Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 11 - 2009

 

Greeks expand fleet but home flag suffers

---Nigel Lowry, Athens - Friday 13 March 2009
GREEK shipowners increased the tonnage under their control during the last 12 months, but the Greek flag appears to be suffering under the impact of the financial and freights crisis.
According to an annual survey conducted for the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee, Greeks now control 4,161 vessels of more than 1,000 gt, aggregating 263.6m dwt.
This represents a decrease of 12 vessels, but an increase of about 1% in tonnage, in the year to end-February.
Greeks are particularly dominant in the international bulk trades, both wet and dry.
Greeks also grew their fleets in the gas carrier and ore and bulk carrier sectors, but for the first time in many years the Greek controlled portion of world dry bulk capacity sank below 20% to 19.1%.
One of the findings likely to cause most concern in the GSCC-commissioned survey, which has provided a snapshot of Greek shipping for the last 22 years, is that the home registry has fared poorly in recent months.
This is despite the fact that little more than a year ago the Union of Greek shipowners voiced high hopes that 2008 would see an increasing wave of vessels returning to the flag in response to a government package that relaxed national manning quotas, with a presumed improvement in the cost structure.
Instead, the Greek flag fleet has begun to decline again, losing a net 76 ships of 4.3m dwt in the last 12 months.
A senior shipowning source agreed the trend looked worrying, but said that the UGS, which has recently elected a new board of directors, has not as yet met to discuss the matter.
Greek owners use some 49 different flags for their shipping operations, with the Greek flag currently representing a 27% share of tonnage.
On a more positive note, the average age of Greek owned vessels has decreased again and the fleet is now on average exactly one year younger than the world average.
The average Greek owned ship is now 11.9 years, a remarkable reduction from 20.3 years in 2000.
Source: http://lloydslist.com/ll/news/greeks-expand-fleet-but-home-flag-suffers/20017628135.htm


Thyssen 'considering' selling Hellenic back to the state
---Germany's largest steelmaker ThyssenKrupp is considering selling its Greek subsidiary Hellenic Shipyards back to the Greek government, according to reports circulating in Germany. Reasoning is that by returning the Skaramanga-based shipyard to the government an end would be brought to the dispute between ThyssenKrupp and Athens over unpaid bills.
Hellenic was privatised and sold to a consortium headed by Germany's HDW and Ferrostaal in 2002. HDW, now owned by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TMS), purchased the yard to secure submarine contracts from the Greek navy. The argument between Hellenic and the Greek government concerns construction of these submarines, with the Navy maintaining there are technical problems with the vessels.
However, any plan to sell the yard will likely strike complex legal complications. Further, Hellenic has been ordered by the European Commission to pay back state aid worth Euro 230m ($363m) with the EC contending it was granted illegally. The Commission ruled the cash gave the company an unfair commercial advantage over rivals.
In a brutal comment, the European Union said paying back the aid will help to restore the situation the yard would have been in if it had not been bolstered by state cash. At the time, the yard was in deep trouble with thousands of jobs at stake.
ThyssenKrupp, which operates yards in Germany, Sweden as well as Greece, notes the EC decision relates to state aid granted by the government to Hellenic "before and during privatisation in the period 1997 - 2002". Hellenic became part of the ThyssenKrupp Group in 2005. The yard's owner has also noted "Thyssen Krupp has rights of recourse should the national implementation of the decision result in financial losses".
Initially, the EU was claiming some Euro 1bn was paid illegally, but the Economy and Finance ministry after long arguments was able to convince regulators 75% of Hellenic's activity at the time involved naval work and this did not come under aid legislation.
Meanwhile, as a consequences of the global financial crises, TMS has been forced to stop construction of six 3,400teu buildings in its HDW-Gaarden in Kiel and Blohm + Voss Nordseewerke, Emden after the client informed it the banks are not going to finance the construction.
-- Filed: 2009-03-10
Source: www.newsfront.gr


COSCO Pacific granted operating rights at Greek port
---2009-03-15. According to State owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission COSCO Pacific, the Hong Kong-listed arm of China Ocean Shipping Company has received a nod from the Greek Congress to manage six container wharfs at Greece's main port of Piraeus, making it the first Chinese company to operate in a foreign port.
According to its concessions signed with the Piraeus Port Authority SA last November, COSCO Pacific won a 30 year operating right over four container wharfs of Pier 2 and a 35 year operating right over another two of Pier 3 at Piraeus
According to a previous report, it offered EUR 4.3 billion for the concession, and another EUR 620 million in investments.
Source: http://steelguru.com/news/index/2009/03/15/ODYxNDM%3D/COSCO_Pacific_granted_operating_rights_at_Greek_port.html


