Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 50 - 2009
# As Greece prepares to take a large delegation to the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen this month, Environment, Energy and Climate Change minister, Tina Birbili told the parliamentary trade and environmental committees that Greece would push for the enforcement of compulsory measures to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. She said Greece supports a reduction of between 20 and 30% by 2020 and the operation of a system to monitor the enforcement of these measures. However, she maintained Greek shipping would retain its competitiveness as measures would only be enforced if all countries agreed, thus all countries would have to abide by the same rules.
# Seanergy Maritime has issued more shares to Victor Restis interests after the Nasdaq-listed company met the earnings thresholds in its 2008 deal with the Restis family. The Athens-based bulker owner gave the family nearly 4.31m shares, which could be worth more than $14.6m at the current stock market price. In May 2008, Seanergy paid $395m for its inaugural fleet of six bulkers in a transaction with the Restis family. The transaction gave the family an initial 13.1% stake which soon increased to 21.9%. The deal also included an earn-out provision setting up earnings targets for today's share issuance. Seanergy now owns 11 bulkers of 1.04m dwt.
# Michael Bodouroglou has increased his holding in Paragon Shipping according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The ceo of the Nasdaq-listed bulker owner reports a holding of 18% in the company, up from 13.4% in August. He and private companies he controls now own more than 9.21m Paragon shares, a holding worth about $46.3m at the December 2 price of $5.03. According to the SEC filing Bodouroglou's Allseas Marine bought more than 1.02m shares from Paragon November 19 and now holds 2% of Athens-based owner of 12 bulkers, while Bodouroglou's Innovation Holdings owns 16% of the shares. If Paragon issues new shares to a third party, it must issue Allseas new shares to maintain its 2% ownership.
# Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) ceo George Anomeritis said the port's administration is keen to conclude work to give Piraeus full access to Greece's rail network. Addressing a parliamentary committee, Anomeritis said the lack of a rail connection is a major drawback for the port.
# Payment of what is thought to be a record salvage award is not to be paid after a top London admiralty judge sent it back to an arbitrator for reassessment. The near $41m award in favour of Athens-based Five Oceans Salvage was made following a successful operation that saved the grounded 52,000dwt bulk carrier Ocean Crown, built 2005, its valuable cargo of copper concentrates and averted pollution in a sensitive fish farming waters off Chile. The 2007 salvage operation saved the ship valued at $66m and a cargo worth another $100m. The Xenophon Constantinides headed Five Oceans was initially awarded $34.5m which was later raised to $40.75m. But the owner of the Ocean Crown, Oceanprecious Shipping a single ship company associated with Irika Shipping/John Frangos appealed the award with Justice Gross laying down the law in a key admiralty court ruling on the principles to be applied in calculating the reward due to a salvor. In so doing the
judge turned back to a landmark case arising from the grounding of the 3,200gt migrant ship Amerique, built 1864 which grounded off Le Havre in 1874.
Over a nine-week period the 35-strong Five Oceans crew transshipped the cargo to two other bulkers which were able to deliver the concentrate to India, undertook extensive underwater hull repairs to allow the vessel to be pulled free by three tugs and taken to a dry dock for repair, while at the same time preventing pollution in waters where there is extensive salmon farming. Lloyd's salvage appeal arbitrator John Reeder was impressed. Five Oceans took a commercial risk under the "no cure, no pay" principles of a Lloyd's Open Form contract as the salvage cost $18m.
# Michael Ioannidis, chairman and largest investor in the Cyprus Stock Exchange-listed Ocean Tankers Holdings is to pour some $30m into the company to provide cashflow. In a statement to the CSE it was revealed an egn is to be called to approve the plan for Ioannidis to convert some $30m of a $38m personal loan to the company into cash. At the same time, Ocean Tankers is working with bankers to restructure its bank loans. The company operates 15 tankers, 12 of them on t/c, eight of them to LukOil for up to eight years.
