Shipowner Costas Fostiropoulos, founder of maritime outfits Fairsky Shipping & Trading and Almi Tankers, died earlier this week in Greece.

According to a press report, he was 78 years old.

Hailing from a clan with a long tradition in business and banking in Asia Minor that eventually moved to Greece, Fostiropoulos studied mechanical engineering and economics in Germany.

That put him in a position to inherit his family’s car assembly and importing business of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

After a few years, however, Fostiopoulos started branching out into shipping — first investing with partners and then, in 1988, setting up bulker company Fairsky Shipping & Trading.

Fairsky used to be the Fostiropoulos family’s flagship operation. In the decades that followed, however, the clan gradually ditched its dry bulk portfolio in order to concentrate on tankers.

Fostiropoulos and sons Michael, Alexander and John eventually did that through Almi Tankers, a pure-play oil carrier outfit established in 2008.

The family also considered getting into LNG, widely announcing in 2012 a plan to invest up to $16bn in such vessels. No such move, however, eventually materialised.

Almi Tankers currently lists four VLCCs and nine suezmaxes and continues to be led by Fostiropoulos’ children.

His descendants have also been active in transforming the family’s industrial real estate holdings from the family’s previous car assembly days into tourism-related assets.

Despite abandoning the auto industry for shipping, Fostiropoulos remained a life-long fan of classic cars.