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About the Commercial Transit Port at Tympaki, Crete Εκτύπωση Αποστολή με e-mail
Ecological Society of Heraklion , Παρασκευή, 20 Ιανουάριος 2006

In a recent interview, the Minister of Mercantile Marine, Mr. Kefalogiannis, declares that he is ready to support the agreement between Greece and China for the building of an enormous “transit” port with international requirements in southern Crete. In fact, Chinese investors have shown great interest, with their visits and announcements, for the area in Tympaki.

The design of the port is to confiscate and flatten 850 ha of land, so that about one million containers to be handled annually in the beginning, in their way to Eastern Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea, the Black Sea and Greece. There will be a relevant formation of the piers, for handling the daily arrival of hundreds of ships, some of which will be of such a huge size that never have been seen even in the big enough port of the biggest city of Crete and one of the biggest cities of Greece, i.e. Heraklion. This port will be under a special status of customs conditions. It is therefore possible that the area around it will be built with proportionate installations, storehouses and industries, as this is a common issue to similar ports.

What impresses is the way of promoting such a huge intervention on environment [1], economy [2] and society of Crete, which is in contrast to any former environmental friendly plan for the region. People learn about these new plans through rumours and governmental announcements. On November 23/2005, in an open meeting of citizens and institutions in Tympaki, questions and worries about this project were expressed and the clear result of the discussion was that such kind of “development” does not fit the profile of the area. It is easy to comprehend that this specific project has nothing to do with the former proposed port in the area of Messara, which has vaguely been reported as the “gate” of southern Crete.

Anybody can understand that such an unnatural project:

1. Will have very serious and irreversible side effects on the broader marine and terrestrial environment of South Crete, the biodiversity and even human health caused by frequent and hazardous marine accidents. In addition, the severe pollution of seawater and air will be a common practice, while the extensive building and relevant demand of land will worsen the heavy situation.

2. Will cancel any other kind of activity and the perspective of benign or conventional touristic development in the whole area of the bay and even further.

3. Will degrade the historical, archaeological and cultural character of Messara significantly.

4. Will reduce the quality and quantity of local agriculture products, which comprise the basis of region’s economy.

5. Will turn thousands of farmers and employees of touristic enterprises into unemployed or underpayed workers.

6. Will have a serious effect on Messara’s social structure, as there will be changes in employment, environmental degradation, decay of ethics, and forced relocation of locals

Whom this giant port that Minister Kefalogiannis is ready to launch will benefit? Of course, only the Chinese investors and ship owners, whose profits are going to increase significantly! The region of Messara, which is now picturesque, historic and rich, will be turned into an industrial zone. Is this the future that the Minister can promise to the inhabitants of Messara and their children?

For the Ecological Society of Heraklion, the answer of the local community to a huge transit port in southern Crete must definitely be “NO”. Those who still insist in such kind of “development” [3] must have in mind that there will be a strong resistance coming from the ecological movement and that we shall not allow any other environmental and social degradation in the area.

Ecological Society of Heraklion


[1] The wetland of the estuaries of Geropotamos’ river was included in the Special Protection Areas for avifauna (SPAs), under code number GR 4310012. The seacoast with sand dunes is being protected as the egg-laying place for the sea turtle Carretta carretta. The region also belongs to the Network “NATURA 2000” (SPA: GR 4310007 / pSCI: GR 4310004).

[2] Messara’s bay and the Municipality of Tymbaki possess a powerful primary and tertiary sector of economy.

[3] The Ecological Society of Heraklion and the Cretan Network of Environmental NGOs named “ECOCRETE” also consider the intention of Belgian investors to establish a big touristic and real estate investment in the area of Matala as a potential risk. This project is by no way beneficial for the local community. This “closed-type” development project, together with the engagement and change of land uses and – most important of all – the excessive need of water and soil resourses at the project’s site, make this kind of investment incompatible with the semi-arid and vulnerable ecosystems of Crete. The plan includes both an 18- and a 9-hole golf course, 360 apartments to sell or rent, a hotel of 1,500 beds, an area of 1,6 ha with several kinds of shops, a spa that can serve 200 people, a 500-seats conference room, buildings for sport activities and a thematic park. The whole area includes ca. 36 ha to be bought and ca. 250 ha to be rented (by the Municipality?) for the amount of 200,000.00 € per year.


Online petition against the plan, based
Επισκέπτης , 2006-08-22 13:45:18
Please sign the online petition that an Englishman started to save Crete. 
Maybe ecocrete should start a new official petition, where the votes from the other could be carried. 

ecocrete.gr .

Τελευτ. ενημέρωση ( Δευτέρα, 28 Αύγουστος 2006 )

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