Greek tanker stable for sale
---The declining market is said to have prompted Metrostar to circulate its suezmax fleet for sale.
Greece's Metrostar Management is the latest prominent owner understood to be offering its suezmax fleet for sale in the face of a declining tanker market.
Brokers have been circulating Metrostar's series of newbuildings on order at South Korea's Hyundai Samho shipyard. So far, two of the 165,000-dwt units have been delivered with a further five to arrive this year and next, say several market sources. They were ordered for an estimated $80m apiece. TradeWinds reported last week that Canadian giant Teekay Corp is looking for buyers for its four suezmax newbuildings on order at China's Bohai Shipbuilding, while Teekay took the unusual step of denying a large-scale downsizing in either its suezmax or aframax fleets.
The Metrostar and Teekay efforts have one thing in common: a sizeable gap between the selling price being circulated and what buyers have been willing to bid, sources say.
It may be a sign that owners looking to reduce their exposure in a tanker market where valuations have to date held up reasonably well may have waited too long. "There's no reason for the buyers to move," said one tanker source. "They know we've just seen the start of the decline and the market is moving their way. I think both these cases are very real efforts by the owner to sell but they may not come to anything because the pricing gap remains too large." Attempts to reach Metrostar officials this week had not been successful by TradeWinds's press time.
Owner Theodore Angelopoulos has been a master asset player. One of his best-known deals saw Metrostar sell 19 suezmax and aframaxes to Peter Georgiopoulos's General Maritime Corp (Genmar) in 2003 for $525m.
By Joe Brady Stamford, Published: 00:00 GMT, 13 Mar 2009 | last updated: 14:06 GMT, 13 Mar 2009
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Greek owner cancels two bulk carriers at Odense shipyard
The future is uncertain for the shipyard as the Greek Carras Group has cancelled two of eight cape-size units on order at Odense.
Carras Group has taken the necessary precautions towards the market for cape-size bulkcarriers. The market has fallen from more than USD 100,000 per day to below USD 10,000 per day. Source: Shipgaz
Source: http://www.maritime-connector.com/NewsDetails/3238/lang/English/Greek-owner-cancels-two-bulk-carriers-at-Odense-shipyard.wshtml


Diana Shipping is the new darling of dry bulk
---Diana Shipping has risen above the pack amid widespread investor disenchantment with the dry bulk sector. And with its low leverage, Diana could be poised to pounce as asset prices bottom.
The NYSE-listed stock is faring well compared with its peers, with impressive year-end numbers fuelling enthusiasm. Diana logged $221.7M in profits last year, up from $134.2M in 2007. Gains were driven by a 50% jump in average timecharter equivalent and a 19% increase in operating days.
Although Diana did take a $1.5M hit from the Atlas bankruptcy, Palios confirmed that no other counterparties had been looking for concessions on their rates.
Michalopoulos added that available debt is more than ample to fund newbuilding commitments on a pair of Capesizes, which came to Diana in a 2006 resale at $60.4M per vessel.
Source: Fairplay International Shipping Weekly - Companies 12 Mar 2009


G. Bros Maritime installs new software
---(Mar 13 2009) Greek ship management firm G. Bros Maritime has implemented the Message Store and Voyage Calculator ship messaging software from Strategic Dataworks.
Source: http://thedigitalship.com/conferences/2006/displaynews.asp?NewsID=586


Ghanaian sailors on Greek ship earned US$11m in three years
---Last Updated- Mar 10, 2009 8:51. The Ghanaian crew working for a Greek shipping company earned about $11 million between 2005 and 2008, the company has said.
Mrs. Eleazar said these when the management of Tsakos Shipping and Trading Agency, a subsidiary of Greece-based Tsakos International Oil Shipping Group of Companies on Monday presented items worth $10,000 to residents of Tema Manhean.
She also said management had built a Greek Orthodox Church at Tema Manhean and is constructing a day care and health centre for the community.
According to the report, Captain Panagiotis Nikolas Tsakos, President of Tsakos Group of Companies had established an educational endowment fund with seed money of about GH?1,000 for brilliant but needy students in the community.
As part of its social responsibility, the company also presented items worth 1,000 Ghana cedis to the authorities of Winners Basic School at Tema Manhean.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
Source: http://ghanabusinessnews.com/2009/03/10/ghanaian-sailors-on-greek-ship-earned-us11m-in-three-years/


Ghana: Tsakos Shipping Donates to Tema New Town
--- Richard Attenkah, 13 March 2009
Tema New Town is the home to an ultra-modern Greek Orthodox Chapel, built by the company, which is headquartered in Greece.
The donation, which took place last Monday, formed part of the company's corporate social responsibility, which focuses primarily on Education, Health and Sports.
A representative of Tsakos Shipping and Trading, Capt. Alkiviadis Kappas, disclosed that the Hon. Consular General for Ghana, Capt. P. N. Tsakos, had promoted Ghana in many ways for the mutual benefit of Ghana-Greece relations.
According to him, the company was very delighted to make this donation, since Tema has been their community for the many years they have operated in Ghana.
He disclosed that for the past eight years, the number of Greek businessmen and tourists who visit Ghana, both for business and tourism purposes, keeps increasing.
Capt. Kappas stated that the Hon. Consular General donated an amount of US$50,000 to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, for the improvement of athletics in Greece during the 2004 Olympic Games, adding that he works with several Greek organisations to enhance Greek-Ghana relations, while servicing the interest of Ghanaians both in Ghana and Greece.
He disclosed that Tsakos Shipping had over the years been employing Ghanaian seamen on a number of vessels, and between 2005 and 2008, about US$11 million had been earned by the Ghanaian crew employed on the various vessels.
He added that Capt. Tsakos helped to build the Greek Orthodox Church, St. Nicholas, at Tema New Town, through various donations, adding that he was presently building a day care centre and healthcare centre for the people.
Capt. Kappas also hinted that the company employs a number of cadets from the Maritime Academy for practical training purposes each year, and this exercise has helped the cadets excel in their various areas, wherever they go.
Receiving the items on behalf the community, Nii Adjei Krakue II, Tema Mantse, stated that he would ensure that the milk and clothing were distributed to the neediest in the community.
According to the Chief, Tsakos Shipping and Trading continues to demonstrate good corporate citizenship, through a caring relationship with his people, adding, "Tsakos is currently collaborating with an international NGO to develop a school for the children of Tema New Town, and medical missions have also begun in the community." He stated that the donation was a further demonstration of how socially sensitive Tsakos was to the people of Tema New Town.
Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/200903130810.html


