Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 01 - 2007

 

Ocean drybulk freight shipping rates come off peak

---Concerns of slowing demand from China meet with new capacity increases to slow bulk ocean freight rate hikes
By Dave Hannon -- Purchasing, 1/4/2008 10:41:00 AM
After months of continuing to set new records, the Baltic Dry Index benchmark for the price of shipping bulk commodities, slumped to the lowest in more than three months recently.
Bloomberg reports that the decline comes as Chinese steelmakers scaled back iron-ore imports.
The same AP report also cites Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Natasha Boyden as saying that 2008 may see a bigger than expected decline in drybulk rates, continuing into 2009 and 2010 as a number of new vessels are expected to flood the market.
"The biggest factor in the slowdown of the market will be the order book," Boyden said. "With so many ships expected to be built, we are now seeing 2008 as the peak year."
Drybulk capacity expansions continue, including news today that Star Bulk Carriers Corp has agreed to acquire a total of nine dry bulk vessels, while Eagle Bulk Shipping announced it would buy four new vessels for $42.3 million.
Source: http://www.purchasing.com/article/CA6517148.html?industryid=48397


End of year volatility sways tanker fortunes
---Tony Gray FREIGHT rate volatility in the tanker market is increasing as the fourth quarter performance becomes more influential on the outcome of the year as a whole.
This is the conclusion of Poten & Partners, a leading New York-based shipbroker, in its final weekly tanker market opinion of 2007.
In the year just ended, very large crude carrier rates from the Middle East Gulf to southeast Asia were, on average, mostly below the monthly Worldscale rate experienced in the previous 11 years, Poten & Partners says. While rates were "less than inspiring" during the first 10 months of 2007, they did not establish a new monthly low.
The assessment of last year's tanker market, however, is heavily influenced by the dramatic increase in rates when the final two months are taken into account.
Spurred by a host of market dynamics, Middle East Gulf-Far East VLCC rates spiked in the latter part of November, and remained near these heady levels through December.
This late year recovery boosted the yearly average Worldscale rate for 2007 into the middle rank of the last 12 years, the broker points out, with an average of W80.5, against a high of W145.4 in 2004, and a low of W48.1 in 1999.
Looking at last year's market on the basis of daily time charter equivalent earnings improves 2007's performance substantially - it then ranks as the third best year over the last 12 for Middle East Gulf-Far East voyages in double-hulled VLCCs.
The year's average TCE of $55,533 was at a similar level to the previous two terms, and compares to the high of $92,025 in 2004 and the low of $19,139 in 1999.
But December saw the second highest monthly TCE of $205,500 during the entire 12-year period, exceeded only by the $212,270 chalked up in November 2004.
Poten & Partners argues that using yearly averages masks the month-to-month volatility in TCEs.
Removing the highest monthly TCE from its yearly average - as a means of cancelling the highest earning month's contribution - results in a different ranking emerging for Middle East Gulf-Far East VLCC TCEs. Without the boost from December's average daily TCE of $205,500, the average of the other 11 months in 2007 falls back into a middle ranking. Indeed, seven of the last 12 years' highest monthly average TCEs occurred in the fourth quarter of the year.
Viewing volatility as the difference between the highest monthly TCE and the yearly TCE average without this high suggests that the magnitude of volatility has increased recently, Poten & Partners says.
The difference between the highest monthly TCE and the average TCE in 2007 - "volatility" - stood at $149,967, the largest level during the 12 years examined. And Poten & Partners figures show that, on this basis, volatility has been at its most extreme in three of the past four years.
The broker concludes: "With roughly 110 spot VLCC fixtures monthly in a fleet some 500 vessels strong, tanker owners have about a 20% chance of being lucky and hitting the jackpot in a peak month.
"Lately, though, it seems that owners participating in the fourth quarter spot market stand a better chance of being lucky than in the other quarters of the year."
provided by GBI-GENIOS...
Lloyds List, Wednesday 2 January 2008
Source: http://www.emissionshaus.com/kc/deutsch/news/pressespiegel.db?item=24111&nlstats=


Attica Holdings S.A. announces agrement to sell its RoRo vessel Marin
---Attica Holdings S.A. announces that it has contracted to sell its RoRo vessel Marin, built 1991, trading between Greece and Italy for a total cash consideration of Euro 8,450,000. The delivery of the vessel and final payment will take place in February 2008.
At the time of conclusion of the transaction, Attica Group is expected to book capital gains of approximately Euro 2.2mln.
The Board of Directors
For more information please contact: Attica Group, Mr. Yannis Criticos, tel.: +30 210 891 9500, fax : +30 210 891 9509,e-mail: [email protected], www.attica-group.com, www.superfast.com, www.bluestarferries.com
Source: http://www.attica-group.com/pdf/04_01_08_SALE-RoRo-MARIN_en.pdf


