Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 01 - 2009

 

New tanker concern formed by Omega and Glencore

As a result, companies owned by Omega and the Glencore group have novated their respective original shipbuilding contracts entered into with Hyundai Mipo, consisting of 10 newbuilding 37,000 dwt product/chemical carriers (five per partner), to companies wholly owned by Megacore.
This order has now been converted to two 37,000 dwt product/chemical tankers and seven 75,000 dwt product/oil tankers, while one MR1 vessel was postponed and remains as an option for Megacore to exercise in the future.
The original delivery schedule of eight vessels in 2010 and two vessels in the beginning of 2011 has been amended to three vessels in 2010, four in 2011 and two in 2012.
The overall aggregate purchase cost based on contract price has remained similar to the original contracts, while the amount of equity that would need to be invested based on vessels assessed fair market values has been reduced, Omega said.
The first vessel will be delivered during 1Q10 and has secured a three-year timecharter with NYK.
Omega President and CEO George Kassiotis commented, "We are very pleased to have entered this joint venture with a very strong partner and thus reinforce the already strong relationship with the Glencore group. Megacore will allow Omega to enjoy significant operating and commercial synergies with one of the largest commodities trading companies in the world. The joint venture will have access to Glencore's global trading network and system cargoes and ST Shipping's commercial chartering experience and will enable us to deploy collectively with our partner a fleet of vessels with significant scale and geographic coverage.
Source: http://www.tankeroperator.com/news/todisplaynews.asp?NewsID=1699


Greece dominates ordering activity at end of 2009
---The end of the year saw Greek owners seal a number of newbuilding orders, particularly for bulk carriers
Newbuilding ordering activity continued its rally in the final two weeks of 2009, with a plethora of major contracts being confirmed, almost entirely involving Greek owners. Bulk carrier orders in particular have been prevalent, with dry cargo operators taking advantage of relatively cheap newbuilding prices.
Sungdong is understood to have two further Capesize orders in the pipeline, one from a South Korean owner (for two vessels) and another from a Hong Kong-based owner for a single ship, with an option for a second vessel as part of the deal.
Meanwhile, Jiangsu Rongsheng HI in China won a new order for a series of Panamax bulk carriers from a domestic shipowner. The order is made up of eight 76,000dwt vessels which have been contracted by Minsheng Financial Leasing Co at a price of $34M/ship. Following their delivery during 2011 and 2012 they are destined to be long-term bareboat chartered to Fujian Guohang Ocean Shipping.
According to the LR-Fairplay database, Fujian Guohang Shipping currently owns seven Panamax bulkers, six Handymaxes and two Handysize bulkers. Jiangsu Rongsheng has existing orders in place for six Panamax bulkers for Greek owners Golden Union and Thenamaris, which are due for delivery during 2010.
Finally, Greek shipowner Almi Tankers signed up for 10 Suezmax tankers at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) in a $650M en bloc deal. The 159,700dwt vessels are due for delivery from 4Q11 through to 4Q13.
While this pick-up in ordering activity will be welcomed by the shipyards involved, it must be borne in mind that most new contracts at the moment are taking the place of cancelled or failed orders and have been signed at far lower prices than the vessels for which they will substitute.
Source: www.fairplay.co.uk, Fairplay - Markets 07 Jan 2010


