five years with a crew of 1,700 men.” Indeed, in the early 1960s, Greek shipping would celebrate the registration of its millimeter vessel in the national register, while the Greek-owned fleet emerged as one of the largest in the world, resulting in the urgent need for many, new and trained staff, deck and engine officers. It is interesting that Greek ships in the early 1960s, according to Xenophon Antoniades’ calculations, amounted to 1,800 and needed thousands of deck and machine officers. Specifically, he wrote in January 1962: “One thousand are the Greek flag ships and seven hundred of the Greek shipownership. Total tonnage of thirteen million tonnes. It classifies Greece as the third in the world maritime power. But these 1,800 ships require both hands and hand to move and govern. If we limit ourselves only to officers, and if we calculate the normal rate of permanent and absent work, we can easily conclude that these 1,800 ships need 2,000 masters, 6,000 deck officers, equals equivalent heads and subordinate engineers, and roughly 2,000 radio stations to meet the basic needs of the provisions resulting from the lawful composition ‘. What was the real power of the Greek shipping manpower during the same period? 1,500 masters, 4,500 deck officers, 1,300 first engineers, 5,000 engine officers and 900 all-way radio. As Antoniades wrote, “the gap is great. […] We need many new officers for the merchant navy. “

In this context of the great need for new EO officers, the initiative of Kefalina lawyer Dionysios H. Potamianou should also be sent (September 1961) to Demetris Kottakis, editor of the Maritime Chronicles, asking him to reinforce the demand for transformation of the Vallianos Lixouri School of Engineering in a public engineering school. Nautical Chronicles, given their belief in the need to enhance maritime training, are “grateful” to Potamianos’ request and promote it through their pages, while asking Kefalines shipowners to contribute financially to fill the shortcomings of the already operating school, so that the Maritime Education Fund can then bear the costs of its operation. So,

However, since the spring of 1961, the competent departments of the Ministry of Mercantile Marine have been geared towards establishing (and) in Kefalonia, and in particular Argostoli, a public school of masters, “provided the appropriate premises … are found and conceded.” Priority for the YEN, then, was the foundation of schools in Syros and Chios, while the design foresaw for the next years the establishment of a masters faculty in Kefalonia. The objective of the Ministry of the Interior was by the 1960’s to have “secure the operation of […] five or even of the naval schools of Hydra, Aspropyrgos, Kimi, Syros, Chios and Kefallinia for the training of naval officers “While there were thoughts about the organization of a night engineering school at Vallianeio School. However, the planning that was to proceed was the one that was concerned with the establishment of a NAF masters faculty in Kefalonia, because the conversion of the Vallianeo School into a public engineering school required the latter to be transformed into an exclusively naval school without any other direction. However, as Vallianos had a mixed form, covering the Navy engineers and engineers, electricians, carpenters, carpenters, weavers, builders, electrician foremen, building foremen, the YEN was unable to use public resources to transform it into a public engineering school. So,

In spite of the decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to proceed with the process of establishing a master school in Argostoli, the case will remain in the Ministry’s drawer for a few more years until the summer of 1966. Then “following the report of the Maritime Education Directorate of 30.5.1966 , Captain LS Mr. A. Antoniadou, it was decided to establish the School of Captains Ε.Ν. in Argostolios, on a 30,000-acre landowner granted by the Municipal Authority of the city and was published in that respect by the Royal Decree of 4.7.1966, “as Nicholas B. Metaxas wrote, one of the emblematic forms of Greek shipping of the 20th century. It should be noted that the pressure exerted by political figures in Kefalonia has also played an important role in bringing back to the forefront the demand to set up a school on the island, as has been the case in other cases of the establishment of naval schools in Greece (for example, see the case of the founding of the Kimi school). As noted the Navy Chronicles, one of the most ardent supporters of the school establishment in Kefalonia, brought in this direction considerable pressure, there Evangelos S.. Dendrinos, who had served as mayor of Argostoli (1955-1956, 1959) and Secretary of State for Transport at the Nova and Stephanopoulos Governments (16 July 1965 to 22 December 1966).

However, despite the publication of the Royal Decree in 1966 (NW 881/1966), this will remain unexpected and it will go back several years until the issue of the founding of the Argostoli Masters School returns to the spotlight in 1970. Then one of the major Kefalines shipowners Panagis Vergotis will notify the then Minister of Merchant Shipping, Mr. Ioannis Holeva, of his intention “to allocate an amount of 200-250 thousand pounds for the constitution of a full naval school of Aspropyrgos in Kefallinia”. It was an initiative that, according to the Nautical Chronicles, ranked him in the choreography of “the great benefactors of our naval education”. Now, what was needed was to conclude the discussions between the ministry and Panayi Vergoti through the proxy of Anastasios G. Potamianos,

The talks will have a happy ending and on July 6, 1971 with a new royal decree the expropriation of a plot of land in the area of ​​the Macedonian square, on the beach of Argostoli, was decided to erect the building complex of the Kefalonia Masters School, a school that would come meet the needs of Greek shipping seafarers to well-trained skippers, drawing their living material from the Ionian Islands and from the opposite continental shores. It is worth mentioning that, based on the then available statistical surveys of the early 1970s, 11,790 young Greeks were supplied with a naval brochure, of which about 21% (almost 2,450 young people) came from areas of western Greece, namely Corfu , Preveza, Patras and, of course, Kefalonia.

The foundation stone of the school will be placed on October 23, 1971 “on a land granted by the Demon and the Port Authority of Argostoli […] deputy Secretary of State for Maritime Affairs Mr. Papadogiannis, Maritime Education Director Mr. Moschonas and other competent officials”. For the needs of erection of the school, Panagis Vergotas had deposited a total amount of 400,000 dollars “with the prospect of completing, if necessary, the amount required for the erection and equipping of” Vergoteiou Public School Ε.Ν. Kefallinia “. It should be noted, however, that the creation of the school supported economically, besides Panayi Vergoti, and the nephews of Andreas Stefanou, Rokos Stefanou and Nikos Stefanou Vergotis, who will continue their work after their death in 1972.

As the Nautical Chronicles wrote, “the plans of the building complex were drawn up by architect Messrs. Voyatzin and Masurid “. The naval school of Argostoli, equipped with all means and supervisory instruments, will include: a two-storey building with classrooms, a library, a map, compass and radar room, a two-storey residence for accommodating 120 students (booths, restaurant, galley, spaces, administrative buildings, amphitheater, open playgrounds, a library for guarding and maintenance of the school’s school boats, a small temple, as well as a small residence for the governor of the school.

The buildings of the school will eventually be delivered in 1975, allowing the operation of the Public School of Masters of Argostoli, which for the first time admits students to its premises. However, its official inauguration will take place two years later, in the summer of 1977, by the then Minister of Merchant Shipping, Alexandros Papadognonas. Thus, the Ionian Islands will acquire a well-equipped naval school, the second maritime training institute, after the naval high school that was already operating in Ithaca.

The Masters School of Kefalonia, today’s Naval Naval Academy of the Ionian Islands – Vergotos, has come to offer young people one of the most important places in the Mediterranean, as well as young people from the other Ionian Islands and their continental coastline, training aiming at a successful career in great Greek shipping. At the same time, it is the historical continuity of the naval education schools that the island had taken care of since the early 19th century and is also a tangible example of the great interest of Greek shipowners in the naval education of the country, especially their native places.

Extract from the book “The Contribution of Naval Education – Seventy Years From the Naval Education Fund Recommendation”, Gratia Publishing, Athens 2017, p. 155

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