Dragnis to launch new tanker arm
---The Dragnis family is entering the wet trades with tanker outfit Oceangold Tankers.
The Dragnis family of Greece is set to launch its new tanker arm this month, Oceangold Tankers.
The new products-tanker offshoot of Goldenport Shipmanagement will be headed by Vasilis Dragnis, the youngest member of the shipping family, with an initial fleet of three ships.
The first to enter the Oceangold fold are two 75,000-dwt products tankers the Alpine Penelope and Alpine Persephone to be delivered by the end of the month. They are worth about $60m each, according to newbuilding brokers.
The third ship is the 40,000-dwt products tanker Crete (built 1988), purchased by the family in early 2005 for a reported $17m.
All three ships are locked in on long-term charters.
The first pair has been chartered to ST Shipping for seven years at an undisclosed rate, says Dragnis. Brokers suggest both ships will be earning around $23,000 per day.
The Crete is working a time-charter agreement for the West Africa to South America trade route and will be open for charter again by April.
Dragnis says the new company is taking a conservative approach to chartering and is set to focus its energy on fleet expansion. He adds that Oceangold intends to develop a fleet of middle range products tankers.
He reveals that even though a large fleet would provide economies of scale, Oceangold is set to hold off from buying for the near future as asset values remain high. "We are willing [to buy] but we are not just going to drop money in the bucket," Dragnis said. "It has to be a good deal."
He says the company is mulling over whether another three tankers under technical management by third-party companies, but owned by the Dragnis family, will enter the Oceangold fleet in the meantime.
One is a products tanker, the 50,000-dwt Santa Elena (built 1986), bought in 2005 for a reported $16.25m. Dragnis says the decision will depend on whether the ship is sold on in view of rising asset values.
The other two ships are chemical tankers, the 39,000-dwt Symphony I (built 1982), bought in December last year for a reported $6.5m, and 51,000-dwt Synergy (built 1985), bought in June for a reported $12m.
The tanker sector is a new area for the Dragnis family, which controls Goldenport, founded by Paris Dragnis in 1982. Goldenport has so far specialised in bulkers and boxships and took its fleet to the London Stock Exchange on 5 April 2006 through its Goldenport Holdings vehicle.
Dragnis says a team of products-tanker experts and crewing resources has been built up in the past year in anticipation of the newbuilding deliveries.
He says the family intends to take Oceangold to the public markets when the timing is right.
While his father, Paris, and his older brother, John, control Goldenport Holdings, Vasilis has been allocated the role of heading the tanker operation.
The 27-year-old owner has been working under his father's wing for the past three years, rotating through various departments. Unlike what many might suspect, Dragnis says his father did not pressure him to follow in the family business path.
Having studied art in university, he had rejected shipping when he was younger as it seemed to involve a lot of paper work. Since then, he has pursued studies in shipping.
"I chose to be in shipping," said Dragnis.
New beginnings are also on the cards in the luxury-yacht sector for the Dragnis family through its little-known company Golden Yachts.
The luxury-cruise operation, which is described as "the baby" of Paris, is not new but it is set to launch a yacht shipbuilding facility in Greece. The new yard will construct hulls and the interiors will be fitted in Italy.
John says the project will involve the construction of a 65-metre cruiser.
Established in 1997, Golden Yachts has been marketing its own ship brand name since and built up a fleet of five 45-metre to 55-metre boats that are hired out to holidaymakers.
All four companies are housed in the office complex owned by Goldenport in the south-eastern waterside suburb of Voula.
By Yiota Gousas, Athens, published: 04 January 2008
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Eagle Bulk Shipping orders four 58,000 dwt Supramax Vessels
---NEW YORK, Jan. 3, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc. (Nasdaq:EGLE) announced today it has exercised options for the construction of four 58,000 dwt Supramax vessels from the Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group, the parent of the Yangzhou Dayang Shipbuilding Co. (China), at a contract price of $42.3 million per vessel. The availability of these options was initially reported by Eagle Bulk on August 7, 2007.
The four Supramax sister vessels are as follows:
Vessel dwt Expected Delivery Employment
------ --- ----------------- ----------
Besra 58,000 Oct 2010 Charter Free
Cernicalo 58,000 Jan 2011 Charter Free
Fulmar 58,000 Jul 2011 Charter Free
Goshawk 58,000 Sep 2011 Charter Free
The addition of these vessels to the Eagle fleet increases the total fleet size to 53 vessels, expands capacity to 2.93 million deadweight tons, and improves the fleet's efficiency by increasing the sister ship total to 45 vessels.
About Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc.
Eagle Bulk Shipping, Inc., headquartered in New York City, is a leading global owner of Supramax dry bulk vessels, which are dry bulk vessels that range in size from 50,000 to 60,000 deadweight tons, or dwt, and transport a broad range of major and minor bulk cargoes, including iron ore, coal, grain, cement and fertilizer, along worldwide shipping routes. Our strategy is to charter our modern fleet on medium- to long-term time charters which allow us to take advantage of the stable cash flow and high utilization rates that are associated with such charters.
CONTACT: Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc., Investor Contact, Alan Ginsberg, Chief Financial Officer, (212) 785-2500
Source: http://www.eagleships.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=189576&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1091284&highlight=


