The story behind the name….TSAVLIRIS


TSAVLIRIS SALVAGE GROUP is one of the most active emergency response contractors for maritime casualties worldwide, having handled over 3.000 casualties. The Group’s international activities embrace every service relating to marine salvage & towage, extending to complex wreck removals and protection of the marine environment from pollution. Tsavliris is committed to maintaining a modern global network providing rapid assistance to shipping.

The roots and the background behind the establishment of the Group goes back to the mid 1920’s when the founder, Alexander G. Tsavliris, arrived in Piraeus from Asia Minor and started to build his own business. Young Alexander bought (together with his brothers and uncle) a small, wooden, coal-burning tug of about 10hp. Later he moved to London, where he studied and worked, establishing his first company in 1939. At the end of Second World War he purchased his first ship, a 1,200-dwt tons collier, whilst his first ocean-going ship soon followed as he set about creating a fleet of dry-cargo ships. Alexander returned to Piraeus in 1956 to become one of the expanding shipping community’s leading owners. During the following years, Tsavliris purchased a number of war surplus Liberty ships and other secondhand freighters. In the following years, Alexander G. Tsavliris decisively strengthened his dry cargo fleet so that by 1965 he had a substantial fleet of 17 ships.

However, what was destined to mark his shipping course and also proved to be the main future activity of the Group in the maritime arena, was his decision to become engaged in the sector of tugs and salvage operations. In 1964 he established Tsavliris (Salvage & Towage) Ltd. and he acquired 17 tugs and salvage vessels of a total 25,000 hp, within the next 18 months. The new enterprise soon became the largest operator of its kind within the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. It offered reliable services both in the port of Piraeus as well as in other locations of the country, covering Greece’s entire waters.

By the end of 1969 following the addition of further acquisitions, the Alexander G. Tsavliris’ fleet of tugs and salvage ships totaled 29 units and was internationally appraised as one of the major players in this demanding shipping sector, maintaining salvage stations in crucial parts of the world.

As well as being a significant employer, with over 1,000 (mostly Greek) seamen, Tsavliris had long contributed to supporting the Greek economy through importing significant sums of foreign currency, and had patronised the development of the country’s ship repair sector by repairing and maintaining his fleet locally. At the start of the 1970s he went further by ordering two SD 14-type dry cargo ships from Hellenic Shipyards (Niarchos) Skaramanga. In 1971, the 15,327 dwt vessels were delivered and they would remain in the group’s fleet for more than 15 years.

Having created a major international shipping enterprise, Tsavliris sadly passed away in 1973 at the height of his career, at the relatively young age of 59, leaving a great legacy behind.  During his 35-year journey in the shipping industry, he had managed to establish a solid group, which among its activities incorporated the largest towage and salvage enterprise ever in the history of Greek shipping.

In mid-1973 his three sons Nicolas, George and Andreas, established the company Maritime Commercial Enterprises Ltd., quickly building-up a fleet of 12 tugs. In 1975, they sought to strengthen the family’s ocean-going fleet, and acquired a 7-year-old, 27,000-dwt bulk carrier. Later they placed an order for two 26,272-dwt bulk carriers in Brazil which were delivered in 1978 and 1979.

Also by 1976, the tug fleet was further strengthened through the addition of another three motor tugs acquired from French interests. Intense fluctuations within the international maritime industry throughout the 1970s set new standards and led many shipping entrepreneurs to diversify their investment strategies. Taking advantage of a sharp increase in ship values at the time, the Tsavliris brothers in 1981 sold at a substantial profit one of their bulk carrier and decided to invest the proceeds in the acquisition of another five tugs which assisted in undertaking more specialised and complex salvage projects. Additional investments in tug acquisitions during the 1980s by the Group completed with the acquisition, in 1983, of a large salvage tug from Italian interests, which offered substantial services until 2001, when it was sold for demolition. In parallel, the Group continued investing in the ocean-going sector and in 1984 placed an order with the Japanese Mitsubishi, for the construction of a 42,300-dwt bulk carrier. The same year, they purchased an 11-year-old bulk carrier of 61,000-dwt.

Even during the worst period of the market crisis, the Greek-flag policy of the Group had been maintained. The recession in the shipping market started in the last months of 1981 and continued its devastating path until 1986. In this adverse environment, the Tsavliris brothers decided to withdraw from the operation of cargo ships. During 1987 and 1988, all ships in the fleet were transferred to other ownerships, though the brothers maintained interests in some as part owners.

The early part of the 1990s marked the further expansion and strengthening of the Tsavliris Group.  The Tsavliris brothers decided to focus solely on salvage, operating from offices on the Piraeus waterfront of Akti Poseidonos. By fully utilising the wealth of experience gained over 30 years, and assisted by able business partners, especially first class well trained crews, they moved ahead dynamically. By showing loyalty to the standards established by their late father, the Tsavliris brothers, have strengthened the evolution, as well as the public image, of the family enterprise. Their activities and accomplishments have been demonstrated with professionalism and reliability through their active participation in Greek and international organisations and fora, such as the International Salvage Union, the European Tugοwners Association, the Union of Greek Shipowners, the Union of Greek Tug and Salvage Shipowners, the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the Cyprus Union of Shipowners, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA), the Cyprus Marine Environment Protection Association (CYMEPA) etc.

With an impressive record and a huge experience gained in dealing with over 3.000 incidents of all categories, the Tsavliris Group looks ahead with an eye to writing the new chapter of its history. Its path is closely linked to a commitment for continuous upgrading and the maintaining of a strong and competitive presence in the service of the most important and indispensable sector of world economy; sea transportation.

In this new chapter, which has been designed and is being implemented by the three sons of Alexander G. Tsavliris, based on the standards set by their father, the third generation of the family – members of which are already active within the Group – are expected to play a crucial part, inspired by the accomplishments of their predecessors. Outstanding achievements which fully justify the well-known motto adopted by the Group over the last 50 years of successful operation: “Salvage Masters of the World”.

Tsavliris Group Today

As a world-class professional marine salvor, TSAVLIRIS SALVAGE GROUP is dedicated to saving life and property at sea and to protecting the marine environment from maritime accident-related pollution.

The TSAVLIRIS name has been prominent in shipping for more than half a century, establishing the Group as one of the world’s leading marine salvors.

With a bedrock of experience, the Group is active in all aspects of marine salvage. As a “one-stop-shop” salvor, TSAVLIRIS is geared to provide any and all services relating to marine salvage and towage – ranging from emergency response on the high seas to industrial project management for removing wrecks, as well as refloating vessels, recovering cargo and handling deep sea operations.

Whatever the challenge, TSAVLIRIS’ approach combines a traditional entrepreneurial salvor’s gallantry and practical ingenuity with contemporary engineering and project planning skills. Founded on safe procedures, scrupulous attention to detail and efficiency together with flexible and cost-effective solutions, TSAVLIRIS is able to provide an extensive scope of services including:

  • Contingency Planning & Emergency Response
  • Marine Salvage & Ocean Rescue
  • Deep-Sea Towage
  • Wreck Removal & Demolition
  • Fire-fighting
  • Pollution Abatement
  • Ship & Cargo Recovery
  • Anchor Handling & Offshore Support
  • Sub-sea Works
  • Casualty Engineering
  • Management & Consultancy
  • OPA90 Services in USA
  • SPRO Services in China

Container Vessel “YUSUF CEPNIOGLU”

Tsavliris Salvage was engaged in the salvage operation of container vessel “YUSUF CEPNIOGLU” (5,000 GT – 7000DWT) laden with containers, grounded on the north western coast of Mykonos Island (2014).

Bulk Carrier “GOODFAITH”

Tsavliris Salvage provided salvage assistance to the Bulk Carrier “GOODFAITH” (GT 16,446 – DWT 27,308) grounded on the north west coast of Andros island, Greece in adverse weather conditions. During the incident the vessel was on passage in ballast, from Elefsis, Greece to Odessa, Ukraine (February – March 2015).

Bulk Carrier “KATHERINE”

Tsavliris Salvage provided salvage assistance to the Bulk Carrier “KATHERINE” (17,255 GT – 28,711 DWT), laden with 26,400 MT of hot briquetted iron, following collision with bulk carrier “BARU SATU” (9,978 GT, 16,190 DWT), in the Kafirea Strait, Aegean Sea (July – August 2013).

Bulk Carrier “Los Llanitos”

Tsavliris Salvage provided salvage assistance to the Bulk Carrier “Los Llanitos” (40,420 GT – 71,731 DWT) grounded on rocky bottom north of Manzanillo, at Barra de Navidad, West Coast Mexico, during the passing hurricane “Patricia” – which was the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the western hemisphere (October – November 2015).

Container Ship “CSL VIRGINIA”

Tsavliris provided salvage and antipollution services to the Container Ship “CSL VIRGINIA” (GRT 54,592 – DWT 66,644). The vessel, whilst anchored north of Cap Corse, northern Corsica peninsula, was allided by the Tunisian Ferry “ULYSSE” (GRT 17,907) which was en route from Genoa, Italy to Tunis, Tunisia. The “CSL VIRGINIA” suffered several meters hull breach by way of her starboard side. (October 2018).