Scafi takes over 50% in Vernicos Tugs of Greece
The Italian group aims at creating a new player in the towage market in Greece and in the Eastern Mediterranean
A leader to be tugboat companies operating in Greece is coming up from the new partnership signed by two historic European companies, the Vernicos Tugs & Salvage of Greece and Scafi Società di Navigazione S.p.A of Italy.
This joint venture came after the decision of the Italian Group to invest in the Greek company through the acquisition of 50% shares of Vernicos Tugs & Salvage, which resulted in a new company renamed Vernicos Scafi, operating mainly in Piraeus area, but also active in Salonica, as well as in other Greek ports (Patras, Lavrion, Mykonos). Vernicos Scafi is part of MedTugs, the largest Greek consortium of towage and salvage with a fleet of 40 vessels .
Both Vernicos and Scafi groups have a long family heritage in the towage business and this joint venture also coincides with a handover between generations. The management of the company is now in the hands of Dimitris Vernicos and Paolo Visco, respectively President and Vice-President of Vernicos Scafi.
“The decision of Scafi, among the Italian leaders in harbor towage, to invest in an equally large Greek company, is a vote of confidence in Greece at a time when the country needs real investment”, says a statement. “This move shows that Greek shipping remains a powerful piece of the country's national economy capable of attracting significant foreign investment. The decisive role in achieving this agreement has been a common ground of shared values, passion, and competence in towage. The company will continue keeping a family business approach, seeking to enhance the quality of its services sharing know how and best practices”.
Scafi Società di Navigazione S.p.A. was founded in 1975 by Salvatore Cafiero and today it is among leading Italian companies in harbor towage. The group is currently operating in four countries through its subsidiaries: in Italy (ports of La Spezia, Savona-Vado and Gioia Tauro), Croatia (Rijeka, Plomin, Pula and Zadar), Morocco (New Port of Safi), and now in Greece (Piraeus and Salonica).
Harbour towage is the core activity of the Scafi Group which also provides offshore and salvage services. The group offers specific and tailored services for ports and terminals of various kind, including containers, LNG and Oil & gas. Scafi Group owns over 30 modern tugs, of which about 20 are ASD. The group directly employs around 200 people.
The Vernicos Group of Companies is one of the oldest existing shipping companies in Greece, having been founded in Constantinople in the middle of the 19th century under the name Bosphorus by Emmanuel N. Vernikos (1835-1915) from Sifnos; its first activity was to transport people and barrels of oil from one side of the Bosporus to the other with rowing boats and sailing boats.
His son Nicolas E. Vernikos (1869-1947) gave the company its current name; in its new form, it operated with steam trains that offered towing services on ships crossing the Bosporus. After World War I, he brought his wife and 8 children to a boat in Sifnos and founded a new company in Piraeus.
Despite the fact that the Vernicos fleet had sunk during the Second World War, the company grew again with the help of the four sons of Nicholas, Emmanuel (1901-1947), Dimitris (1907-1996), Constantinos 1920-1984) and Alexandros (1916-1991) and became the leader in towing and rescue during the post-war years - a place he still maintains in the 21st century.