Tomorrow's tankers at today's prices
Nigel Lowry - Friday 8 January 2010
EYEBROWS were raised on the eve of Christmas when, in the biggest tanker order of 2009, it emerged that Almi Tankers of Greece had contracted 10 suezmaxes at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.
It is understandable that some pundits might frown on the idea of any additions to an already bulging orderbook but it is hardly surprising that financially strong owners might want to do business with yards at a time of relatively cheap prices.
Meanwhile, puzzlement that Almi might have agreed an above-market price for the newbuildings is increasingly looking like a simple case of brokers overstating the numbers involved.
Almi is a relatively new name on the tanker scene and was launched by the Fostiropoulos family last year when it acquired two long-range product tankers, the 2005-built Almi Star and the 2007-built Almi Spirit .
Almi first came to real attention when, on the basis of its first two tankers, it co-founded with Teekay the Taurus Tankers pool for modern LR2 vessels.
But behind that lies a shipping business a good three decades old. It began when first-generation shipowner Costas Fostiropoulos set up his first management company, Constellation Maritime, in New York.
This first US-based shipping venture was followed by Filia Maritime and, in 1988, by Fairsky Shipping & Trading in Athens, the company by which the group is best known today.
Fairsky went into the boom with 13 handymax bulkers and resisted the temptation to sell any of them, entering 2009 with exactly the same fleet. It also showed discipline in not succumbing to purchases at the record high prices prevailing until the latter stages of 2008.
Additionally, Almi has now paid a 40% cash deposit for the series of 10 suezmax newbuildings, it has been confirmed.
The company says it will not be drawn into a discussion of the price of the vessels, citing confidentiality clauses in the agreement with the yard. Nonetheless, despite reports of the ships costing anything up to $65m per unit, the real price seems certain to be closer to $60m.
There are plenty of options for the cash-rich owner to obtain suezmax resales within this year and to contract with yards that are eager to fill up holes in their orderbook for 2011.
Based on this, the later the ships could be delivered the more attractive the deal. This was the key to negotiating a fresh shipbuilding contract with a major yard, rather than opting for distressed resales or modern secondhand deals, either of which would have meant taking on tonnage earlier.
The group had looked into various sectors for investing but had ended up focusing on large tankers with a certain amount of confidence in suezmaxes as the future top-end workhorse of the industry.
In diversifying into tankers, Almi is not going somewhere the group has never before trodden. In the single-hull era, it managed several tankers and combination carriers but these were sold in the late 1980s.
Suezmaxes seemed to offer the best combination of a more reasonable ratio between the orderbook and existing fleet, as well as future trading prospects, Mr Fostiropoulos says.
He admits that the group is taking a risk, particularly in the sense that it has embarked on such a major project before tying up bank finance for the balance of the contract.
He expects other private owners who have kept their powder dry in the course of the last boom to emerge in the course of this year to re-invest, and probably by drawing on their own war chests as banks have still not returned to lending.
Source: www.lloydslist.com


Laimos Launches Joint Venture With American Big Investor
---Friday, 8 January 2010 - 12:12. Spyros Laimos is set to form a joint venture with 1.3 bil. dolars in assets in collaboration with a big name of the US elite.
The assets in the new fund ared equally split between an investment company headed by Laimos and by company of a major American investor whose nationality has not yet been revealed.
The fund intends to invest besides shipping in areas such as real estate, entertainment and tourism.
Source: http://english.capital.gr/news.asp?id=884457


Genmar moves tankers to Anglo-Eastern
---New York-based General Maritime Corp (Genmar) has placed two recently redelivered tankers under technical management with Anglo-Eastern Ship Management rather than its internal management unit in Portugal.
Genmar president John Tavlarios says the company is happy with the performance of its Genmar Portugal staff and that the move comes for other reasons.
He notes that the 47,000-dwt products tanker Stena Concord and 72,500-dwt panamax tanker Stena Companion (both built 2004) had recently come off charters with the Stena group, where they had been under the care of its Northern Marine.
"They were already under third-party management with Northern, so it's not as though we're taking anything out of our management," Tavlarios said.
"There were a couple of considerations. For one, we've always liked the idea of having a market benchmark to help evaluate what we're doing in-house. For another, we already have 23 ships under management by Genmar Portugal and we feel pretty comfortable that that number is just about right [for available resources]." Genmar inherited both vessels in its 2008 acquisition of New York-listed Arlington Tankers, a Stena spin-off. The company acquired eight Arlington tankers under Stena charters in an all-shares transaction.
Genmar once operated a management division in Greece as well but elected to close the office in 2006 after a disposal programme in which it sold 26 ships over the course of 12 months.
Peter Georgiopoulos's companies already have a good relationship with Anglo-Eastern, which handles management for the owner's publicly listed dry-bulk entry, Genco Shipping & Trading.
By Joe Brady Stamford
Published: 00:00 GMT, 08 Jan 2010 | last updated: 15:54 GMT, 07 Jan 2010
Source: www.tradewinds.no


