Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 05 - 2003

 

Greek-owned ships shifting to national flag

Greek shipowners appear to be heeding repeated calls by Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis to fly the Greek flag on their ships.
At the end of 2002, according to Lloyd's data, the number of ships over 100 gross tons (gt) flying the Greek flag came to 1,529, with a total displacement of 28,678,240 gt. These include 1,102 ships over 300 gt. This makes Greece's merchant fleet the fourth largest in the world, up from fifth place a year ago.
Still, most Greek-owned ships fly so-called flags of convenience. The number of Greek-owned ships at the end of 2002 was 3,480, with a total displacement of 98,195,100 gt and a carrying capacity of 164,613,935 deadweight tons (dwt). Greek-owned shipping accounts for 15.5 percent of displacement and 17.8 percent of the carrying capacity of the global merchant fleet.
Anomeritis is trying to entice shipowners with the promise of reforms in areas concerning notably crew composition, a longstanding thorny issue with shipowners.
Greece's merchant fleet is classified by the Paris MOU (Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, an international body which includes 19 maritime administrations) as belonging to the "white list," meaning a high-quality fleet following international standards of maritime safety.
The classification is derived from thousands of inspections made annually in ports of call. Besides Greece, the "white list" includes 24 other countries (Barbados, Poland, Bahamas, Marshall Islands, Hong Kong, Antigua, Japan, Austria, Bermuda, Luxembourg, Singapore, People's Republic of China, Isle of Man, Liberia, Israel, Norway, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the UK).
The "gray list" includes 27 countries (Kuwait, Portugal, Thailand, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cayman Islands, Qatar, Malaysia, Faroe Islands, Brazil, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Taiwan, Ethiopia, Estonia, Italy, Gibraltar, Saudi Arabia, Netherland Antilles, South Korea, Vanuatu, Philippines, Spain and the USA). The "black list" contains another 25 (Albania, Bolivia, Sao Tome e Principe, Honduras, Algeria, Lebanon, Georgia, Cambodia, Syria, Turkey, Belize, Libya, Tonga, Romania, Morocco, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Egypt, Ukraine, Malta, Panama, India, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria and Russia).
Ships belonging to the "black list" are submitted to long and detailed inspections by EU countries and the USA when they make ports of call. Often, companies owning ships in one of the black-listed countries have re-routed their ships to other ports rather than submit to these inspections.
Source: www.ekathimerini.com 31 Jan. 03


Greeks rushing to aid their flag
Greek shipowners are responding to government calls to give the Greek flag a boost by switching more ships to the register. Leading Greek tanker operator Minerva Marine is paving the way by moving 10 of its ships to the Greek flag in the last year.
Since mid-2002 the number of Minerva ships flying the Greek flag has risen from 11 to 18. The majority of the vessels have been shifted from the Maltese flag.
Minerva's move is probably the most notable switch by a Greek owner but the recently announced aim of Greek merchant marine minister George Anomeritis to attract 300 new vessels to the flag may well succeed as big names in the industry continue to support the national register.
During 2002, a total of 96 oceangoing vessels were registered under Greek flag, many of them newbuildings.
Observers say the move toward the national flag is a combination of patriotism on the part of shipowners and an expectation that the home register will offer competitive advantages. Some say it also shows a willingness by more owners to distances themselves from the poor reputation attached to some flags of convenience.
Christos and Anna Kanellakis-controlled Alpha Tankers and Freighters put six vessels under Greek colours, while John Angelicoussis added five more in the Anangel and Kristen-managed fleets. Angelicoussis, in any case, has his whole fleet under Greek flag other than where charter obligations require otherwise, and Alpha also has most of its fleet under Greek flag.
According to shipping ministry data, the Coumandaros-controlled company Atlantic Bulk Carriers added half a dozen ships to the Greek flag in 2002, although none of these were newbuildings. Boxship operator Costamare is also an all-Greek flag operator and registered a further five vessels last year, two 2002-built and three due for delivery this year. Levant Maritime, controlled by the powerful Leventis group, switched three vessels from the Marshall Islands flag to Greece. Marmaras Navigation has so far put just two vessels out of its large fleet under Greek flag, including the 2001-built, 50,000-dwt bulker Lalis.
Quite a few companies that have the majority of their vessels under foreign flag have chosen to put newbuildings into the home register, including Centrofin, which brought in the 160,000-dwt suezmaxes Georgios S (built 2001) and 158,000-dwt Yannis P (built 2002).
Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) put four suezmax newbuildings into the Greek register last year, while privately-controlled arm Tsakos Shipping & Trading brought its 247,000-dwt VLCC Sina (built 1992) under the Greek colours.
Anomeritis is currently mulling a new package of measure aimed at attracting even more tonnage. For owners of young tonnage, he is said to be planning incentives ranging from reduced taxation and more flexible crewing regulations to support for investment in newbuildings.
Source: Tradewinds, 31 Jan. 03, Gillian Whittaker Athens


