ΣΥΡΙΖΑ Συνασπισμός Ριζοσπαστικής Αριστεράς


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16/01/2009

ΠΑΡΑ ΤΗΝ ΚΑΤΗΓΟΡΗΜΑΤΙΚΗ ΔΙΑΨΕΥΣΗ ΚΑΡΑΜΑΝΛΗ Ο ΑΣΤΑΚΟΣ ΧΡΗΣΙΜΟΠΟΙΗΘΗΚΕ ΤΟΥΛΑΧΙΣΤΟΝ ΤΟΝ ΣΕΠΤΕΜΒΡΗ ΤΟΥ 2007

ΑΛ. ΑΛΑΒΑΝΟΣ «ΣΟΒΑΡΟ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΚΟ ΖΗΤΗΜΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΑ ΨΕΥΔΗ ΤΟΥ ΠΡΩΘΥΠΟΥΡΓΟΥ ΣΤΗ ΒΟΥΛΗ»



Ο Πρόεδρος της  ΚΟ του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ Αλ.Αλαβάνος δήλωσε:

«Κατά την πρωτολογία  και τη δευτερολογία του ο Πρωθυπουργός διέψευσε  κατηγορηματικά  ότι έγινε ποτέ  χρήση του λιμανιού του Αστακού για μεταφορά  αμερικάνικου οπλισμού  στο Ισραήλ  και με κατηγόρησε για λαϊκισμό, διαστρέβλωση, κομματικά οφέλη.

Με  τα στοιχεία  που δίνουμε, που προέρχονται  από πηγές  του αμερικάνικου στρατού, αποδεικνύεται, όπως είχα σημειώσει και στην πρωινή παρέμβαση μου, που  διέψευσε ο Πρωθυπουργός ότι τον Σεπτέμβρη  του 2007 έγινε σημαντική μεταφορά αμερικάνικων όπλων στο Ισραήλ μέσω του λιμανιού του Αστακού.

Είτε ο Πρωθυπουργός ψεύδεται εκ προθέσεως, είτε το Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών συστηματικά   τον παραπληροφορεί, είτε το κράτος είναι διαλυμένο   υφίσταται σοβαρό πολιτικό ζήτημα από τα ψεύδη του Πρωθυπουργού στη Βουλή.»

Στην ιστοσελίδα (http://www.ndta-benelux.org/TTOCT07.pdf) της «598 της US Army Transportation Terminal  Group» που ανήκει  στην «839 Transportation Bataillon” του αμερικάνικου στρατού,  ο Speros Pekatoς, διευθυντής του,  περιγράφει  με κάθε λεπτομέρεια πως επελέγη αρχές του 2007  το λιμάνι  του Αστακού  για μεταφορές πυρομαχικών  στο Ισραήλ αλλά και τις μεταφορές που πραγματοποιήθηκαν  τον Σεπτέμβρη του 2007με την βοήθεια  και την προστασία της ελληνικής ακτοφυλακής.

Σημειώνεται  ότι  με τον εν λόγω αξιωματούχο είχε ειδική συνάντηση  στις 2 Φεβρουαρίου 2007 ο τότε αμερικανός Πρεσβευτής Τσαρς Ρις για την οργάνωση  του έργου των μεταφορτώσεων αμερικανικού οπλισμού(www.ndta-benelux.org/TTFE07.pdf)

Στο θέμα  του ελληνικού σταθμού μεταφόρτωσης  είχε αναφερθεί  και στο χθεσινό φύλλο  της εφημερίδας ΠΟΝΤΙΚΙ.

Το πλήρες κείμενο έχει ως εξής:

"Port Operations at Astakos
Greece

598th Trans Tribune - October 2007 - Page 5

“This port would be great for ammo transshipments,” I told George Kokonos, SDDC Greece Detachment Terminal Manager, who was standing next to me overlooking the port of Astakos, Greece. We had come to survey this private port on the west coast of Greece in early 2007. The port was funded and owned by a private company and was just recently completed. As a result, the port is still not very well utilized. During our visit, here were no vessels in port, just three large gantry cranes overlooking lots of open pier space and vessel berths with a deep draft of 46 feet. The port is also located far from any populated areas.

George agreed with me. In the past few years we had done some ammo transshipments for cargo to/from CONUS going to/from Turkey, Bulgaria and Israel. The last few operations had been done skin to skin, in stream, in Souda Bay Crete. Numerousobstacles make these types of operations difficult. Bad weather can delay operations due to the vessels heaving to and fro, one vessel may be delayed which requires the other one to wait, and the equipment available (onboard or floating cranes) makes it very slow going. Continuing to view the port of Astakos, George and I talked about the efficiencies we would gain moving these operations here from Souda Bay. We wondered when the next one might take place and would we be able to convince everyone to make the change. We didnʼt have long to wait. In June 2007, we heard the first rumblings of a large ammo mission destined for Ashdod Israel and would need to be transshipped en route in September 2007. In the past, we had worked with loads of 10 and 15 containers at a time. This mission called for the movement of 690 containers. Due to NEW restrictions in Ashdod Israel, the shipment would be split onto six different vessel loads over a four week period, approximately two vessels a week. George Kokonos and I started to call various agencies  and offices to discuss the idea of moving to Astakos, Greece.

