Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 11 - 2003

 

Owners should try to "future proof" their bulk carriers

Future and existing IMO and IACS mandatory requirements for bulk carriers were analyzed at a forum held by Det Norske Veritas for the Greek shipping community in Athens on March 13.
The presentations emphasized that owners considering purchasing second hand vessels or ordering newbuildings "may have a costly surprise in stock" unless they try to "future proof" second hand vessels and new buildings, regardless of the outcome of the current, week-long meeting in London for additional safety measures for bulk carriers.
"Technical people should be consulted, even more so now that politicians are getting increasingly involved in shipping said Ioannis Kourmatzis, regional manager for southern Europe, DNV.
Source: DNV Bulk Carrier Forum, Athens, 13 Mar. 03


Shipowners want government to help to meet higher costs
---Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis told ferry operators yesterday that their request for hikes in the lowest fares, in line with cost increases, was untimely when inflation is showing dangerous signs of being rekindled. But he promised the government will examine shipowners' cost data and did not rule out reducing VAT on charges for ferrying private cars from 18 percent to 8 percent. Sources said Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeritis wants the Economy Ministry to subsidize on-the-job training for officers and to look into again assuming the major part of employers' social security contributions for low-rank seamen, as part of a second part of measures that oceangoing shipowners expect will sharpen Greek competitiveness in the industry. Christodoulakis and Anomeritis are due to meet today.
Source: Kathimerini Daily, 12 Mar. 03


Greeks invest $1.2bn in newbuilding projects in eight weeks
---In the first two months of 2003 Greek interests have committed over $1.3bn to newbuilding projects. In a dramatic move back to the shipyards Greek owners have placed 31 new ship contracts involving 18 tankers and 13 bulkers.
Some of the most prominent operators have penned the orders while at least half a dozen more are closing in on contracts as price levels begin moving up and newbuilding berths fill up, pushing delivery dates into 2006.
Of course heavy ordering is not a new phenomenon as Greek owners have been actively renewing their fleets for the past four years, but the latest spree comes after a period when deliveries of newbuildings to Greek interests began outstripping the contracting of new orders. Further, the ordering this time round primarily involves big ships both wet and dry, whereas previously ships of all types were being ordered, including many container ships and some 50 passenger ships.
Nine VLCCs and six aframax tankers have been confirmed so far this year, all but two VLs which went to China, were won by South Korean builders. Three panamax tankers were also ordered in the first eight weeks of 2003. Of the bulkers, seven were capers worth a total $250m again being shared by China and Korea. The bulk of the ships now ordered will deliver in 2005.
Underling the ongoing building activity, newbuilding broker George Banos of George Moundreas & Co, says that in the past five years Greek interests have ordered 252 tankers of some 31m dwt, 61 of them of 6.5m dwt in 2002. Though less active in the bulker sector, Banos still reports that 175 ships of 14.6m dwt have been contracted since 1998, 40 of them of 4.9m dwt last year.
Banos, believes however, that Greek owners will slow the pace of ordering, because of an "unwillingness to order three years ahead of delivery". "At this moment it looks as if the larger yards able to build VLCCs, suezmaxes, aframaxes or container ships are now talking about 2006. The position will become clearer this month and next when decisions on options will have been made. We see many of the options being taken and indeed in a number of cases the options have been upgraded to a larger size ship or to higher specs like double hull."
James Mayson of Almay Shipping & Finance points out that "owners now booking ships are from the top bracket whereas in the past couple of years many new to newbuildings were ordering".
Dinos Peros, DLP Maritime, said owners appear to have little trouble getting bank backing for newbuilding projects. He said: "Newbuilding prices were low and while they are now rising they are still attractive for owners who can line up employment when ships are delivered in 2006. Further, with prices for modern secondhand vessels now not much short of that of a newbuilding owners are going for the new ship."
Source: www.diorama.gr, 12 Mar. 03