Lloyds List: Greek owners still in dark over details of government package
Greece'S shipowners remain largely in the dark about the policy the government will adopt in a new package of measures, now promised for early next month, to address the competitiveness of the national fleet.
Owners were little the wiser after meetings last week called by the minister of merchant marine, George Anomeritis.
Union of Greek Shipowners' president John Lyras said: 'He has not given us any hard details.'
But he confirmed that the industry remained optimistic of meaningful improvements from Mr Anomeritis, who owners saw as 'realistic and bolder than many of his predecessors'.
According to the ministry, the ingredients of the new package will be assembled after an end-of-month trip to London for the minister to hear the views of the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee.
State support for the seafarers' pension fund and increased government involvement in funding cadets' practical training aboard Greek vessels are among possible measures.
High on the industry's wish-list, according to the shipowners' union, is a partial relaxation of Greek flag rules that set a high mandatory quota for employing Greek or other European nationals on board.
Owners have long campaigned for this to apply only to officer ranks. But the issue remains an emotive one for local seamen's unions.
Following years of pleading for a reduction in Greek flag costs the highest in Europe owners were encouraged by Mr Anomeritis' first package early last year which reduced tonnage taxes and seafarers' income tax.
So far, the only details of the coming legislative changes released by Mr Anomeritis are that the new package will not include further tax reductions and that they include an overhaul of the country's maritime education system.
Owners have said that they view the proposals for an improved education system another long-standing industry goal as 'positive'.
Source: Hoovers Online UK, 30 Jan. 03


General Maritime announces agreement to acquire 19 tankers
New York, New York, January 29, 2003 - General Maritime Corporation (NYSE: GMR) today announced that it has agreed to acquire 19 tankers consisting of 14 Suezmax and 5 Aframax vessels from Metrostar Management Corporation, a world-class quality operator of tankers based in Athens, Greece. The acquisition of the vessels is expected to commence on March 1, and to be concluded by April 30, 2003 during which time the vessels will be integrated into General Maritime's fleet operations. The acquisition of the tankers will be made for cash and is subject to the customary conditions of delivery. The Company intends to finance the acquisition through the use of cash on hand and the reserve borrowing power from its existing credit facilities as well as the incurrence of additional bank debt for which it has not yet entered into binding arrangements.
Peter C. Georgiopoulos, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President commented, "We are very excited about our acquisition of these 19 tankers. We believe that our patient and prudent approach to acquisitions has enabled us to acquire high quality modern second-hand vessels that will lower the average age of our fleet, lower many of our daily per vessel overhead costs and at the same time be accretive to earnings and provide long-term value to our company."
On a combined basis, the Company's new fleet will be composed of 47 tankers, 28 Aframax and 19 Suezmax tankers, making General Maritime the second largest mid-sized tanker operator in the world. The combined fleet will have a total of 5.62 million deadweight tons, only 23% of which will be single hull compared to a worldwide average of 40%. The acquisition of the 19 tankers will provide General Maritime with an additional 2.67 million deadweight tons, with an average age as of December 31, 2002 of 9.8 years per deadweight ton. The acquisition of the new vessels will also lower the company's average age as of December 31, 2002 per deadweight ton from 12.3 years to 11.1 years. Three of the acquired tankers have time charter contracts attached to them at an average rate of $23,700 per day.
Mr. Georgiopoulos continued, "I would like to take the opportunity to thank Mr. Theodore Angelopoulos and Metrostar Management for allowing General Maritime Corporation to carry on their legacy of quality tanker operations. This transaction is in line with the Company's management philosophy and builds on our past successes."
The Company believes the acquisition of the tankers and the economies of scale associated with operating a larger fleet will enable the Company to substantially reduce general and administrative costs per vessel day and achieve greater long-term profitability. The larger fleet, which will initially operate predominantly on the spot market, will also enhance the Company's ability to benefit from changes in the spot tanker market.
Source: www.GeneralMaritimeCorp.com