Danaos Corp (DAC) - Discloses Loan Covenant Violations, Suspends Dividend
---
>Danaos is working with its lenders to receive waivers on its covenant breaches. The two main covenants that appear in violation are its minimum net worth and loan-to-value clauses and the company has received waivers from some of its lenders and is still working through the process with others. In discussions with the company, Danaos expects approval from its other lenders in the near-term.
>Danaos has been able to delay delivery of several newbuilds in order to alleviate near-term pressure on financing. The company has 30 vessels on order for delivery through 2011 and has delayed the delivery of 5 vessels for up to eight months and is in the final stages of delaying five more vessels between two and seven months. With these shifts, Danaos expects its newbuild commitments at $549 million for the remainder of 2009, $823 million in 2010 and $807 million in 2011.
>The company has roughly $650 million in credit lines available for its $2.3 billion remaining commitments, assuming its lenders maintain their facilities. We estimate it can generate $700 million in cash flow during the next three years, meaning it needs roughly $1.0 billion in new financing to complete its orders. We look for further information on the earnings call today on the potential for some sort of capital infusion into the company. We maintain our Hold rating.
Source: Dahlman Rose & Company, LLC


OceanFreight Inc. Reports Financial Results for 4Q 2008 / appointed a new Vice President, Mr. Demetris Nenes
Financial Highlights
share. Excluding a non-cash loss of $17.3 million associated with the valuation of the
million or $0.32 per common share.
$1.94 per share. Excluding a non-cash loss of $16.1 million associated with the valuation of
amounted to $43.9 million or $3.06 per common share.
which once again underline our operational efficiency. Oceanfreight is now
well prepared to face the future. We have successfully amended our senior
debt facility with Nordea to avoid any loan covenant breaches, we have
secured our cash flow from a diversified client and sector base and we have
demonstrated that despite the challenging times we can successfully tap both
the commercial bank market to raise additional debt and the U.S. capital
Fourth Quarter 2008 Results
For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2008, Gross Revenues amounted to $38.9 million.
Operating Income was $11.1 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2008. Loss for the
fourth quarter of 2008 was $11.6 million. EBITDA1 for the fourth quarter of 2008 was $21.2
million.
An average of 12.7 vessels were owned and operated during the fourth quarter of 2008, earning
an average Time Charter Equivalent, or TCE rate, of $32,815 per day.
1 Please see later in this release for a reconciliation of EBITDA to net cash provided by Operating activities.
Year Ended December 31, 2008 Results
For the year ended December 31, 2008, Gross Revenue amounted to $157.4 million. Operating
Income was $60.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. Net Income for the year ended
December 31, 2008 was $27.7 million or $1.94 Earnings Per Share (EPS) calculated on
14,321,471 weighted average common shares outstanding. EBITDA for the year ended December
31, 2008 was $96.7 million.
An average of 11.4 vessels were owned and operated during the year ended December 31, 2008,
earning an average TCE rate of $34,705 per day.
Capitalization
On December 31, 2008, debt (debt, net of deferred financing fees) to total capitalization (debt and
stockholders' equity) was 57.4% and net debt (debt less cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash)
to total capitalization was 52.3%.
As of December 31, 2008, the Company had a total liquidity of approximately $29.6 million.
Financing Activities
As of today, the Company has raised approximately $6.2 million in gross proceeds under the
Standby Equity Purchase Agreement or SEPA with YA Global Advisors. The total current
number of shares outstanding is 21,694,493 million.
Other Developments
Mr. Michael Gregos has resigned from the position of Chief Operating Officer to pursue other
business interests. The Company has appointed a new Vice President, Mr. Demetris Nenes who
will be in charge of Business Development.
moved in the commercial side of the business being involved in FFA Trading and Sales and
Bugbee, ex President and COO of OMI. Mr. Nenes holds a diploma in Naval Architecture from
from the University of Connecticut.
Source: March 11, 2009, Athens, Greece. OceanFreight Inc. (NASDAQ: OCNF), a global provider of marine transportation services, today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and the year ended December 31, 2008.