Symi holiday ferries sailing pledge.
Visitors hoping to catch a Symi holiday ferry this summer have been given reassurances that the car ferry service from Rhodes will continue. A row broke out when rival ferry operators wrote to the the mayor of Symi warning of problems facing ANES, the company that operates the 'Proteus' ferry throughout the year.
They claimed ANES was unable to guarantee regular ferry crossing from Rhodes and offered to launch their own service with the 'Lady Skiandeni' ferry.
A letter to the Symi mayor said: "There is no guarantee that it ('Proteus') will continue after its services on the known economic problems of the company . . . we urge you to request the deployment of 'Lady Skiadeni' that is to our knowledge readily available and therefore wil definitively resolve, in the best possible manner, the transportation problem."
But the chairman of ANES Ferries, Anthony Hadjimarcos, has dismissed the claims as "shameful and slanderous" and insists that the 'Proteus' will operate car ferry services between Symi and Rhodes as normal.
The Proteus is currently in dock where it is undergoing its annual inspection and is unlikely to sail for at least a month. Mr Hadjimarcos said regular ferry services would be back on schedule before the start of the tourist holiday season.
He said the 'Proteus' had kept to ferry schedules between Rhodes and Symi over the winter season despite receiving no subsidy and he accused rivals of trying to cash in on Symi holiday traffic.
There are two ferry boats currenty connecting Rhodes and Symi, the 'Proteus' and 'Symi II' car-ferries. The 'Symi II' leaves from Mandraki Harbour in Rhodes New Town, the 'Proteus' sails from the Commercial Harbour outside the walls of the Old Town.
The 'Proteus', built in 1973, can carry 860 passengers and 135 cars. The ANES ferry company has a kiosk in Mandraki harbour Rhodes and ferry tickets to Symi are also sold by agents in the commercial harbour.
The Dodecanese Express hydrofoil also runs regular services between the Dodecanese islands and the 'Tilos Star' ran a Sundays only service between the Greek island of Rhodes and Symi last summer.