UAE's Abu Dhabi Mar selected as preferred bidder for Hellenic
---Germany's ThyssenKrupp has selected Middle East shipbuilder Abu Dhabi MAR, the UAE company, as the preferred bidder for the 75% stake it has put on the market in its Greek unit Hellenic Shipyards.
ThyssenKrupp Marine System (TMS) decided to sell the Skaramanga-based yard mid-2009, after a dispute with the Greek government over a lifeline submarine building order left the dockyards strapped of cash. The German group confirmed comments by Greece's alternate Defense minister, Markos Beglitis, early December that five offers had been received for Hellenic, but said only Abu Dhabi MAR's was acceptable.
Greece's Neorion Shipyards and Hellenic's former board chairman and md, Sotiris Emmanouil, were also understood to have been in the running for Hellenic which employs some 1,200 staff plus sub-contractors.
ThyssenKrupp has sold two shipyards in recent months, with Abu Dhabi Mar already agreeing to buy Blohm + Voss and SIAG Schaaf taking over Nordeewerke. Abu Dhabi Mar could also take a stake in ThyssenKrupp's HDW yard in Kiel, also one-time owner of Hellenic.
TMS opted to quit Greece after Hellenic ran up costs of Euro 520m to build four U214 type submarines for the Greek navy. The Greek Defence ministry rejected delivery of the vessels due to alleged technical defects. TMS scrapped its submarine contract, which also involved upgrading three existing Class 209-type vessels, after payments were missed.
Meanwhile, Defense minister, Evangelos Venizelos continues to work with TMS in a bid to resolve the dispute over the undelivered submarines. At the initiative of the yard, early December Hellenic's president and md, Akio Ito and its finance officer, Peter Bracker, met with Venizelos in an effort "to find a solution for the yard which has financial and entrepreneurial substance".
Greece refused to take delivery of the U214-type subs ordered between 2001 and 2005, the first built in Kiel Germany and the three subsequent subs built in Hellenic, citing technical problems with the diesel-electric submarines. The first unit, the Papanikolis, has been docked in Kiel since 2006 and is said to now have a new buyer.
-- Filed: 2010-01-02
Source: www.newsfront.gr


Higher pay for Filipino seamen in Greek ship
Under a court order issued on December 21, 2009, the award to be given to the crew was calculated using Greek wage standard which is about four times more than what the seafarers would have received on wages stipulated in their contracts, Philippine embassy in Athens said in its report to the DFA.
The Filipino crew of MV Aetea Sierra sought the assistance of the embassy after negotiations with the Greek vessel owner for their unpaid salaries and damages failed.
The seafarers also filed a case against the vessel owner. A Filipino ship engineer is represented by a Greek lawyer offered by the embassy while lawyers of the International Transport Federation (ITF) are assisting the rest of the Filipino crew.
Source: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/news/breakingnews/view/20100104-245457/Higher-pay-for-Filipino-seamen-in-Greek-ship First Posted 14:07:00 01/04/2010 Filed Under: Overseas Employment, Labor


Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. Announces Agreement to Acquire Verbeke Bunkering N.V.
---Increases Global Scale by Establishing Strategic Presence in World's Second Largest Bunkering Market;Further Expands High-Quality Bunkering Fleet and Positions Company to Significantly Increase Sales Volumes
PIRAEUS, Greece, Jan 04, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (NYSE: ANW) today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Verbeke Bunkering N.V., a leading physical supplier of marine fuel in the Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam (ARA) region, the world's second largest bunkering market. The acquisition, which is subject to the completion of detailed documentation, is scheduled to close by the end of the first quarter of 2010.
Verbeke Bunkering is majority owned by the fourth generation of the Verbeke family, which has an operating history of more than 100 years initially in shipping and subsequently in bunkering. As a physical supplier, Verbeke Bunkering covers the entire ARA region, including key ports surrounding Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam such as Ghent, Zeebruges, Flushing, Terneuzen, and Sluiskil. The company provides bunkering services in port to a diverse group of ship operators as well as marine fuel traders, brokers and other users. Verbeke focuses on purchasing quality marine fuels from refineries and major oil producers and providing same-day sales and delivery services to customers. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2009, the volume of marine fuel sold by Verbeke is expected to total approximately 3,500,000 metric tons.
Verbeke Bunkering operates a total of 18 bunkering vessels, of which nine are owned and nine are chartered-in. Two of the nine owned vessels are joint ventures in which Verbeke holds a minority stake. In connection with the acquisition, Aegean has agreed to purchase the nine owned bunkering vessels and assume the contracts for the nine vessels chartered-in by Verbeke. Additionally, Aegean will assume the contract for a bunkering tanker newbuilding, of which Verbeke holds a 50% stake, scheduled to be delivered in 2010.
E. Nikolas Tavlarios, President of Aegean, commented, "The accretive acquisition of Verbeke represents our largest acquisition to date, positioning Aegean well to significantly increase future sales volumes and strengthen the Company's global brand recognition. Based on its extensive operating history and strong reputation for high-quality service, Verbeke has built a leading market position in the ARA region. We intend to capitalize on the favorable growth prospects in the world's second largest bunkering market and meet the demand for our comprehensive marine fuel services. In addition to establishing a strategic presence in this important region with considerable ship traffic, we expect to realize meaningful operating synergies with our Belgium-based subsidiary, Bunkers at Sea, which Aegean acquired in 2007."
Mr. Tavlarios added, "Including our latest acquisition, Aegean has more than tripled its global reach since the Company's IPO in December 2006. Consistent with management's opportunistic approach to consolidating the marine fuel supply industry in a disciplined manner, we expect to further expand Aegean's global market share and increase the Company's earnings power."
Upon closing of the acquisition, Verbeke will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Aegean and maintain its headquarters located near Antwerp. Verbeke will continue to be led by its Chief Executive Officer, Tony Vertommen.
Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Vertommen said, "We are excited to merge with Aegean Marine Petroleum Network. The Company has established itself as a leading independent physical supplier of marine fuel from procurement to delivery. By joining Aegean's premier global network, we expect to expand our opportunities for long-term growth and strengthen our leading position in our core markets."
Spyros Gianniotis, Chief Financial Officer of Aegean, stated, "We are pleased to continue to successfully execute Aegean's growth strategy while adhering to our strict return requirements. This acquisition further expands our global marine fuel platform, enhancing our ability to meet the needs of our blue-chip customers that operate on a worldwide basis. We plan to draw upon our revolving credit facilities and seek alternative financing to support our growth initiatives. In maintaining our commitment to enter new markets, we remain focused on expanding Aegean's industry leadership and creating long-term value for shareholders."
Source: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=195297&p=irol-news


P&I Conference to be held at the Piraeus Marine Club - 28 January 2010
---The Piraeus Marine Club has great pleasure in announcing to its members that the 10th International P&I Conference will take place at its premises on the 28th January 2010.
This year, in order to provide some variety to the traditional format of the Marine Club Seminar, the organizers thought it would be a good idea to have three formal debates in place of the usual series of individual presentations.
The subjects which have been suggested are as follows:
> This house believes that pressure on clubs to build ever-larger free reserves does not reflect the best mutual interests of their shipowner members.
> Each debate will have speakers proposing and opposing the motion, followed by questions and comments from the floor.
> Mr. Lou Kollakis, of Chartworld Shipping Corp, will be acting as the moderator for the event.
This year participating in the debate will be not only representatives from the P&I Clubs, but we have also invited War Risks and Kidnap and Ransom Underwriters in respect of debate No. 3 relating to Piracy.
A detailed program will follow shortly.
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.
Source: Ketty Vienna <[email protected]>