Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 08 - 2009

 

Akti Miaouli / People & Places

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* Marine, Aegean and Island Policy minister, Anastasis Papaligouras again expressed his optimism that Greek shipping will navigate the international financial crisis and emerge strengthened when commenting at the re-scheduled
Hellenic Chamber of Shipping (HCS) Vassiloppitta cutting ceremony, February 17. Earlier, chamber president, George Gratsos made similar comments, when welcoming guests to the event at the Grande Bretagne Hotel, Athens. Gratsos also noted the ceremony was planned for a month ago but was postponed due to the "adventure Pericles Panagopulos went through" when kidnapped. The veteran shipowner was snatched January 12 and released after eight days when the family paid an unconfirmed Euro 30m ranson. Panagopulos, a member of HCS' executive committee, was present and in good form. The work of George Foustanos was recognised by the HCS with Papaligouras presenting a special award on its behalf of the HCS to the Greek shipping historian and archivist, who was also made an honorary member. The work on behalf of the chamber by former HCS vp, Notis Panagiotopoulos was also recognised with a special award being made.
* To serve in the Hellenic Harbour Corps, an officer, among other things, has to be "dynamic, courageous, have discipline, patience, show sensitivity, objectiveness, strength and be physically fit", Marine, Aegean and Island Policy minister, Anastasis Papaligouras told the latest 271 graduating officers at their passing out parade, February 17. In the presence of Marine ministry and senior Harbour Corps officers, Papaligouras reminded the graduates they were joining a force which has served the country since being founded by statesman Eleftherios Venizelos 90 years ago.
* Nicolaos Hadjioannou has left the position of coo of US-listed Safe Bulkers to pursue his own shipping activities, though it is understood contractual arrangements restrict his activities in the drybulk sector for a period of 12 months. Safe Bulkers ceo Polys V Hajioannou, is Nicholas' brother.
Shipping veteran John Foteinos has been named as Hadjioannou's replacement with immediate effect. Foteinos has worked at the Hadjioannou-controlled Safety Management Overseas since 1984, where he presently serves and will continue to serve as chartering manager. Safe Bulkers operates 13 panamax bulkers all built after 2003 with additional ships to be delivered by 2010.
* The atmosphere was far from downcast when Marine, Aegean and Island Policy ministry, secretary general John Tzoannos met February 19 with representatives of the Greek shipping finance community. When Tzoannos met with Association of Banking & Financial Executives of Hellenic Shipping board members, Alexandros Tourkolias, Dimitris Anagnostopoulos, Nicholas Vouyioukas, George Xiradakis, Katerina Fitsiou and Angelos Roupas, exchanges concentrated on the latest developments in Greek shipping and ways for it to adapt to the new financial environment.
* Marcos Foros has been elected president of the Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies, succeeding Pericles Panagopulos, who served two three-year terms. Following the association's agm February 16, elections see Foros heading up an expanded and much changed board, as the association strives to better represent all sectors of the passenger shipping sector. In line with this a new position on the board has been created so that both the ferry and cruise sectors have places. The board now comprises: Foros, president; Michael Lambros, vp cruise; Ioannis Vardinoyiannis, vp passenger shipping, a new position; Michael Sakellis, general secretary; Theodoros Kontes, treasurer; and members: Antonis Agapitos, Antonis Maniadakis, Spyros Paschalis, Eleni Potamianou and Andreas Stylianopoulos. - See 'From the Marketplace'.
* Sixteen persons, 10 from the world of shipping and six politicians will be the first personalities to receive the Eucranta Award, sponsored by the magazine Naftika Chronika. The 16 were selected by a 22-member jury and will receive the award at a ceremony will be held at the beginning of March, in conjunction with agm of the Greek Shipping Economists Associations (ENOE). The selection jury comprised 10 acclaimed professors from the University of Piraeus and the University of the Aegean, five journalists from Greek media and seven Naftika Chronika staff members. The shipping winners are: John Angelicoussis, Panayiotis Tsakos, Vassilis Constantakopoulos, Costas Grammenos, John Coustas, Dimitris Melissanidis, John S. Vardinogiannis, Nikos Varvates, Alkis Corres and Eleni Thanopoulou. European Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas; Euro Parliament VP, Rodi Kratsa, Euro MP M. Panayiotopoulos- Kasiotou, Mayor of Tilos Anastasios Aliferis, Greek MP Elpida Tsouri and Secretary General of Ports and Port Policy George S. Vlachos were selected the politicians of the year to receive the Eucranta awards which take their name from Greek mythology, Eucranta being a sea nymph, a Nereids who was entrusted to take good care of the marine environment and sailors. Special awards will also be presented to IMO Secretary General Efthimios Mitropoulos, ex-President of UGS Nicos Efthymiou and HCS President George Gratsos.
* Shipping company A.K.Shipping & Trading Inc, 154 Syngrou Avenue, 176 71, Athens, now has new contact numbers which will be as follows: Tel (+30) 211-5551-100 up to 109 Fax: (+30) 211-5551-190 up to 199 All mobile numbers and e-mail addresses remain unchanged.
Source: www.newsfront.gr