Navios Forms Logistics Business
---Navios Maritime Joins With Horamar Group to Form South American Logistics Business
NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Greek shipping company Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. on Thursday said it formed a South American logistics business through the combination of its port operations with Horamar Group's barge and upriver port businesses.
The creation of the new entity, named Navios South American Logistics Inc., included a cash payment of $112.2 million, Navios said.
Under the terms of the agreement, Navios owns 63.8 percent of the combined entity and the former Horamar Group stockholders own the remaining 36.2 percent.
Horamar is made up of a group of companies that specialize in the transport and storage of cargo along South America's Hidrovia passing. It controls a fleet of more than 100 barges and vessels.
Navios shares rose 33 cents, or 2.7 percent, to close at $12.44. Top of page
Source: January 03, 2008: 06:22 PM EST, http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/apwire/45d4b95ff61229ac46271aa4430c3767.htm


MIGs stake in Attica Group at 58.865 pct and in Blue Star at 51.862 pct
---01.03.08, 4:23 AM ET, AFX News Limited
ATHENS (Thomson Financial) - Marfin Investment Group (MIG) said that its stakes in Attica Group and in Blue Star Maritime, as of yesterday, had reached 58.865 pct and 51.862 pct, respectively.
In a filing to the Athens Stock Exchange, MIG noted that its direct holding in Attica Group is 8.933 pct while the remaining 49.93 pct is held through its subsidiary MIG Shipping.
Regarding Blue Star, MIGs direct participation is 3.006 pct and its indirect participation through Attica Holdings is 48.795 pct.
Wednesday was the final day of MIG's public offer for the two passenger shippers.
Source: Euro2day.gr Newswire
Source: http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2008/01/03/afx4489239.html


Omega Navigation Announces Appointment of Non Executive Independent Director
The appointment of Mr. Huang satisfies the requirement of Singaporean regulators that the Company has two independent Singaporean directors by January 1, 2008. Following this appointment, the Board of Directors of Omega Navigation consists of nine members, seven of which are independent.
Mr. Huang is a lawyer by training and he has had a career in Investment Banking spanning 12 years. He has held senior management positions at various international banks including Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Bankers Trust and Deutsche Bank. His areas of specialisation were in the areas of mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance and his last position at Bankers Trust was Managing Director, heading the Mergers & Acquisition Division for Bankers Trust for Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and India. Apart from Omega Navigation Enterprises Inc., Mr Huang holds board positions in several other listed and private companies. Mr. Huang has degrees in law and economics.
About Omega Navigation Enterprises, Inc.
Omega Navigation Enterprises, Inc. is an international provider of global marine transportation services through the ownership and operation of eight double hull product tankers. The current fleet includes eight double hull product tankers with a carrying capacity of 512,358 dwt. These eight product tankers are chartered out under three-year period time charters. Furthermore, the company recently announced the signing of shipbuilding contracts to construct and acquire five newbuilding double hull Handymax product tankers each with a capacity of 37,000 dwt scheduled for delivery between March 2010 and early in 2011. With the addition of these five vessels, the Omega fleet will expand to 13 product tankers with a total deadweight capacity of 697,358 tons.
The Company was incorporated in the Marshall Islands in February 2005. Its principal executive offices are located in Piraeus, Greece and it also maintains an office in the United States.
Omega Navigation's Class A Common Shares are traded on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol "ONAV" and are also listed on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited under the symbol "ONAV 50".
Source: http://www.omeganavigation.com/press2.html?relid=49202


