Panagiotis Panagopoulos, a leader in Greek coastal shipping, has died, his family announced on Tuesday. He was 83 years old.
Born in Athens in 1935, Panagopoulos studied at Switzerland’s Ecole Superieur de Commerce and then went on to work in Genoa and London at the Home Lines cruise company, owned by shipping magnate and family friend Eugenios Eugenides.
After returning to Greece and spending six years at Sun Line in Piraeus, Panagopoulos founded the first of two successful companies, Royal Cruise Line, in 1971.
He sold the company in 1989 to Magna Marine Inc and in 1994 founded Superfast Ferries, launching two services between on the Greece-Italy route.
Five years later, Panagopoulos acquired a stake in Strintzis Lines Shipping, the ferry company that went on to be renamed and continues to operate today as Blue Star Ferries.
The prominent shipowner was kidnapped at gunpoint and held for a week in 2009, an incident that took a toll on his already fragile health.
The funeral for Panagopoulos will take on place in Athens on Friday, his family said.