Hellenic registered fleet posts third straight monthly increase in December
The bulk of the increase in the registered fllet came once more from the tanker side, with four more vessels being added, bring the total tanker fleet at 521 vessels with a capacity of 22.318.727 tons, up from 517 units with a capacity of 22,394,165 tons in November. As for the rest of the fleet (passenger ships and other types), it was also increased by two vessels to reach 935 units in December.
On the dry side, vessel numbers show a marginal increase of 0.2%, while from a capacity point of view, the growth stands at 26.9%. This is easily translated to bigger bulkers entering the fleet, with capasizes proving to be the most popular type.
The Hellenic flagged fleet ranks third internationally and first in the EU in terms of dwt. Moreover, the the Greek-owned fleet under EU flags accounts for 44.1% of the EU dwt tonnage. Greek owners control 21.7% of the world tanker fleet (crude/oil product tankers) and 20.4% of the world bulk carrier fleet in terms of dwt (excluding ships currently on order).
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News
Source: http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com


Safe Bulkers Names John Foteinos as Director & COO to Replace Nicolaos Hadjioannou
---ATHENS, GREECE--(Marketwire - February 19, 2009) - Safe Bulkers, Inc. (the "Company") (NYSE: SB), an international provider of marine drybulk transportation services, has confirmed that its Chief Operating Officer and director, Nicolaos Hadjioannou, has resigned from both positions with the Company in order to pursue his own shipping activities. Under his contractual arrangements with the Company, Mr. Hadjioannou cannot pursue drybulk vessel business opportunities for the next 12 months, unless first offered to, and refused by, the Company.
Polys Hajioannou, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, said: "Although he will be missed, Nicolaos' departure to pursue his own business opportunities is a natural progression for him. I definitely agree that now is the right moment for his decision. I thank Nicolaos for the contributions he has made to Safe Bulkers, Inc., and wish him all the best in his future endeavors, for which he has every credential to make successful."
The Company has appointed John Foteinos to replace Nicolaos Hadjioannou as a director and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Foteinos has 25 years of experience in the shipping industry. After obtaining a bachelor's degree in nautical studies, he joined the predecessor of our Manager, Safety Management Overseas, in 1984, where he presently serves and will continue to serve as Chartering Manager. Mr. Foteinos assumes his new position on the Board of Directors and as Chief Operating Officer immediately. "John's knowledge and experience will be a great addition to our executive leadership team," said Polys Hajioannou.
About Safe Bulkers, Inc.
The Company's subsidiaries provide marine drybulk transportation services, transporting bulk cargoes, particularly coal, grain and iron ore, along worldwide shipping routes for some of the world's largest users of such services. The Company's common stock is listed on the NYSE where it trades under the symbol "SB." The Company's subsidiaries currently own 13 Japanese-built drybulk vessels, all built post 2003, and have contracted to acquire additional drybulk newbuild vessels to be delivered at various times within the next two years.
Source: http://www.safebulkers.com, http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Safe-Bulkers-Inc-NYSE-SB-952233.html


Lloyd's Register Educational Trust provides funds for maritime education to NTUA
During a ceremony held yesterday at NTUA for the award of the first two scholarships, the winners Nikolaos Katzouros (undergraduate student) and Stylianos Polyzos (PhD candidate) received their scholarships from Michael Franklin, LRET Director in the presence of Professor Christos Frangopoulos, Chairman of the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Department of NTUA. Faculty members also attended the event which marked the commencement of the LRET-NTUA collaboration.
The LRET, an independent charity foundation, supports organisations throughout the world by funding advances in transportation, science, engineering and technology education, training and research for the benefit of all.
Source: http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=51133


Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. Announces New $300 Million Credit Facility
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PIRAEUS, Greece, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (NYSE: ANW) today announced it has received a commitment letter for a new $300 million senior secured revolving and letter of credit facility. The two-year facility, underwritten by HSH Nordbank AG and The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, is subject to the execution of final documentation.
Under the terms of the commitment, the facility will bear interest at LIBOR plus a margin of 0.50% for documentary letters of credit, 1.50% for standby letters of credit and guarantee, and 2.50% for direct borrowings. The facility also has an accordion feature by which Aegean can increase the availability under the facility subject to lender commitments. Upon closing of the new facility, Aegean will have a total of $320 million in senior secured revolving credit facilities.
E. Nikolas Tavlarios, President, commented, "We are pleased to secure a new $300 million credit facility on attractive terms during a challenging credit environment. The new facility, which provides ample liquidity to manage both the fluctuation in marine fuel prices and procurement of supply in large quantities, highlights Aegean's leading industry reputation and underscores the Company's strong banking relationships. By further strengthening our working capital base, a key differentiator for Aegean, we plan to continue to take advantage of the strong worldwide demand for our comprehensive marine fuel services and further expand sales volumes. We also intend to utilize our considerable financial flexibility to capitalize on additional growth opportunities that best serve the interests of our shareholders."
About Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc.
Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. is an international marine fuel logistics company that markets and physically supplies refined marine fuel to ships in port and at sea. The Company procures product from various sources (such as refineries, oil producers, and traders) and resells it to a diverse group of customers across all major commercial shipping sectors and leading cruise lines. Currently, Aegean has a global presence in 13 markets, including Vancouver, Montreal, Mexico, Jamaica, West Africa, Gibraltar, U.K., Northern Europe, Greece, the United Arab Emirates as well as Singapore, and plans to commence operations in Tangiers, Morocco and Trinidad and Tobago.
Source: http://www.ampni.com


Excel set to get $5m out of Oceanaut
---A US-listed player will not lose all its equity outlay in a bust subsidiary.
Excel Maritime Carriers is set to receive a $5m capital injection following subsidiary Oceanaut heading for closure.
Blank-cheque company Oceanaut announced earlier this week that it had initiated moves leading to its liquidation and dissolution. A meeting is scheduled for 16 March for shareholders to vote on the process.
The reason behind the move is the company's inability to meet a 6 March deadline to use a facility of around $350m to acquire ships. Excel has attempted to do several deals, the latest being an en-bloc purchase of four bulkers from Irika Shipping of Greece. However, the deal did not make the shareholder vote.
Market observers say the liquidation was expected. It is difficult for any public company to convince shareholders to buy bulkers, one observer says, given the high risk of ships being left without work in the current downturn.
As Oceanaut's sponsor, Excel is set to receive $5m from the closure. This is part of the $11m in equity Excel had put forward in the form of a private placement that launched Oceanaut in March 2006. Excel is set to book a loss by forfeiting $6m.
No one at Excel was available for comment despite repeated efforts before TradeWinds went to press.
One Wall Street punter says this will raise questions among shareholders in the US, who are used to sponsors losing all their equity when such closures occur.
The injection of capital will be timely for Excel, which is facing its own set of challenges including, among others, dwindling cash flow.
The company announced earlier this week that two charterers had defaulted on three contracts and are now paying half the initial charter rate. The defaults mean Excel will not be receiving a total of $107m calculated into its cash-flow outlook. According to the announcement, $32m of this will have to be subtracted from Excel's 2009 cash flow and another $35m from the 2010 spreadsheet.
Reports have surfaced linking the three bulkers to the defaulted charter contracts. The 164,000-dwt Kirmer (built 2001) has been chartered to Emirates Trading Agency (ETA) at $105,000 per day for three years since May 2008. The 177,000-dwt Iron Miner (built 2007) has been fixed to undisclosed charterers at $42,000 per day until 2012. Brokers say the unit is on hire to Glory Wealth at $115,000 per day for the same period and facing trouble with one of its counterparties, Transfield. The third bulker linked to the defaults is the 180,000-dwt Sandra (built 2008), earning $39,000 per day until 2013 with an undisclosed charterer.
Excel has warned of more cash-flow cuts, saying it is unable to guarantee that charterers will continue to pay hire at the "agreed rates, reduced rates, or at all".
Wall Street observers say it will be interesting to watch Excel given it has a $1.3bn debt. They add that it has also yet to announce if banks will waive breaches of financing covenants linked to the 41 ships it owns that are now trading well below their net asset value.
The company announced earlier this week that it had suspended dividend payments including those pertaining to the fourth quarter of last year.
By Yiota Gousas Athens, Published: 00:00 GMT, 20 Feb 2009 | last updated: 07:44 GMT, 20 Feb 2009
Source: http://www.tradewinds.no/weekly/w2009-02-20/article530795.ece