Delphic boxship quartet seized
---Ships belonging to Greek boxship operator Delphic Shipping are under arrest in ports around the globe. Four of the fleet have been held.
The Singapore sheriff's office confirms to Tradewinds that the 1,254-teu Aviero (built 1983) has been under arrest since 4 March.
The 1,254-teu Delphic Spirit (built 1985) is said to have arrived in Hong Kong on 25 February and to be under arrest there.
Piraeus legal sources confirm that the 712-teu City of Liverpool (built 1979) is under arrest at the port by six parties, understood to be mainly suppliers.
The 712-teu MSC Sumatra (built 1979) is also confirmed to be under arrest in Fremantle, Australia.
Australian federal court officials confirm that the MSC Sumatra was arrested in Fremantle on 7 March because of a default on a bank loan payment. No court hearing has been scheduled yet.
The 1,254-teu Leixoes (built 1984) was last reported to be at Jebel Ali on 24 February, bound for Kuwait.
Last autumn Delphic sold two vessels for scrap and three for further trading, leaving it with five ships under its control.
The arrest of the Aviero in Singapore was instigated by Norwegian ship supplier Unitor. Kenny Yap of Singapore law firm Allen & Gledhill says following the ship's arrest, several other parties lodged claims against it but no banks have yet become involved.
Yap declines to reveal the amount of the claim against the owners of the Aviero but says only that it is less than SGD 1m ($0.57m). Proceedings have been launched against the owners of the ship in the Singapore supreme court but the the owners have yet to appoint legal counsel.
Delphic joint managing director Thomas Latsoudis declines to comment on the arrests. "I'm not interested in publicity. Go and talk to an actor or a politician," he said. However, boxship sources say the vessels have a reputation for being heavy on fuel consumption and may be losing popularity with charterers. Delphic has long been linked with Greek shipping investor Theophilos Priovolos, who recently emerged as a significant investor in the consortium that took over US-based CSX Lines.
Priovolos was out of Greece this week and unavailable for comment. Sources say he holds an approximate 30% stake in Delphic but that he has been working to wind down the company over the last six months following a disagreement with Latsoudis.
Priovolos is investing in the CSX Lines takeover through an associate company, Craddock. The renamed Horizon Lines is said to be hoping to benefit from Priovolos's long shipping experience and connections with shipyards and container operators.
Priovolos is referred to as the founder and leader of the Niki Group, which sources say is 100% owned by his family.
In company presentations by Horizon's new owners, Niki is described as a management and leasing company with a fleet of 15 containerships with a total capacity of more than 44,000 teu.
Market sources suggest that in a number of cases Priovolos has acted purely in an investment role. The Niki Group is said to have built and bareboated vessels to leading operators such as P&O Nedlloyd and Evergreen.
Two years ago Niki placed an order for five 2,500-teu ships at Singapore's Jurong Shipyard. Delphic was said not to have been involved.
Deliveries were originally slated to start in January but recent listings have pushed the delivery of the first vessel back to October.
A source close to the company tells TradeWinds that one ship will be delivered this year and one in 2004 but suggests there may be no further deliveries.
Source: www.tradewinds, Gillian Whittaker, Liz Shuker, Will Kennedy and Jonathan Boonzaier Athens, Stamford and Singapore, 14 Mar. 03


Huge new ship can't fill up
---After spending the last 1 1/2 weeks in Portland taking on a cargo of Northwest wheat, the shiny new Cyprus-flagged Efrossini [ www.safety.gr/fleet/efrossini.htm ] departed this week for Egypt with less than a full load for her maiden voyage.
That's because the Columbia River channel isn't deep enough to accommodate a ship its size when it's filled to capacity.
The Efrossini is a Panamax vessel, which means it's so big it clears the Panama Canal's locks with only micrometers to spare. Its 106-foot girth is the maximum the canal can accommodate.
The ship will inch its way east through the canal on its monthlong voyage to Egypt.
Sitting at the CLD Pacific Grain O Dock just upriver from the Steel Bridge, the big ship's hull reached nearly to the Broadway Bridge.
If the channel were 3 feet deeper, the ship would be carrying another 5,400 metric tons of grain, said Wayne Signer, regional manager for Kerr Norton Strachan Agency, the Mobile, Ala.-based steamship agency that manages the ship's cargo transactions.
"It's more than a political story, really," Signer said of the Port of Portland's campaign for dredging that would deepen the river channel from 40 feet to 43 feet.
"This port is in decline primarily due to competitive cost structures," he said. "The extra 3 feet would be a big incentive and advantage for us - at least offsetting some of the disadvantage.
It's more than just politics: It's real dollars, real jobs."
According to Signer, ocean shipping accounts for 20 percent of Oregon's gross domestic product, which translates to 40,000 family-wage jobs. "It's a big story," he said. "We never get our due. But low profile is always the traditional way of ocean shipping."
The soft white wheat grown on ranches in Oregon, Washington and Idaho is the wheat that Egyptian buyers prefer, Signer said. But overall, he said, " it's cheaper to buy from the Mississippi River," in which case the wheat is soft red wheat.
As a small crowd of visitors from the shipping trade went aboard the Efrossini last week for a brief ceremony to mark its first voyage, the wheat pouring into one of the cargo holds sent a toasty smell drifting across the big ship's decks.
Barges brought most of the wheat downriver on the Columbia-Snake system to Portland. Some of it arrived by train. It would have taken 20 barges - or six 100-car unit trains - to carry it all.
On the wing deck of the Efrossini's bridge, representatives of the Port of Portland and the Merchants Exchange presented Capt. Sotirios Bois and chief engineer George Konstantinidis with plaques commemorating the ship's maiden voyage. They will be put on permanent display on the ship, Bois promised.
Bois and Konstantinidis live in Greece. Bois, the son of a seaman, has been a sailor since 1964, a ship's captain since he was 29. He lives in Piraeus. The remainder of the ship's 21-member crew is Filipino, and Bois said they have sailed with him on several voyages.
This is the fifth brand-new ship he's captained, Bois said. Efrossini's launch in Japan featured colored streamers and the release of doves.
The gleaming 738-foot bulk carrier, owned by Efragil Shipping Co. of Limassol, Cyprus, arrived in Portland on March 2 to load a cargo of 58,500 metric tons of Northwest-grown soft white wheat at the CLD Pacific grain dock, a joint facility of grain exporters Cargill Inc. and Louis Dreyfus.
The Efrossini combines 21st century technology with ancient traditions. Built by Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in Japan, it cost an estimated $25 million to $28 million. It's the sixth of a fleet of 12 new ships being built for Efragil by Tsuneishi, her captain said.
The ship's bridge is studded with high-tech equipment, including a voice data recorder of the kind found on airplanes. A helicopter landing pad sits on one of the gigantic forward hatch covers.
But a gold and silver icon of St. Nicholas occupies a prominent place on the bridge. Bois said a Greek Orthodox priest from Korea blessed the new vessel.
"Protector of the seamen," said the captain, who has another St. