Seafaring Greek Island Sees First Female Harbormaster

A commander in the Hellenic Coast Guard, Irini Argyri, has become the first woman harbormaster in Greece, taking post at the Chios island Port Authority.

Argyri spoke to the Athens – Macedonian News Agency, saying how she juggles the demands of being mother to a 14-year-old daughter with delivering a good performance in a demanding job on a border island.

“I am a Coast Guard officer guided by morality, dignity, openness, respect for the citizen and human rights,” she says. “This is what characterizes me as a human being, a worker, a citizen in uniform,” she adds.

The new harbormaster has served on Chios for 13 years. In the last two years she was a lieutenant before she was promoted to Central Harbor Master. Chios is an island synonymous with seafaring as many successful ship owners have hailed from there.

In a position that has been held only by men for decades, Argyri said her fellow officers have always treated her with the respect deserved by a colleague and, now, a superior.

The Chios harbormaster said she is a disciplined person and dedicated to her work, something that doesn’t pass unnoticed.

Speaking about the continuous migrant inflow from Turkey in the past few years, she says that April 2015 was a landmark in her life and career, as 1,000 people were arriving every day. She said that she and her colleagues were working all day helping people land and then registering them.

“We could not believe that this was our life and we wondered when it would end. We got used to it in the end. We have tried, and continue to try, all of us, men and women, to succeed in our efforts. We did not want to see people sacrificed, see dead bodies washed out by the sea,” she said.