Pure Greek
---Sticking to its roots, Euroseas Ltd., on Monday, announced the continuation of its fleet renewal and expansion program. The company acquired the 1997 built Panamax bulkcarrier, M/V Glorious Wind, on a charterfree basis, for $18.4 million. In addition, Euroseas disclosed the simultaneous sale of the M/V Nikolaos P, a 34,780 DWT bulkcarrier built in 1984 for $2.4 million. The new Panamax will be employed in the spot market and according to Justin Yagerman of Wachovia Capital will be likely be funded from internally generated cash flow including, the sales proceeds. He further suggests that the company will obtain 50% financing at a later date.
Source: http://www.marinemoney.com Freshly Minted online, 19 Feb 2009


Diana Shipping (DSX) - Reports 4Q Results; Remains Well-Positioned to Consolidate Dry Bulk Market
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>Diana Shipping reported 4Q08 EPS of $0.73. The results are higher than consensus estimates of $0.72 but below our $0.76 forecast on slightly lower revenues than expected. Last quarter, Diana announced it would temporarily suspend its dividend and build a cash position to take advantage of potential distressed asset sales in the future.
>Management remains quite confident with respect to its charter portfolio. Its counter-parties are among the highest quality within the peer group, with the majority of its vessels contracted to major players such as BHP, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus.
>We maintain our Hold rating on DSX, but we would take periods of weakness as opportunities to accumulate. We remain confident that Diana will emerge from the current tumultuous environment as an industry consolidator, as its assets are unencumbered with significant debt burdens or newbuild commitments at peak vessel values.
Source: Dahlman Rose & Company, LLC


Eletson enters gas market
---(Feb 20 2009) The Eletson Corp has entered a new market sector with the delivery of its first LPG carrier.
Source: http://www.tankeroperator.com/news/todisplaynews.asp?NewsID=1032


Marmaras axes capesize orders
---Michelle Wiese Bockmann - Thursday 19 February 2009
GREEK owner Marmaras Navigation has cancelled two capesize newbuildings ordered in September 2008.
The pair was among the last reported capesizes ordered before the market crash in September.
They contracts were signed with South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries at a cost of $110m each, and reported in August.
Marmaras could not be reached for comment but it was understood that the shipyard did not secure refund guarantees for the vessels from banks.
These latest cancellations are part of a growing list of capesize newbuildings on order that may not be built. The capesize orderbook is currently at 818, and the current fleet at 832, according to Clarkson databases.
Traditional buyers more likely to secure favourable terms, he said.
Average timecharter rates for capesize vessels have plunged since August from $140,000 to less than $2,500 per day at the height of the market collapse in early December. They have since rebounded to nearly $39,000 per day.
Second-hand values have also dropped by nearly 70%, to $48.8m for a five-year old capsize, according to the Baltic Exchange sale and purchase assessment.
Source: http://lloydslist.com/ll/news/marmaras-axes-capesize-orders/20017620166.htm


TOP Ships announces delivery of its first newbuilding vessel
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 drybulk transportation services. The Company operates a combined tanker and drybulk fleet as follows:
> A fleet of eight double-hull handymax tankers, with a total carrying capacity of approximately 0.4 million dwt, of which 50% are sister ships. All of the Company's handymaxes are on time charter contracts with an average term of one year with all of the time charters including profit sharing agreements above their base rates.
> Five newbuilding product tankers, which are expected to be delivered in the first half of 2009. All the expected newbuildings have fixed rate bareboat employment agreements for periods between seven and ten years.
> A fleet of five drybulk vessels with a total carrying capacity of approximately 0.3 million dwt. All of the Company's drybulk vessels have fixed rate employment contracts for an average period of 25 months.
Source: NEWS RELEASE for February 19, 2009