Deane Swickard, the SDDC Liaison Officer to EUCOM was onboard right away. The Navy took a little longer. The Explosives Safety Office in Souda Bay Crete was somewhat skeptical in the beginning. They felt there would be numerous problems with doing such a large ammo operation and were not keen on locating it in a port instead of in stream. However, once they visited the port, along with us and MSC, everyone was agreed that this would be the best place to execute the mission.

By August, details of the mission were firming up and we were in the thick of planning for the mission. George Kokonos completed two requests for OTOs, providing port services in Astakos and Ashdod. Since we would be working in both ports at the same time, our own home office would need to remain open for a long time, and having only a total of nine personnel, we went to our parent battalion, the 839th Transportation Battalion for additional personnel. George Kokonos was going to supervise the mission in Astakos and I would supervise the Ashdod mission.

We went to the DAO (Defense Attaché Office) at the U.S. Embassy in Athens Greece to get the appropriate waivers for the mission and to formally request host nation support for force protection. The Greek Coast Guard has always provided first class force protection for us during previous missions and this was going to be no different.

One week out, we began to have a few problems. First we received a new schedule from MSC that was going to be much more ambitious, receiving vessels almost on a daily basis at times. The port authority explained that due to a lack of sufficient stevedores in the region, this schedule would not be supportable. Eventually, working with MSC and EUCOM and the port authority, we received a schedule that worked. We then discovered that another ammunition export mission to Lebanon, (that we had been expecting to occur), was going to happen during our first week of operations in Astakos and Ashdod, at the Greek East Coast port of Stylis. Theofanis Skepetaris would go with a representative from the battalion S-3 to oversee the stuffing, movement and loading of ammo containers. We would now have to actually close operations in the home terminal for two days, leaving only our System Administrator to monitor the phones. Fortunately this did not impact any cargo moving through the port of Piraeus. Then we discovered, one week out, there was going to be a small export mission out of Ashdod before we began any of the import vessels. We planned only twopersons in Ashdod, Spyros Vogiatzis, Chief of Operations, and myself to check cargo and supervise the discharge of the cargo.

No documentation personnel would be deployed to Israel, as they would all be needed in Astakos. The plan was for us to do manual tallies of the cargo and then have our  ocumentation folks in Astakos update WPS and FMS. Now we were going to need to create manifests and other vessel papers prior to the vessel leaving. Mike Pittas, one of our documentation specialists, solved the problem by creating the vessel papers ahead of time, translating it to a word document that we could make last minute changes to and print in Israel. Mike would update WPS by phone upon completion. Finally, one day before we were to begin operations in Astakos, George Kokonos discovered, from the port authority that required waivers had not been granted by the Greek Government. George did a magnificent job of coordinating between the DAO, the various Greek Ministries, EUCOM, and the port authority to quickly discover where the problem was and solve it.

It was now 1 September and we were finally starting operations, the first vessel was to be the Chapman, loaded in Sunny Point, NC. We were going to discharge 474 containers in Astakos, and send the remainder of the cargo for discharge in Ashdod. This discharge was not going to be that simple. There was a requirement to have the first 60 containers to discharged in Ashdod.

These containers had to be destined for nearby ammo depots.

This allowed trucks to make more than one run. Also the load needed to be redistributed for vessel stability and to spread the cargo far enough to allow two gangs and cranes to discharge her in Ashdod. This meant that more than the 474 containers that were going to stay in Astakos for follow on vessels would need to be discharged and then be reloaded. The crew in Astakos met this challenge and ensured the Chapman was complete and on its way to Israel, meeting published sailing times. From this point on, the remaiing five vessel loads went smoothly.

While we were working in Astakos, John Dimakos was busy at the home terminal, inputting WPS, receiving and shipping POVs, and with guidance from John Kyzirakos, who was working as an MCS in Astakos, custom clearing cargo. The System Administrator, Carl Smeltz assisted as much as possible, accomplishing many administrative tasks that were required. Harris Vaziourakis, Chief of Documentation, monitored all this from Astakos, ensuring all WPS inputs for all three ports were correct and timely.

In Israel, things were also going well. Vessel operations occurred at night, routinely beginning at 2230 hours. The Jewish New Year brought a break to the operation for five days, restarting again on the 16th of September and finishing on the 21st, concluding this multi-port operation. This operation enhanced the relationship the SDDC Greece Terminal has with its customers in Israel and the port authorities in Astakos and Ashdod.

The last of deployed personnel returned on 24 September. No accidents, no injuries, and over 1250 movements at three ports in two countries. A savings of over 600,000 dollars for the US Government was achieved by storing the containers awaiting

transshipment on a pier instead of on a vessel. It was just another month for the SDDC Greece Detachment".



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