# December 2 Louis Cruises launched cruising from the port of Kochi, India with the inaugural sailing of Aquamarine, the first cruise ship to sail from India and offer cruises targeting the Indian tourism market. Aquamarine carries 1,200 passengers and will offer itineraries on the Kochi-Maldives-Kochi, and the Kochi-Colombo-Kochi routes, in addition to a one-night high sea-sailing.
Louis Loizou, Louis Group executive director and deputy ceo of Cyprus-based Louis Cruises expressed the company's satisfaction for adding Kochi to the list of homeports, the first non-European base for Louis' 12-strong fleet. The programme will operate to April 25, 2010 and around 60,000 Indian tourists are expected to cruise on the ship this season.
# Aegean Marine Petroleum has taken delivery of the Paxoi, a 5,500dwt double-hull bunkering tanker newbuild from Qingdao Hyundai Shipyard in China, and is to be deployed in the UK market. Nikolas Tavlarios, its president, said: "This vessel represents the 10th double-hull bunkering vessel delivered in 2009 and the 20th since Aegean's IPO in December 2006." Currently, the New York-listed Aegean has a global presence in 14 markets, including Vancouver, Montreal, Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, West Africa, Gibraltar, U.K., Northern Europe, Piraeus, Patras, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore as well as Tangiers, Morocco.
# Efefsis Shipyards has delivered the second of two ferry boats it is building for Samos Shipping. Like its sister, the La Caranta is 84mtrs in length, 17.4mtrs wide and has a capacity for 400 people, 100 cars or 16 trucks. Two Caterpillar engines of 2,000bhp give the ferry a top speed of 15 knots.
# Deutsche Bank analyst Justin Yagerman put a 'buy' rating on shares of Nasdaq-listed DryShips saying the market is undervaluing the bulker and drilling unit owner's cash flows. He expects the Athens-based company's exposure to the drillship charter market to bring a catalyst for intermediate-term growth.
# Lloyd's Register Classification Society (China) [LRCS] and Shenzhen-listed Shanghai Bestway Marine Engineering Design (Bestway) are to jointly develop a new fuel-efficient bulk carrier in response to increasing pressure from owners and regulators for shipbuilders to offer environmentally friendlier and more cost-effective vessels. The comprehensive research-and-development project comes as a growing number of yards and owners are using this year's decline in vessel ordering to rethink the designs of the next generation of orders.
"Economic and legislative drivers are motivating designers to reconsider the environmental impact of their products. In the foreseeable future, the environmental impact of commercial ships will increasingly influence their designs, the way they're operated and their eventual disposal," said Nick Brown, Country and Marine Manager, China, LRCS. "As one of our Group mandates is to promote and support safe and sustainable shipping, we are bringing our expertise to the table to support the maritime industry as it searches for greener forms of trade transport." The project, which will combine the expertise of Bestway, LRCS and the London-based Lloyd's Register's Strategic Research Group, will be divided into two work packages: energy-efficiency research into the ship's hull and systems; and technical approval and implementation of the proposed solutions. Work will focus on finding energy-efficient alternatives for a 35,000dwt bulk carrier.
"We are investing in green-ship technology to develop innovative solutions and ensure that we are in a position to meet the demand for the green-ship designs that are increasingly sought-after by owners," said Liu Nan, Bestway chairman and gm.
# Cost of insuring container ships to travel through high-risk trading routes off the coast of Somalia has soared in the past year thanks to pirate attacks. Marcus Baker, head of the marine practice at Marsh, the insurance broker, said a shipowner with a vessel worth $100m could now expect to pay about $150,000 on insurance cover. One year ago it would have cost about $20,000 to sail the same routes. Shipowners have to pay an additional premium to travel through exclusion zones around the Gulf of Aden and parts of the Indian Ocean, where conventional policies are void. Further, Lloyd's "war risk" committee has widened significantly the zones where the additional premiums apply to as far as 1,100 miles away from the coast.