Paragon Shipping Inc. Adopts Shareholder Rights Plan
---ATHENS, Greece, Jan 4, 2008 (PrimeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Paragon Shipping Inc. (Nasdaq:PRGN) announced today that is has adopted a shareholder rights plan designed to enable the Company to protect shareholder interests in the event that an unsolicited attempt is made for a business combination with or takeover of the Company. The Company believes that the shareholder rights plan should enhance the Board's negotiating power on behalf of shareholders in the event of a coercive offer or proposal. The Company is not currently aware of any such offers or proposals, and is adopting the plan as a matter of prudent corporate governance.
The terms of the shareholder rights plan are set forth in a filing that the Company has made with the Securities and Exchange Commission today. Rights under the plan are expected to be issued to shareholders of record as of the close of business on February 1, 2008.
About Paragon Shipping Inc.
Paragon Shipping Inc. is an Athens, Greece-based international shipping company specializing in the transportation of drybulk cargoes. The Company's current fleet consists of eleven vessels with a total carrying capacity of 706,358 dwt. For further information, please visit the Company's website at www.paragonship.com.
Source: http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/industries/transportation/article/paragon-shipping-adopts-shareholder-rights-plan_424595_8.html


Star Bulk Carriers expand operational fleet to seven vessels
---New York, New York, January 4, 2008 - Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (NASDAQ:SBLK) announced today that it has taken delivery of the "Star Gamma" (ex C Duckling), a Supramax vessel of 53,098 dwt built in 2002 in Japan. Star Gamma is currently under a pre-existing time charter employment contract at a gross daily rate of USD 28,500 which continues until January 2009.
Star Bulk has agreed to acquire a total of nine dry bulk vessels including two Capesize, one Panamax and six Supramax vessels. As of today, the company has taken delivery of one Capesize and six Supramax vessels, thereby expanding its operational fleet to seven vessels. The remaining one Capesize and one Panamax vessels are scheduled for delivery within January 2008, as per the table below.
Fleet Data are available at: www.starbulkcarriers.com
Source: http://www.starbulkcarriers.com/press_releases.html


Seanergy Maritime announced its first quarterly distribution to public shareholders
The Company announced that it will pay a distribution, consisting of the interest earned in the Trust Account, subject to certain permitted adjustments, of $1,630,791 in total or $0.0706 per share for such period. This distribution will be paid on January 15, 2008 to public shareholders of record on January 9, 2008.
About Seanergy Maritime Corp.
Contact: Seanergy Maritime Corp., Georgios Koutsolioutsos, Co-Chairman of the Board and President, Seanergy Maritime Corp. c/o Balthellas Chartering S.A., 10, Amfitheas Avenue, 17564 P. Faliro Athens, Greece Tel: 30 210 9406900 Fax: 30 210 9406933
Source: http://www.seanergymaritime.com/press/seanergy010208.pdf


TOP SHIPS Announces New Trading Symbol
---ATHENS, Greece, Jan 02, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- TOP Tankers (Nasdaq: TOPT) announced today that effective as of the open of market trading tomorrow, January 3, 2008, the Company's shares will begin trading under the new trading symbol "TOPS". This concludes actions to be taken by the Company in connection with the change of its name to "TOP SHIPS Inc." as announced on December 17, 2007.
About TOP SHIPS Inc.
TOP SHIPS Inc., formerly known as TOP Tankers Inc., is an international provider of worldwide seaborne crude oil and petroleum products and of drybulk transportation services. Upon delivery of one tanker to its new owners, the Company will operate a fleet of 19 tankers, consisting of 11 double-hull Suezmax tankers and 8 double-hull Handymax tankers, with a total carrying capacity of approximately 2.0 million dwt, of which 78% are sister ships, and two drybulk vessels. It expects delivery of four more drybulk vessels between January and March 2008. Thirteen of the Company's 19 tankers will be on time charter contracts with an average initial term of over two years with all but three of the time charters including profit sharing agreements. Three of the Company's drybulk vessels will have period charter contracts for an average period of 18 months.
Source: TOP SHIPS Inc.


TOP Ships (TOPS) Announces Delivery of Third Drybulk Vessel
The M/V AMALFI is the third drybulk vessel delivered to the Company in the last three months. The Company expects delivery of the remaining three drybulk vessels it has agreed to acquire between January and March 2008. The AMALFI has entered into a time-charter employment for a period of 14-16 months at a daily net rate of $22,000.
Source: TOP SHIPS Inc.


