People planning to travel to or from Symi in summer 2023 should take note of several ferry service changes.
First of all, Sebeco has been cloned. The sister ship Sebeco 2 which for the last couple of years has been sailing between Kamiros Skala and Chalki will be operating on the Rhodes- Symi route alongside the original Sebeco, now known as Sebeco 1. As a result there will be more sailings than last year, at least 3 a day during the tourist season From May.
Secondly, Dodekanisos Seaways has won a temporary contract to operate a route from Kalymnos to Leros, Lipsi, Patmos, Agathonisi and Samos (Pythagorio). This is the route that Nissos Kalymnos sailed for many years, until she ran onto rocks at the year end. It is a subsidised route, and the Nissos Kalymnos has been excluded from the contract renewal, which is due to be announced later this month. Dodekanisos Seaways are using the Panagia Skiadeni on this route, which means she now only appears at Symi on Saturdays and Sundays, they seem to expect this will continue all summer – so they must have been given the tip they they will get the contract. As part compensation there are more calls by the Dodekanisos Express.
Thirdly, during the winter, the quayside at the new port area in Symi has been modified to allow the Stavros and the Panagia Skiadeni to load and unload vehicles there, just as Blue Star have been able to do all along with their bigger ships. This modification came into use at the beginning of April, and now the Stavros uses the new port rather than the Clock Tower. Panagia Skiadeni will also load and unload vehicles there, but has been also calling at the Clock Tower to deliver and collect passengers on journeys that terminate at Symi.
I’ve started building the combined ferry timetables, May’s is linked below and the other months will appear shortly.
May 2023 Ferry Timetable
June 2023 Ferry Timetable
Already the timetables are out of date. SAOS Ferries ship Stavros will be out of service in weeks commencing 22 May and 29 May, apparently for annual safety inspection and dry docking. There is a legal dispute over the award of a contract to Dodekanisos Seaways’ Panagia Skiadeni, which has now been resolved, so the sailings shown in the summary timetables will operate as advertised, having been suspended in the early part of May. It also seems likely that Blue Star will change their ships round yet again, which also affects the timetables as they have different speeds. More very shortly.