Dalian: For Greek owners with a problem in the People’s Republic Nicholas Iliopoloulos has rapidly become Mr Fixit or ‘Our Man in China’ as he quips. The shipping veteran has been based in Dalian since 2009 and has worked with many Greek owners to solve issues such as port state control.
The Greek national’s advice on how to handle any dispute in China is useful and worth remembering. “If you run into a problem in China,” he says, “don’t make enemies as you will then face a united opposition. Use diplomacy and avoid confrontation.”
Iliopoloulos started out in China working as a teacher at Dalian Maritime University, China’s number one shipping university. After that he was seconded with Cosco where he taught officers in the tanker division.
Iliopoloulos finds Chinese seafarers to be very honest, more genuine than, say, their Filipino or Indian counterparts, but they are very difficult to open up and go to great lengths to avoid any confrontation.
Iliopoloulos’s own distinguished maritime career started out with the Greek navy for many years, before switching to the merchant navy. His life ashore has taken him to many fascinating places around the globe including a decade advising the king of Jordan on, as he recalls, “anything to do with the sea”.
Keen users of LinkedIn will likely have come across Iliopoloulos and his forthright and well thought out opinions on shipping. His passion for the industry is very noticeable, hence why at the age of 72 he shows no sign of slowing down. “I love to work, I don’t care about the money, self-satisfaction is the most important thing,” he says. Although he has a house in Dorset in the UK, he rarely gets the time time to go there. “When I get old, I’ll go back there,” he says, with a smile on his face. [21/10/14]