Meet the Greek Woman in Charge of an 82,000 Ton Vessel

Stella Frantzeskaki; a Greek woman from Crete, is a rare breed and one of the few female captains of a cargo ship, in the world.

Originally from the village of Nea Roumata near Chania; Frantzeskaki has been working for the same employer, “Andriaki Shipping”, since 1998.

“I decided to do this job in the 80’s, because of my love for travelling and the sea”, she says.

In those days, it wasn’t easy at all for a woman to find a job in a shipping company, she admits.

In addition, she had problems with her family. “I don’t come from a sailors’ family, so there were a lot of problems at the beginning, because my parents couldn’t accept the fact that their daughter wanted to work on ships”.

Frantzeskaki’s ship is “Kesaria”; 222 metres long, weighting 42,900 tons with a capacity of 81,932 tons.

Among the 23 crew members there are two women; a Greek engineer, and a Filipino stewardess.

According to Frantzeskaki, the biggest problem for ships today is piracy.

“Measures should be taken against piracy. Pirates used to attack our ships in the past too; mainly in Singapore, but they only stole specific objects and went away. They didn’t take the whole ship as often happens today in the Indian Ocean”, she says.

Frantzeskaki has joined a select list of women who became captains of large ships.

Apparently, the first female captains in modern naval history; who were also Greek, were Anna Saridou and Niki Skentzou. Another Greek woman; Athanassia Boubouraki, was captain on one of the largest ships of the Onassis fleet empire, the 100,000 ton “Olympic Serenity”.

In 1978, the Greek State founded the first public school for female captains in Piraeus.