Greek owners control 18% of the world's tanker fleet
---Wednesday 9. december 2009 00:53. GREECE: Hellenic tanker owners have reiterated their leading position in terms of their share of the total tanker fleet, controlling 18% of the current world fleet and 17% of the outstanding tanker orderbook, according to a report by Gibsons.
Overall, 50% of the tanker fleet is controlled by just six nations in deadweight terms.
China may not be in these nations, but according to Gibson this is about to change. the reason is that Chinese owners hold the second place of the current tanker orderbook, with newbuilding orders surpassing the actual existing fleet. This means that by 2012, China will earn a top five spot in tanker ownership.
In terms of tanker tonnage, the US claims 4th place despite having a very small registered fleet under the national flag. This indicates the dominance of the US in the financial sector.
German domicile owners still control 5% of the existing fleet but are under increasing pressure as the KG system comes to terms with the recession. As a result of many companies going public in recent years, the stock market has also played a major part in the change of the ownership structure, with 31% of the fleet now controlled by listed companies.
Meanwhile, with the tanker market on a rebound mode, it is worth providing some useful insight from Nikolas Tsakos, CEO of NY-listed Tsakos Energy Navigation. In recent quotes by Bloomberg, he said that the market is of course far away from the hundreds of thousands of dollars a day experienced just 24 months ago, but at least rates are easily covering their operating expenses and also allow profitability to be maintained. According to Mr. Tsakos this means that the sector has weathered the storm, with the worst now behind.
In terms of the crude market, he mentioned that there is a strong recovery, as a result of delays caused by new torments in the Mediterranean and bad weather in the Bosphorus Strait. These factors have brought rates back up from something like USD 10,000 in September to about USD 35,000 at present. As for products, there is better move in trading to the East, but rising inventories, mainly of distillates and gasoline are translated to less and less demand from the Western Europe market, as well as the markets of North America and the Far East.
Katseli fuels buzz on Chinese moves
---The Greek shipping minister has given what looks like a thumbs-up to more Chinese investments.
Rumours of a second huge cash injection by a Chinese company into the Greek shipping industry have gained momentum after Greece's shipping minister appeared to give the green light for further investments.
Cosco Pacific pumped EUR 831.2m ($1.22bn) into Piraeus port in 2008, giving the subsidiary of Chinese giant Cosco Group control of operations at two terminals for 35 years.
The port has been plagued with industrial turmoil since the deal, when angry dock workers voiced concerns over future pay and conditions under the Chinese company.
However, reports have indicated that another Chinese investment is in the pipeline - possibly again from state-run Cosco.
It comes as the European finance ministers moved to allay fears that the Greek economy was heading for a meltdown, following the news that its national debt will rise to 124.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010.
The Wall Street Journal quotes a source at the heart of the Greek government as saying Cosco is "looking for at least one more sizeable investment".
And more recently, Louka Katseli, the Greek minister of economy, competitiveness and shipping, said she would welcome "expanded collaboration" with Chinese companies.
The minister told a maritime event organised by the Consulate General of Greece in Shanghai that the two countries were exploring further partnership opportunities in the sector.
Katseli was not able to attend the event personally as she was at the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) assembly in London. But in an edited version of a video speech that was provided for delegates, she said: "Despite the global economic slowdown, a considerable, constantly increasing number of Greek vessels are delivered from Chinese shipyards.
"Greek shipowners are among the best clients of Chinese yards.
"We want this co-operation not only to be strengthened but also to be matched with further utilisation of Greek vessels by Chinese exporters to Europe and around the world.
"Our interest and co-operation is furthermore extended in the sector of ports, which no longer simply perform their traditional roles. Today, [they] serve as logistic centres and providers of comprehensive services.
"In light of this, we welcome sizeable investment in Cosco's Greek port of Piraeus and we are looking forward to an expanded collaboration both with Cosco and other companies to explore profitable investment opportunities for the benefit of our two countries.
"I would like to underline that our ministry, as well as [myself] personally, will fully support all serious efforts to strengthen economic and business partnerships between Greece and China.
