It has been said that Greek seafarers do not write, while those who do write about shipping are not seafarers.

But there are notable exceptions. Most Greeks are familiar with the poems of Nikos Kavvadias, who spent four decades on cargo ships. Put into song in 1979, four years after his death, his works still get radio time and sell well.

Performed by some of the country's best-known singers, his poems have become a cultural touchstone for the rugged life that tens of thousands of Greeks led at sea throughout the 20th century.