Credit Lyonnais returns; focus on corporate clients and investment
Credit Lyonnais (CL) is returning to Greece after an absence of about five years, with plans to focus this time on lending to merchant shipping and securitization where it has considerable experience, says Vice President Alain Papiasse, who is also the head of investment and corporate banking.
Eurocorp Securities, which had long acted as CL's broker, is acting as a vehicle for the return. The French bank is to buy the majority interest in the Greek firm, owned by France's Banque Worms, while the other shareholders will keep their shares.
The formal completion of the deal may take up to a year but is not in doubt, says Papiasse. For his part, Eurocorp's chairman, Ion Koufopantelis, confirms "we have agreed on our integration into Credit Lyonnais" and "have clear instructions to expand both into stockbroking and investment banking."
CL's strategy now is to return to and seek growth in countries where it had been forced to shrink operations or altogether abandon business in the last 10 years, after a failed expansion bid.
"The bank is now completely free of past burdens," says Papiasse. The sale of its assets in Europe, mainly in retail but also in corporate banking, took place at the insistence of the European Commission, in order for it to approve the French government's measures for its salvation, he explains. In Greece, it sold its seven branches to EFG Eurobank in 1997 and its assets in Piraeus Bank in 1998. It also withdrew from Portugal, Italy, Germany and Austria.
"We decided to return to selected countries, no longer buying banks but bringing our know-how in corporate and investment banking," says Papiasse, who explains that CL combines the attributes of both a commercial and an investment bank.
"The Greek market is important to CL for two reasons. First, there was the interest our former clients maintained in Greek enterprises, and second, our extensive know-how in the global transport and merchant shipping industries...
"Greece is very important for shipping... We did cover shipping companies from Paris but believe that it would be more important for us to also have a base in Greece."
Eurocorp was the right partner, not only because of a long past relationship but also because Banque Worms wanted to withdraw and the Greek firm preferred to continue with a French partner.
Besides stockbrokerage, CL also has an interest in privatization consultation services, asset management, and structure and project financing.
Meanwhile, Credit Agricole has made a friendly bid for Credit Lyonnais, while BNP Paribas maintains a rival interest, after recently buying the French government's 10.9 percent stake. The issue is expected to be resolved by about mid-March, says Papiasse.
"If the process is completed, as we hope, we shall have the biggest French bank and one of the biggest in Europe," he adds. The new bank would have an estimated 25 percent share in the French commercial banking sector and would be the biggest in asset management, life insurance and consumer credit. Credit Agricole also has a active partnership with the Commercial Bank of Greece but, as they are active in different fields, their business may prove complementary to CL's, says Papiasse.
Finally, he makes it clear that CL has no intention of proceeding with more acquisitions and that it plans to bolster its presence by "bringing in" specialized staff or sending Greek staff for further training in Paris.
Source: www.ekathimerini.com Text by Costis Papadimitriou, 29 Jan. 03


Bureau Veritas: 7th meeting of the Hellenic Marine Technical Committee
The Hellenic Marine Technical Committee held it's 7th meeting during November 2002 in Athens.
The Committee is consisted of leading Bureau Veritas personalities and of prominent Managing & Technical Directors from the greek shipping industry.
This Committee meets twice a year at such time and place as may be designated by the Society and it is formed to promote co-operation and communication and to develop an exchange of knowledge & experience between the Classification Society and the greek shipping community.
Chairman of the Committee has been elected for the next 3 years Mr. G. Sarris, Managing Director of Enterprises Shipping & Trading, Vice-Chairman Mr. A. Faraklas, Managing Director of Chartworld Shipping, and Secretary Mr. D. Bouttier, Chief Executive of Hellenic & Black Sea Region of Bureau Veritas.
According to Committee's regulations a few members who had completed their term of 3 years were not re-nominated; new members have been elected.
Two issues were addressed and extensively discussed between committee members:
"Ballast Water Management" which was presented by Mr. Socrates Dimakopoulos, Chemical Engineer, Lieutenant of Merchant Ships Inspection Service.
"Corrosion Coating" and Bureau Veritas proposals concerning this subject, presented by Mr. Philippe Baumans, Marine Technical Department, Paris.
Source: Bureau Veritas Press Release, Jan. 03


Unimarine Services Inaugurate New Offices
Unimarine has the doors of their new offices at Hadjikyriakou Avenue 35, Piraeus. The companies' associates worldwide and friends from the Greek shipping community celebrated the event together with the staff following the blessing of the building by Father Nectarios, an old class mate of Jason Georgiou, President of Unimarine Services Group.
The new home of Unimarine (JG House) was built in the beginning of 1900 at the "Hydraiki Synikia". The building has a folkloric background; one of its past residents was the son of "Panagis Koutalianos".
Following the complete restoration and renovation the building now has 6 floors (including basement and attic) and houses the 26 employees of the Unimarine Group that are based in Greece. In total the Unimarine / Uniservice group has more than 150 employees worldwide.
Founded in 1988 by Jason Georgiou, the Unimarine Group of Companies today consists of 3 production facilities and fourteen own offices with over 150 employees. In close cooperation with 45 agents, 775 ports worldwide are covered.
Unimarine mainly represents the brands Uniservice, Uniclean, Unigas and Unimarine Safety. With this range Unimarine continues to follow its policy: Clean Ships - Clean Seas.
Unimarine has ISO 9002 certification and is a member of ISSA. IMO and various environmental associations approve the products.
For more information on Panagis Koutalianos see:http://www.ekinlik.org/panagis/panagise.html
Source: www.unimarine.gr, 27 Jan. 03