"I am convinced that next year, during the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, we will have the opportunity to monitor and evaluate positively what promise to be important accomplishments in the field of maritime co-operation between Greece and China," she concluded.
By Neil Connor Shanghai
Published: 00:00 GMT, 11 Dec 2009 | last updated: 13:50 GMT, 10 Dec 2009
The cat and the dragon
Source: Fairplay - Story of the Week 10 Dec 2009, http://www.fairplay.co.uk
MV Ariana fianally truly free from Somalia Pirates
The Maltese-flagged ship was seized in May 2009, while heading from Brasilia to Middle East. The ship-owners paid large amount of ransom for the vessel to be released, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko stated December 10, 2009.
According to the Head of Ukrainian Foreign Intelligence Service Nikolai (aka Mykola) Malomuzh, saying also that a higher ransom had been handed over, the crew members are in good health and Ariana will sail to the nearest port within 5-7 days.
However, "there were some problems with ship's engine", Interfax Ukraine reported.
Luckily the soy-laden carrier sailed truly free Friday evening after having been held hostage for 6 month after it had received not only the ransom in an amount which was reported to match the latest demand as revealed earlier from the ground and not the lesser amount as said by a statement from the owner. More importantly the ill-fated ship could only leave after it had received again fuel from the Chinese-owned MV DE XIN HAI.
Finally also the 24 strong Ukrainian crew is free, including the two female sailors, of which especially one lady in serious condition had been abandoned by the Ukrainian government, their open and covert officials and the ship-owner, who didn't facilitate her medical evacuation.
The spin, however, produced by the crew of the Spanish vessel FV ALAKRANA concerning a 11 or 12 year old girl being on board ("with blond hairs and blue eyes") in addition to the two women was a hoax, as we had revealed earlier, and was invented to serve as tool to coerce the Spanish public and European taxpayers to opt for more aggressive military actions - and the financial means for it - against Somalia. It will be interesting to see how the Spanish judge will handle the obvious lies the Spanish sailors had told him concerning the sea-jacked bulk carrier, since they reportedly never even set foot on MV ARIANA, but told the Spanish court otherwise, causing through the Spanish media thereby also serious harm and grief to the Ukrainian families of the seafarers.
All 24 Ukrainian crew luckily survived the ordeal and the vessel will most likely dock in Mombasa, Kenya, according to Serhiy Borodenkov, the deputy director of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's consular service department.
"I emphasize that this will most likely be Mombasa, although we are only considering this [as a] possibility. It's not definite yet," he said at a press conference in Kyiv on Thursday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Valeriy Chaly, confirmed that the Ariana is being escorted by a military frigate allocated under the European Union's anti-piracy mission, Operation Atalanta.
Chaly said that there is practically no diesel or drinking water on board the ship. He said that all of the ship's crewmembers would return home by the New Year.
Greek Shipping Awards honour key players
---Lifetime award for Costamare founder
Nigel Lowry - Tuesday 8 December 2009
Besides founding Costamare Shipping and pioneering a Greek presence in the container sector, Capt Constantacopoulos has been a constant champion of voluntary anti-pollution body Helmepa and has invested heavily in his home region of Messinia.
Navios Maritime Holdings chairman and chief executive Angeliki Frangou accepted the Dry Cargo Company of the Year Award after Navios won over the judges by its bold but shrewd expansion through bulker newbuilding acquisitions.
Evangelos Marinakis-led Capital Ship Management was honoured with the equivalent award for the tanker sector.
The big players did not have it all their own way as Aegean Sea Lines, a smaller and younger ferry company, was chosen as Passenger Line of the Year for its fleet renewal and establishing of new lines to the Cyclades islands this year.
The National Bank of Greece was a widely backed selection as Shipping Financier of the Year for 2009 after reclaiming its title as the largest Greek lender to the industry.
Carla Montesi, director for Maritime Affairs (Mediterranean and Black Sea) for the European Commission, came from Brussels to accept the 2009 International Personality of the Year Award on behalf of recipient Commissioner Joe Borg.
Greece cancels tender for Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft
Taking into consideration the price range as well as the further award criteria, including domestic industrial participation, offset agreements and technical merit of the respective contenders, a success of this procurement effort seems to have been quite unpromising from the beginning. Furthermore, past quarrels between the Greek government and industry regarding the payment fulfilled contracts, such as in the case of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (see http://www.defpro.com/daily/details/407/), may not have encouraged industry to step forward in this particular tender. (nvk)
Athens, - Seanet signs agreement with European Seaways
---09.12.09 | 14:56 Uhr. European Seaways Inc. is a ship management company based in Athens, Greece. The company was founded in 1990 and operates two vessels on the route between Italy and Albania.
Seanet Maritime Communications AB (publ), listed on First North, has signed an agreement with European Seaways to supply GSM and Internet-services onboard their vessel F/B Ionis. The agreement includes an initial evaluationperiod in order to validate the solution, as Seanet is providing the services with a new VSAT-antenna type.
European Seaways Inc. is a ship management company based in Athens, Greece. The company was founded in 1990 and operates two vessels on the route between Italy and Albania.
- Services like GSM and Internet will increase satisfaction among our passengers and crew. Any modern ship must have GSM and Internet today, says Ioannis Arkoumanis, Manager at European Seaways.
Seanet will deliver both GSM and Internet services to F/B Ionis. The agreement includes an initial evaluation period due to that Seanet will use a new VSAT-antenna.
- This agreement confirms Seanet's strong establishment in Greece, as one of the most important shipping markets in the world, says Klas Lundgren, CEO of Seanet.
Seanet installs and operates mobile telephony and broadband on board cruise and merchant ships. C-Cell is Seanet's ship-customized, small-scale GSM environment for passenger ships that enables passengers to use their standard mobile phones on board. C-Spot is Seanet's Wi-Fi service, giving passengers Internet cafes and wireless access for laptops with access to the internet on board, via satellite.
For further information: Klas Lundgren, Managing Director, Seanet, tel. mobile. 46 735 346078
Seanet is a global telecom operator at sea. Seanet installs and operates mobile and broadband services on board on ferries, cruise ships and merchant vessels. Seanet Maritime Communications AB (publ) is listed on First North, which is an alternative market operated by NASDAQ OMX. Companies whose shares are traded on First North are not obliged to follow the same rules as listed companies, but a less comprehensive set of rules adapted to the predominantly small companies and growth companies. The company's Certified Adviser and liquidity provider is Mangold Fondkommission AB.
This announcement was originally distributed by Hugin. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.
Mytilineos Says It Has No Interest In Hellenic Shipyards
---Mytilineos Group said Friday it has absolutely no interest in acquiring Hellenic Shipyards, following a relevant press report yesterday.
The announcement said that the meeting was on ELVO and other general issues.
Navios Maritime Partners L.P. Announces Appointment of Mr. Serafeim Kriempardis to Board Of Directors
---Piraeus, Greece, December 10, 2009 - Navios Maritime Partners L.P. ("Navios Partners") (NYSE: NMM) announced today the appointment of Serafeim Kriempardis to its Board of Directors.
Mr. Serafeim Kriempardis previously served as the Head of Shipping of Piraeus Bank and Emporiki Bank of Greece. Mr. Kriempardis is an accountant by training and holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the Athens University of Economics and Business and a Master's degree in management from the McGill University of Canada.
"We are delighted Mr. Kriempardis has joined our board and believe that his expertise and counsel will be significant assets as we continue to grow the company", said Ms. Angeliki Frangou, Chairman and CEO of Navios Maritime Partners L.P.
Mr. Serafeim Kriempardis fills the seat made vacant by the resignation of Mr. Leonidas Korres. Mr. Korres had been a director of Navios Partners since October 2007. Ms. Frangou commented, "Mr. Korres played an important role in the success of Navios Partners and we thank him for his years of good service."
