Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 46 - 2009
> Six tanker newbuildings were blessed and named in a single ceremony at China New Times Shipbuilding for the Gregory Callimanopulos Group October 22. Costing some $400m when ordered in 2006 by the group's Greek management company Marine Management Services, the 114,000dwt United Fortitude, United Grace and United Honour and the 163,000dwt suezmaxes, United Dynamic, United Emblem and United Ideal, will all be delivered within the first quarter of 2010 and will all fly the Greek flag. MMS says the ships "will meet the highest standards of the tanker industry, fulfilling the strict demands of our times". New Times is in the same group as New Century Shipbuilding Corp, where the Callimanopulos group built three panamaxes, the United Ambassador, United Banner and United Carrier, which were delivered in 2007.
> The Victor Restis-led Restis Group is set to gain a 51% stake in Aspis Bank. The Restis Group, which already has 51% stake in First Business Bank (FBB), will acquire its holding in Aspis under the bank's plan to increase its share capital.
> The presidents of the three associations involved in passernger shipping and tourism, Marcos Foros, Apostolos Ventouris and Antonis Stelliatos have put the issues concerning the sectors to Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping minister, Louka Katseli, and came away from the meeting expressing hope their concerns will be addressed.
Foros, president of the Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies, said the operation and competitiveness of passenger ships was discussed after which Katseli suggested the establishment of a committee to examine all aspects.
Ventouris, president of the Association of Greek Coastal Shipping Companies, said the meeting was "held in a good atmosphere" and the minister was informed of the "many problems facing the ferry companies, which have already resulted in companies operating some 20 vessels going bust". He said the association will soon submit a study regarding "matters troubling the sector and need to be dealt with". Meanwhile, Ventouris noted the union supports suggestions that tariffs be charged by the nautical mile, and wants all companies to be subsidised.
Stelliatos, Hellenic Professional Yacht Owners Association president, said the main issue discussed was "the tax legislation, which has killed sea tourism". He expressed satisfaction that the minister has agreed to examine the legislation.
> Chief engineer Georgios Stamou on Polembros Shipping's 71,200dwt Theotokos, built 1984, who pleaded guilty in a US federal court in New Orleans in an oil dumping case has been sentenced to probation, escaping the jail time given to the ship's master. Stamou was sentenced to five years of probation, fined $15,000 and banned from US land, ports and waters. Prosecutors said Stamou ordered crew to discharge bilge waste by routing it through the bilge line or sewage discharge line. He then showed Coast Guard inspectors a false oil record book that did not mention the discharges. Polembros, also pleaded guilty and will pay a $2.7m fine and has had 20 ships banned from US ports and waters for three years. The bulker's master, Panagiotis Lekkas, was sentenced to 10 months confinement and given a $4,000 fine.
> The US Coast Guard (USCG) has backed moves to promote a closer cooperation between it and the members of the international maritime environment protection organisation, Intermepa. Within the framework of the World Maritime Day Parallel Events in New York, mid-October, meetings were held between Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (Helmepa)'s dg, Dimitris C. Mitsatsos and USCG officials in New York and Washington attended by the leadership and staff responsible for the areas of environmental protection, marine safety and security. The exchange of views that took place aimed at enhancing the cooperation between the organisations and extending it to other Mepas. Also in New York for the parallel events were representatives of Cymepa (Cyprus), Namepa (USA) and Turmepa (Turkey), USCG chief admiral Thad Allen, Imo secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos, high ranking officials of the US government, as well as representatives of shipping companies, classification societies and international maritime associations.
> At the invitation of the Greek Embassy in Albania and sponsored by Alpha Bank, a member of the staff of Helmepa presented the issue of the protection of the marine environment to students of the Greek Tirana Arsakion School students' community on November 5 and 6. A total of 400 elementary, high school and lyceum pupils and 12 teachers were informed in two lectures in the Greek language of the protection of the marine environment and the coast as well as of Helmepa's aims and activities, which focus on the relationship: "Man - Environment".
> Hellespont Hammonia has chosen Seagull AS' new Seagull Training System for its fleet of 19 crude, product - chemical carriers and platform supply vessels trading worldwide plus units in its new-ship building programme.
The Seagull Training System is a training concept, where theoretical knowledge is covered by CBT programmes, combined with structured and practical on-the-job training. The 'Knowledge Assessment of Seafarers (CES)', which has been chosen for three of Hellespont's offices, consisting of a large database of over 5,000 questions which can be used to assess the background knowledge of crew members.