Spain to pursue claims against US shipping bureau over oil spill
---Jan 4, 2008, 13:04 GMT
Madrid - Spain will appeal a US federal court decision dismissing its damage claims against a US ship inspection organization, which Madrid accuses of contributing to one of the world's worst recent oil disasters, Spanish media reported Friday.
The Spanish Justice Ministry said it would appeal the decision of US judge Laura Swain who ruled on Wednesday that Spain must pursue its claims against the American Bureau of Shipping in its own courts.
Spain is seeking 1 billion dollars in damages for the oil disaster caused in 2002 by the Bahama-flagged Greek tanker Prestige, which spilled most of its cargo of 77,000 tons off Galicia in the north- west.
Six months earlier, the American Bureau of Shipping had certified the 26-year-old tanker as fit to sail.
The US court did not dispute Spain's stance that the disaster was caused by the deteriorated condition of the tanker, Spanish government sources said.
The American Bureau of Shipping had argued that Spain caused the oil spill by towing the leaking tanker out to the open sea, where it sank.
The spill was Spain's worst oil disaster, polluting the coastline, damaging fishing, tourism and the marine environment.
The Spanish government intended to use all means at its disposal to obtain damages, according to the daily El Pais.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Source: http://news.monstersandcritics.com/europe/news/


Ferry released after crew paid
Source: Fairplay Daily News, 03 Jan 2008


P&I Conference - Piraeus Marine Club: 24 January 2008
The Piraeus Marine Club has great pleasure in announcing to its members that the 8th International P&I Conference will take place at its premises on the 24th January 2008.
The topics will be as follows:
1. What is the future of mutuality in light of the pool claims experience in 2006?
2. Crew scarcity & employment of inexperienced labour: Is this a time bomb waiting to explode and what will its impact be on the P&I Clubs and the Pool?
3. Hydra:
a) Does it require two tranches of recapitalisation? Was it sufficiently capitalised at the outset and has the risk been priced correctly hitherto?
b) Was it wise of the Group to increase the Pool retention from $30m to $50m and is it resulting in the benefits of collective reinsurance being lost and substituted with individually purchased reinsurance.
4. Principles of P&I Underwriting: Are they fair?
a) Are new buildings too cheaply rated?
b) Are Greek Shipowners subsidising foreign Shipowners?
5. Competition in and fragmentation of the ship management industry means that investment in crew recruitment and training is insufficiently rewarded. Given that Clubs represent important shipowner collectives and benefit from strong crew recruitment and training, would it be appropriate for them or the International Group to contribute to the funding of initiatives in this area?
6. International Group Managers are proposing to assume responsibility for insuring War P&I risks. Given that a terrorism act could readily cause a catastrophic claim, what measures have been taken to assess the risks presented by different ship types, particularly, for example, quick turnaround ferries, and how do Managers propose to price the risk.
7. Is there a danger of criminal investigations hampering the learning of lessons from shipping accidents such as the Cosco Busan pollution?
8. Comparing apples with apples - choice considerations about sharing risk and picking Clubs - a buyer's view.
A detailed program will follow shortly.
We are also pleased to advise that Mr. Lou Kollakis of Chartworld Shipping Corp. has once again, kindly accepted our invitation to preside over the panel of speakers as Chairman.
Please note there is an attendance fee of Euro 85 per person (including lunch), to be paid in advance.
In view of the great anticipated turnout and limited number of places, we strongly recommend that attendance be confirmed soonest to Ms K. Vienna of the Piraeus Marine Club, Tel.: 210 4293 606, as strict priority will be observed.
Yours sincerely,
On behalf of the Chairman and the Board of Directors of the Piraeus Marine Club, Maria S. Prevezanou, Treasurer/ Organiser of the Seminar
Source: Piraeus Marine Club


Posidonia Cup 2008 - Race Entry Form
Race Entry Form for Posidonia Cup 2008 is now available. Make sure you register as soon as possible, as there are not enough yachts for everyone!
Contact:
Posidonia Exhibitions SA
4-6 Efplias Street, 185 37 Piraeus, Greece
Tel.: +30 210 4283608 Fax: +30 210 4283610
Website: www.posidonia-events.com
On Friday 30 May 2008, more than 50 yachts are expected to join the exciting sailing regatta, adding to the success of a race that has been heralded by all members of the shipping community as a "must attend" event on the international shipping agenda.A record 52 Greek and international yachts entered the 2006 Posidonia Cup sailing race, competing in three categories for the prestigious Posidonia Cup trophies. In 2008 one more category will be added to the event, allowing traditional boats of rare beauty to participate, enabling the Posidonia Cup to include all yachts that sail on the Aegean Sea. The participants of the 2006 race mirror the international character of the event, comprising companies and organisations from all over the world, blending the business dynamics of Posidonia with the fun character of a challenging sailing regatta.
Source: www.posidonia-events.com