New shipping branch opened by ABN AMRO Bank
Following the sale of its Consumer network to ASPIS Bank, ABN AMRO continues to strengthen its presence to the shipping industry with the opening of a new shipping Branch in Piraeus 93 Akti Miaouli.
The new ABN AMRO Branch, which covers the Bank's shipping customers' operational needs, was inaugurated on January 24th 2003, during a brief ceremony of the traditional pie cutting, in the presence of Messrs. M. Apostolides (Branch Manager) and D. Anagnostopoulos, (Head of ABN AMRO Greek Shipping).
The Management of the Shipping Unit remains at 330 Thisseos Avenue in Kallithea together with the ABN AMRO Central Services, Corporate, Treasury, Investment Banking and Asset Management, as well as one fully operational Branch.
Source: ABN AMRO Bank, 28 Jan. 03


Event Diary (Piraeus/Athens)
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MARINE RISK ASSESSMENT
Date: 4 - 5 Feb. 03
A 2-days course held by DNV Piraeus in the company's in-house facilities
Lecturer: V. Jenkins
The course provides delegates with a good understanding of the use of semi-quantitive risk assessment and approaches for "Acceptable Level of Risk", designed for both office and seagoing staff at all levels.
Some of the topics covered:
IMO and International Regulations, Business Applications, the SWIFT hazard identification and technique, Risk matrices, Risk Ranking, Risk Criteria, Cost benefit assessment, Links to the ISM Code.
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SEMINAR: Interaction - Engine Design, Cylinder Lube Oil Design and Cylinder Condition
Date: 6 February 2003, 17:30-20:30 hours at Anangel Shipping Co. Auditorium, 354 Syngrou Ave.- Athens
Organized by the Greek CIMAC Association
Moderator : Nikolaos Kyrtatos, Professor of Marine Engineering, NTUA, Greece
Coordinator: Carl-Erik Egeberg, MAN B&W Diesel, Denmark
Speakers:
Stig Jacobsen, MAN B&W Diesel, Denmark
K.C. Lim, BP, UK
Carl-Erik Roesgreen, Wartsila, Finland
Keith Saddler, Exxon Mobil, USA
Attendance to the seminar is free, but limited to 100 persons. Please register using the directions at: http://www.lme.naval.ntua.gr/cimac_gr/seminar/registration.htm
Info: (+30) 210-772 1119, Mrs. Bousiou
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CONFERENCE "NAVIGATOR 2003"
Date: 4 Mar.03, 10:00 - 17:00 hours in Athens Ledra Marriott Hotel.
Suported by the Hellenic Ministry of Mercantile Marine , the University of Piraeus - Maritime Studies Department and the co-operation of the Embassies of Brazil, South Africa, Philippines, Argentina, India and Saudi Arabia.
The Conference will give the oppurtinity to the participants to exchange views and discuss with our Members about the existed regulations, port facilities and requirements.
For more info: Mrs. Bezantakou Danae, Tel: 201 6232106, E-mail: kefi@navikefi.gr
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INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING & BUNKER - 2nd Conference
Date: 3-5 June 2003, Astir Palace Resort, Vouliagmeni/Athens, Greece
The 2nd International Shipping and Bunker Conference is organised by Infospectrum.net Limited and Concorsa Limited, in association with IBIA (International Bunker Industry Association).
For more info: http://www.greece2003.net.
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2nd GREEEK SHIP FINANCE CONFERENCE - Lloyd's Shipping Economist
Date: 4 - 5 June 2003, Ledra Marriott Hotel, Athens, Greece
Investing & Financing Greek Shipping: Challenges and Opportunities
For more, contact Claire Ritchie on telephone +44 (0) 207 553 1894 or email mailto:claire.ritchie@informa.com
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SHIP MANAGEMENT 2003 - Lloyd's Ship Manager's 13th Conference
Date: 17 - 18 June 2003, Divani Apollon Palace Hotel, Athens, Greece
For more, contact Caroline Chapman, Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7553 1491 e-mail: caroline.chapman@informa.com
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GREEK SHIP FINANCE FORUM - 5th Annual Conference
Date: 9 October 2003, at Athens Ledra Marriott
Executives of respected Greek ship owning companies, the financial community as well as legal and broking specialist will meet, once again, to discuss latest developments and tomorrows new opportunities.
Organised by the recently established "Marine Money Greece" office, more details can be obtained from: Kevin Oates, kevin@marine-marketing.gr or Mia Jensen, mia@marine-marketing.gr
Source: Organisers announcement