# Cruise ship Louis Majesty, having completed her charter to Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), has been re-delivered to Louis Cruises and after undergoing routine maintenance and refurbishments where she shall be fitted with the Louis colours, will on December 4 commence operating itineraries from the ports of Genoa and Marseille to some of the most enticing destinations in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and North Africa. Louis Cruises acquired the 1992-built 1,790-passenger cruise liner from Star Cruises in July 2008 and in keeping with the Louis Cruises tradition, Louis Majesty sails with Greek officers and a well trained international crew.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, News Roundup Update : 13 November 2009
Greek Shipowners Discuss Piracy off the Coast of Somalia at U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
November 12, 2009
While in Washington, the delegation also held consultations on various maritime issues with the Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Maritime Commission, Military Sealift Command, Environmental Protection Agency, and with staff of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.
Adriatic Lines launches new service
--- Adriatic Lines, an Italian-Greek shipping line, has launched the first service between Italy and Greece that is exclusively for freight.
The departure and arrival timetables are designed around the needs of freight transporters.
The new route is operated by the twin vessels M/V Ropax 1 and Ropax 2, each having a loading capacity of 165 lorries and trailers, along with the ability of accommodate up to 200 drivers.
Adriatic Lines is a joint venture between Italian Trans Ferry and Greek Ocean Finance.
Painful fixture batters Aries
--- An owner reckons the cost of a PSV hire that went bad will be over $100m.
Aries Energy Corp principal Captain Gabriel Petridis says just one troubled fixture in Mexico for Aries Offshore of Norway resulted in expenses, legal costs and lost revenue of more than $100m.
That nightmare charter last year is the primary reason Aries Energy has been seeking a buyer or merger partner for Aries Offshore since around April of this year.
"Lost hire and everything we paid, including mobilisation, was probably over $100m" said the well-known Greek owner. "In fact, it is one of the main reasons we are seeking investors." Contrary to some market speculation that Aries Energy is retreating from offshore after getting its fingers burned, Petridis says he still believes in the sector and wants to remain in it. He adds that a merger, not just a sale, has always been one of many options.
Aries Energy is evaluating some offers now but is open to further enquiries, says Petridis. He notes that it is obviously a difficult time to pull off this type of deal.
Aries Offshore chief executive Per Ivar Fagervoll confirms that he has been tied up in meetings this week on some sort strategic link-up. He adds that he has been working with the matter "continuously" since April.
Fagervoll believes the underlying strength of Aries Offshore is intact, saying it still has good long-term potential for the right partner. He also stresses that recent failed charters in the Gulf of Mexico are by no means a problem unique to Aries Offshore.
Aries Energy, long associated with various companies in traditional shipping, made its first entry to the sector for offshore-support vessel (OSVs) by purchasing S Ugelstad Rederi and its five ships from Norwegian owner Peter Lorange in 2007.
Ugelstad, founded in 1929, then changed its name to Aries Offshore.
The purchase price for the whole company was around NOK 730m ($132m in 2007), which serves to put Petridis's $100m figure into perspective for the magnitude of costs and lost revenue on just one ship.
UK-based Swedish owner Mons Bolin, the other well-known face of Aries and Petridis's equal partner, told media in Norway at the time that Aries Energy had high hopes for expanding Aries Offshore into a significant player in the sector.
Along with triggering the need to seek new investors, the extensive trouble with the Mexican charter ( see story, below ) has obviously put a dampener on any expansion.
Although one vessel was sold to DOF and a chartered-out ship was redelivered from Eidesvik, the make-up of the previous Ugelstad fleet of five platform-supply vessels (PSVs) is largely unchanged.
The PSVs are all Norwegian-built ships of Wartsila (VS), Skipsteknisk (ST) or Rolls-Royce (UT) designs.
They are the 3,200-dwt VS-470 Aries Warrior (built 2008), 5,300-dwt ST-216 Aries Swan (built 2005), 3,184-dwt UT-755 Aries Scout (built 2005), 2,253-dwt UT-727 Aries Lord (built 1984) and 3,250-dwt UT-705 Aries Girl (built 1985).
Recent sums filed in June indicate some of the stresses on the holding company, as well as some of the operational strengths during the troubled charter in Mexico.
The parent, Aries Offshore Holdings, posted a loss in 2008 of NOK 40.6m ($7.25m) before tax and negative equity of NOK 45.2m. It listed NOK 81m in long-term debt and NOK 294m in short-term debt at an average rate of 7.47%.
But subsidiary Aries Offshore Services turned in a profit before tax of NOK 62.9m with a positive equity of NOK 113.7m.
By Darrin Griggs Oslo
Published: 00:00 GMT, 13 Nov 2009 | last updated: 08:56 GMT, 13 Nov 2009
--- Nigel Lowry - Wednesday 11 November 2009
TOP Ships, the Athens-based tanker and dry bulker owner, warned it was again in breach of loan covenants as it reported a marginal profit for the third quarter of 2009, writes Nigel Lowry .
He said Nasdaq-listed TOP was in discussions with all its banks to receive waivers for the new breaches and to extend existing waivers that were scheduled to expire in 2010, to 2011.