ABOUT NAVIOS MARITIME PARTNERS L.P.
Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE: NMM), a publicly traded master limited partnership formed by Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. (NYSE: NM) is an owner and operator of dry cargo vessels.
Polembros Shipping LTD. Sentenced for Crimes Related to Pollution from Cargo Ship Traveling to New Orleans
--- Court Orders all of Company's Ships Barred from U.S. Waters for Three Years
WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Polembros Shipping LTD., a ship management company headquartered in Greece, was sentenced today in federal court in New Orleans to pay a $2.7 million criminal fine for violating anti-pollution laws, ship safety laws, and making false statements during a U.S. Coast Guard investigation of the M/V Theotokos, the Justice Department announced.
Additionally, Polembros was ordered to pay a separate $100,000 community service payment to the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, a subunit of Smithsonian Institute. The money will be used to research and mitigate the effects of marine invasive species suspected to be transported in ballast waters of ocean-going vessels. Invasive species can threaten native species and damage the ecosystems of the United States.
The court further ordered Polembros to serve three years probation. As a condition of the probation, all ships owned or managed by Polembros, currently 20 vessels, will be barred from entering U.S. ports and territorial waters for three years.
Additionally, the Court awarded a total of $540,000 to nine former crew members of the Theotokos who extensively cooperated in the investigation and gave information that led to the guilty plea and conviction of Polembros. Congress granted courts the power to award a "monetary payment" or "whistleblower award" for up to one-half of any criminal fine imposed under the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
"The terms of probation and penalties imposed by the court will prevent the company from putting the health of the territorial ports and waterways of the United States at risk while the company benefits from economic activity in our Nation's waters," said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The industry should take notice that the Justice Department and our investigative counterparts will continue to prosecute and seek penalties for those who violate our nation's environmental laws."
"This historic case showcases the excellent collaboration between personnel from the U. S. Attorney's Office, the Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section and the U. S. Coast Guard," said Jim Letten, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. "I also want to express my appreciation to the nine crew members of the Theotokos for their extensive cooperation in this investigation. The message should be clear that this office, in conjunction with its law enforcement partners, will continue to vigorously prosecute companies that pollute our marine environment."
Polembros pleaded guilty on Sept. 30, 2009, to violating two counts of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships: one count in connection with failing to maintain an accurate oil record book for the cargo ship M/V Theotokos, and the other concerning the carrying of fuel oil in a tank forward of the collision barrier; violating the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act, by failing to maintain accurate ballast water records; violating the Ports of Waterways Safety Act, by failing to report hazardous condition of the crack on the rudder stem of the ship; and making false statements by concealing the fact that fuel oil was leaking into the forepeak ballast tank.
The investigation into the M/V Theotokos led to the first criminal prosecutions under the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act. The false statement charge related to the crew's attempt to conceal the fact that fuel oil was leaking into the forepeak ballast tank.
Additionally, on Oct. 15, 2009, Panagiotis Lekkas, the master and highest ranking officer aboard the ship, was sentenced to ten months confinement, a $4,000 fine, and a three year ban on entering U.S. ports and territorial waters, for his role in the obstruction of justice, as well as violations of environmental and ship safety laws. On Oct. 1, Charles P. Posas, the vessel's chief officer, was sentenced to probation and a three year ban from U.S. ports and territorial waters for one count of false statement and one count of violating the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act. In another related case, on Nov. 5, 2009, the chief engineer, Georgios Stamou, was sentenced to pay a $15,000 fine and a term of probation including a five year ban on entering U.S. ports and territorial waters, after pleading guilty to one felony violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and one felony violation for making a false statement.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service with assistance from inspectors from Sector New Orleans as well as legal assistance from U.S. Coast Guard in New Orleans and at Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The case is being prosecuted by Christopher L. Hale of the Justice Department's Environmental Crimes Section along with Dorothy Taylor of the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Orleans.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice