Low-key Greek London shipping legend dies aged 93

A low-key member of a little-publicized Greek maritime dynasty has died in the Bahamas at the age of 93.

Peter George Goulandris died in Nassau on June 19. The Greek Maritime Cooperation Committee (GSCC) announced his death in a short statement four days later.

“Goulandris was a highly respected member of the maritime community and had been part of the PJ Goulandris & Sons Group and Capeside Steamship for over 70 years,” said the GSCC, which represents the maritime interests of London Greeks.

Goulandris was a typical product of his tribe.

Born in London in 1929 to Nora Mitchell and George P Goulandris, he was evacuated during the Blitz to the West Country of England.

When he came of age shortly after the end of the war, he jumped at the first opportunity to join the merchant navy, rising to the rank of second.

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His shipping career began in 1962 when he joined Capeside Steamship as manager and manager.

Within the PJ Goulandris Fils Group, he was involved in one of the largest shipping companies of his time.

Much quieter than their Greek peers Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos, the Goulandris clan amassed a huge fleet of Liberty ships and T2 tankers during the post-war years.

After the 1970s, Goulandris was particularly active in the group’s tanker charter and newbuild program at IHI Marine United in Japan.

The group’s fleet of tankers and bulk carriers were operated from Cavodoro Shipping in Piraeus and chartered from Capeside Steamship in London, as well as outfits Orion and Global in New York.

“In business, his insight was penetrating and his understanding intuitive,” said Matthew Newell, director of Capeside Steamship who worked with Goulandris for 22 years.

“I will never understand how he was able to calculate so quickly in his head the equivalent of a one-time charter of a Worldscale fare.”

Parliament in Nassau, Bahamas, where Peter George Goulandris died in June 2022, aged 93. Photo: Jpatokal/Creative Commons

An avid horse racer, Goulandris counted trainer Sir Mark Prescott Bt among his friends. Prescott described Goulandris as “tall, modest, impeccably dressed and unfailingly polite”.

Besides these personal qualities, Goulandris was also a successful racehorse owner, taking victories at Classic and Group 1 races with Formidable and a runner-up finish at the 1969 Epsom Derby with Shoemaker.

Her success has been supported by an innovative and thoughtful breeding program, which has produced such important broodmares as Triple First and Claxon.

Philanthropy in the Bahamas

Since the beginning of the century, Goulandris and his family have gradually moved away from sailing to turn to real estate, finance and trading.

However, he never lost touch with the maritime industry. He continued to serve as a director of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), as well as a consultant for the shipping companies inherited from Goulandris.

By this time he had also developed philanthropic activities in the Bahamas, becoming chairman and then honorary director of the Lyford Cay Foundations, which have disbursed more than $80 million for educational purposes on the islands since 1969.

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Lyford Cay Foundations is currently led by his son Basil P Goulandris, who has requested that instead of wreaths for his father, donations be made to the organization.

Goulandris is survived by his wife Kathryn Saunders – to whom he was married for 66 years – by Basil, his daughters Chryssi and Tyna and 10 grandchildren. A second son, George Peter, predeceased him.

“He was a former London-Greek sailing school and will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues around the world,” said Newell.

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