Earlier this year, TOP obtained waivers and amended loan agreements with its five banks covering $400m of debt.
But the company reported that as of September 30 it was in breach of additional covenants with all five lenders, which were not previously waived.
The breaches relate to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, minimum liquidity, adjusted net worth and the asset value cover of its product tankers with certain banks.
For the third quarter, TOP reported net income of $329,000 or $0.01 per share, compared with net income of $41.6m for the third quarter of 2008.
For the first nine months, the company reported a net loss of $14.2m.
Dahlman Rose & Co: Diana Shipping (DSX) - Vessel Acquisitions Appear On Near-Term Horizon; Reiterate Buy
>Management maintains a cautious outlook, likely leading to gradual fleet growth as opposed to a single large-scale acquisition.Although acknowledging the likelihood of improved dry bulk demand over the coming year, Diana remains cautious due to the size of the scheduled orderbook, noting that cancellations are much more likely within smaller vessel classes than in the Capesize and Panamax segments, where it operates.
>We reiterate our Buy rating on DSX shares.Given its very strong balance sheet and unique ability to grow its fleet, Diana deserves a consolidator premium not currently priced into the stock, in our view. We believe acquisitions are likely to generate significant returns and we look for its shares to strengthen once it begins to acquire assets again, which seems likely to start before the end of 2009. We reiterate our Buy rating and $22 target, targeting 9x 2010 EBITDA.
Source: Dahlman Rose & Co
The professional salvor
The best way to learn
In December 1967, three years after Alexander founded Tsavliris Salvage, a long-standing ambition of his, Nicolas accompanied his father on a trouble-shooting salvage operation in the Gibraltar Straits.
In the half century that Tsavliris Salvage has been active, the logistics behind salvage may have barely changed, but attitudes towards salvors have, laments Tsavliris.
NAME: Nicolas Tsavliris
BORN: 1946, England, now resident in Greece
FAMILY: Married to Myra Pissis; two daughters, Claire and Alexandra
EDUCATION: MA in law from the University of LondonPostgraduate diploma in shipping law from University College LondonDiploma in shipping from City of London College (London Metropolitan University)Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers
INTERESTS:Sports (including marathon running, athletics and swimming), spear-fishing, reading, chess, Ancient Greek history, art-collecting
Court rules strike at Greece's biggest port illegal
--- Athens - A Greek court ruled on Tuesday that a dockworkers strike which has left thousands of containers stranded on cargo ships at the country's largest commercial port, is illegal. Workers in Piraeus began their strike on November 2 in opposition to the takeover of two container terminals by China's COSCO Pacific.
The protesters fear the government's 35-year contract with the Chinese will lead to job losses and curb lucrative overtime.
But a Piraeus court ruled Tuesday that workers had received ample assurances that no jobs would be lost.
The ruling followed a lawsuit by trade unions after nearly 5,000 containers piled up in the harbour due to the strike.
Businesses said they will experience shortages during the busy Christmas season if the strike continues, saying they expected more than 60,000 containers to arrive at the port by mid-December.
The deal between the Greek government and the Chinese port operating company had been expected to go into effect on October 1, but another strike by dockworkers delayed the company from taking over until the start of November.
The three-week stoppage in October cost Greece an estimated 3 million euros (4.4 million dollars) a day, caused hundreds of containers to pile up, and left hospitals dangerously undersupplied as ships carrying basic medical supplies remained stranded at various ports around the Mediterranean.
Greece and China signed the 4.3-million-euro agreement for the new management of the port at the beginning of the year. The deal is for COSCO to run and upgrade the two piers for up to 35 years.
Piraeus is one of the most important ports in the eastern Mediterranean region. The Chinese company, the world's seventh largest port operator, plans to make Piraeus the hub of its Chinese exports operation for southeast Europe.
With 2.9 billion euros in bilateral trade per year, China is Greece's seventh largest trading partner.
Euroseas, Safe Bulkers, Seanergy Maritime, Teekay Corporation and Tsakos Energy Navigation
--- 11th Annual Capital Link Forum on Investing in Greece on Thursday, December 3, 2009, New York City, top government officials and the CEOs of major Greek corporations will present to American investors the progress, developments and potential of the Greek economy, capital markets and companies, as well as business and investment opportunities in Greece and the wider area of Southeastern Europe.
The event is organized every year by Capital Link under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping of Greece in cooperation with the New York Stock Exchange and with the support of major global investment banks.
