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postheadericon History of MIE Group Logo

History of The MIE Group Logo

History of The MIE Group Logo

History of MIE Gruop logo

History of The MIE Group Logo

On the 28th of July 1910, Captain Michael Pnevmaticos, took delivery of the Welsh Steamer "Straits of Menai" at Cardiff.

Captain Michael Pnevmaticos had been a student at Robert College in Constantinople and his best friend there had been Leonidas Arvanitidi, one of the three sons of the Banker and Industrialist Jean Arvanitidi of Galata, Constantinople. Before the first world war, fuel was transported on ships in drums, the cargo being known as case-oil. Jean Arvanitidi owned and operated a number of oil wells on the Caspian Sea, and the refined product was transported on the Imperial Russian Railways to the Black Sea, where the case-oil was loaded on to small steamers and transported wherever there was demand for it; in Arvanitidi's case this was mostly to Syria and Lebanon. Michael Pnevmaticos had been to sea on the s.s. "Leonidas" and s.s. "Chrysopolis", both owned by his own father John in partnership with his brother-in-law Basil Rethymnis. However two family ships were not enough to occupy four family captains, and Michael Pnevmaticos chose to withdraw from family squabbles and instead become a partner in his own right of his great friends the Arvanitidi family, and start sending their case-oil in owned, rather than chartered steamers. Captain Michael Pnevmaticos held a 15 to 20% stake in the Arvanitidi business in its entirety. By 1910 the Arvanitidi and Pnevmaticos fleet had grown to about five steamers and began to trade as the Byzantine Steamship Co. (Vyzandini Atmoploia), based in Constantinople. There remained only to find a suitable funnel emblem for it.

Let us therefore return to the 28th. July 1910. Captain Michael Pnevmaticos had just taken delivery of the "Straits of Menai" from Messrs. Williams and Mordey at Cardiff, and the sellers' emblem on the ship's funnel was a blue W above and an M below it, on a buff background. To cut the letters off would mean that there would be a big hole left in the funnel. Captain Pnevmaticos decided to paint the space betwen W and M black, add a further brush stroke here and there, and thus the W and M became a proud double-headed eagle, the symbol of Byzantium on a buff background.

This remained the funnel colour until 1922, at which point Pnevmaticos and his family left Constantinople on their own s.s. "Vasilevousa" to return to Syra in Greece, where his parents and his Rethymnis cousins were already based since the previous century. It will be evident that the Arvanitidi family's interests in Turkey and Imperial Russia had been wiped off the map through the Kemalist and Communist Revolutions. At least the ships remained, and Arvanitidi sought to merge as minority shareholders their interests into the separate family owning structure of Pnevmaticos and Rethymnis. Michael Pnevmaticos also faced and agreed to a similar request from his brother-in-law Stathes Yannaghas. Thus was born in 1922 a new owning entity, Pnevmaticos Rethymnis &Yannaghas (PRY) which was eventually formalised into the Kassos Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. in 1927. In 1922 the London agency company of Rethymnis and Kulukundis Ltd. was also born handling affairs of the company and the various family interests of Rethymnis, Mavroleon, Kulukundis and Pnevmaticos.

In 1922, PRY decided to replace the double-headed eagle on their funnels, which recalled Byzantium and which now had no hope of being revived in Greek hands, into a colour recalling Greece and this they did by painting over the previous symbol with a blue circle. In this way the new funnel colours became a buff funnel with a blue circle on it.

And what about a house-flag? A buff flag with a blue circle on it was not permissible, since it was already an international signalling flag. PRY thus - for their flag only - changed the buff background as per their funnel, over to white. Thus it is that we have the blue circle on the white background as the PRY, then Kassos Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., then MIE Services Ltd. house-flag.