Tsavliris Salvage (International) Ltd v Grain Board of Iraq [2008] EWHC 612 (Comm)
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Arbitration agreements; Corporate personality; Freezing injunctions; State immunity from proceedings
The Parties: This was a dispute between the Grain Board of Iraq (Cargo Owner) and a salvage company concerning security under the salvage agreement and whether the cargo owners were State Immune from proceedings. The Applicant Grain Board of Iraq challenged the Salvage Arbitration award under s67 of the Arbitration Act 1996. At the same time, the Respondent salvage company applied for a freezing injunction against the Cargo Owner with respect to the initial award.
The Facts: the owners of the vessel made a salvage agreement with the Salvors and on behalf of the property that was to be salved. The agreement stated that the Salvors would have a lien over the cargo until security for the salvage was provided. After the successful refloat of the vessel, the Salvors unsuccessfully contacted the Owners of the cargo. However, because the owners of the cargo were government owned the Salvors were advised that they could not enforce its lien in Iraq so the Salvors proceeded to arbitration pursuant to the provisions contained in the agreement.
Source: http://www.fichtelegal.com/newsletter/Tsavliris.html, Volume 1 Issue 4. February 2009


Anti-trust authority slaps fines on Piraeus
---18 Feb 2009. Piraeus Port Authority and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have been found guilty of anti-competitive practices by Greece's anti-trust authority.
While the anti-trust authority found that the contract signed between the port authority and MSC hadn't deliberately intended to prevent other companies from competing, it nevertheless had a negative impact on competition.
The contract lasted until the end of 2004 and since 2005, claims the anti-trust authority, things have improved considerably.
Source: http://www.portstrategy.com/archive101/2009/march/news_europe/anti-trust_authority_slaps_fines_on_piraeus


Papandreou proposals on tourism
"The country entered the financial crisis unshielded, and this has enormous consequences on shipping and tourism, two sectors that are of immediate interest for Greece," Papandreou said, and strongly criticised the government and also the Commission, charging that the measures announced by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Dec. 18 have not been activated at the legislative or funding level.
He also accused the EU of "reacting with conservative reflexes" and "moving very slowly at a time when that it should be acting more aggressively and taking more drastic measures for exiting the crisis".
According to the bleakest forecasts aired during the meeting, tourism levels are expected to decline by 20-30 percent in 2009.
Papandreou presented PASOK's proposals on tourism, which aim at promoting quality tourism rather than mass tourism, placing emphasis on "green" tourism, and linking tourism with education and training.
He also proposed a 2-percent reduction in VAT for tourism enterprises.
Caption: Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou at a meeting with shipping and tourism sectors officials on Wed.18 February 2009 in Athens.ANA-MPA/KATERINA MAVRONA
Source: http://www.ana-mpa.gr/anaweb/user/showplain?maindoc=7327645&maindocimg=7327460&service=8 Main opposition


Govt finds profit in idle ships
---The government can earn as much as $9000 to $12,000 a day just from parked inactive ships, an official said.
Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Administrator Elena Bautista said the two bays in Davao del Sur province are ideal parking sites for shipping vessels, which have stopped cruising in recent months due to the global financial crisis.
Bautista said several foreign shipping firms are now considering to lay up their ships at Philippine ports because of its wide bays, particularly the Pujada Bay and Malalag Bay in Davao.
These two bays, Bautista said, can accommodate as many as 100 ships at a time at a daily rate of $90 to $120 per vessel. The ships are usually laid up from three to six months until operations normalize, which means more revenue for government.
Bautista said a Greek shipping firm has already parked five vessels at Malalag Bay, while an Israeli company is planning to lay up ten of its ships at Pujada Bay. Other parking sites of foreign vessels include Subic Bay and Cebu, which are already full of ships.
as of 02/15/2009 3:07 PM
Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/02/15/09/govt-finds-profit-idle-ships abs-cbnNEWS.com | 02/15/2009 3:07 PM