The Minister of Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping of Greece, Mrs. Louka Katseli will deliver the keynote address at lunch with introductory remarks from Mr. Bruce Thompson, Head of Global Capital Markets Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Panelists - Senior Executives from:
-- Euroseas (NASDAQ: ESEA), Mr. Tasos Aslidis, CFO
-- Safe Bulkers (NYSE: SB), Dr. Loukas Barmparis, President
-- Seanergy Maritime (NASDAQ: SHIP), Mr. Dale Ploughman, CEO
-- Teekay Corporation (NYSE: TK), Mr. Peter Evensen, Executive V.P. & Chief Strategy Officer
-- Tsakos Energy Navigation (NYSE: TNP), Mr. Nikolas Tsakos
Will participate in two Panels on the "The Global Shipping Markets Today" discussing the developments and trends in the dry bulk and tanker segments of the global shipping markets.
There will be two panel discussions. The drybulk panel will be moderated by Mr. Pimm Fox, Anchor Bloomberg TV, with executives from Euroseas, Safe Bulkers and Seanergy Maritime.
The tanker panel will be moderated by Mrs. Nicole Petallides, Anchor, NYSE Correspondent, Fox Business News, with executives from Teekay Corporation and Tsakos Energy Navigation.
Nicolas Tsakos, President of Tsakos Energy Navigation will also make a presentation on "Shipping - A Vital Link in the Global Economy and Trade."
Mr. Greg Voetsch, Executive Vice President, Head of Institutional Sales of Knight Capital Group and Mr. Harry Wong, Managing Director, Head of Transportation Banking of Knight Capital Markets will make Introductory Remarks.
The above presentation and panel discussions will take place within the context of the "11th Annual Capital Link Forum on Investing in Greece" which takes place that day from 8:30 a.m.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the lead Sponsor of the Forum, with Knight Capital Group and Tsakos Energy Navigation as the Lead Sponsors. PricewaterhouseCoopers is the Silver Sponsor. The event is also sponsored by Credit Suisse, Sal Oppenheim, Fortis Bank Nederland, Maxim Group, Alapis, Attica Bank, Coca Cola Hellenic, Hellenic Aerospace Industry, Hellenic Foreign Trade Board, Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Intralot, Lykourezos Law Offices and The Marshall Islands Registry.
International Media Partners include Barron's, Bloomberg, Institutional Investor, Reuters Hedgeworld and Tradewinds.
Greek Shipping a Global Force:
Greece, a country of about 11 million people, controls by far the biggest share -- nearly 20% -- of the world's merchant fleet by tonnage and has a long tradition as a maritime nation. Greek shipowners who compete on a global scale have a track record as astute operators and asset traders. Even though shipping is not related to the development of the Greek economy itself, it is a significant contributor to it mainly through the foreign currency inflows it generates.
Greek shipping has now successfully become a key participant in the U.S. capital markets. Since 2005, the majority of U.S. listings in shipping have been by Greek owned or managed shipping companies.
Other companies presenting at the Forum:
The Forum also includes presentations by Greece's top government officials for economic policy, privatization and investments, as well as corporate leaders, including those of ALAPIS, Attica Bank, Coca Cola Hellenic (NYSE: CCH), Hellenic Telecommunications (NYSE: OTE), Hellenic Petroleum, Intralot, Lykourezos Law Offices and others.
There is also a panel on real estate opportunities moderated by Mr. Eric Trump, Executive Vice President, Development & Acquisitions, The Trump Organization.
To participate in the Forum, please contact Capital Link at (212) 661-7566, go to www.capitallink.com, or email [email protected]
To register, please click on the link below:
Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards 2009 - 4 December 2009
--- The 6th Annual Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards & Gala Dinner will take place on Friday December 4, 2009 at the Athenaeum InterContinental, Athens.
Hundreds of key personalities are expected to attend this year's annual presentation dinner that pays tribute to the world's largest shipowning community, their service partners and some of the industry's outstanding achievements during the preceding year.
Based on the selections of a distinguished panel of industry judges, the Greek Shipping Awards offer the chance to highlight some of the year's top performers and finest moments.
Book your table early for the Gala Awards Dinner to ensure you don't miss Greek shipping's 'Dinner of the Year'! We look forward to seeing you for the excitement of the Award presentations on December 4th.
The 2009 judging panel, in alphabetical order:
Dinos Caroussis - Vice-chairman of the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee, chairman of the UK P&I Club
George Gratsos - President of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping
Captain John Halas - General Secretary of the Panhellenic Seamens Federation
Nigel Lowry - Athens correspondent of Lloyds List
John Pachoulis - President of the Hellenic Shipbrokers Association
Prof Apostolos Papanikolaou - Director of the Ship Design Laboratory, National Technical University of Athens
Nicky Pappadakis - Chairman of Intercargo
Charlotte Stratos - Senior adviser, Morgan Stanley, Investment Banking Division
Gregory Timagenis - Chairman of NAT, the Seamens Pension Fund
Alex Tourkolias - President of the Association of Banking & Shipping Finance Executives of Hellenic Shipping
GALA DINNER BOOKINGS
Tables of 10 places
For priority dinner reservations:Please complete the table booking form and fax to Fax +188.8.131.52.196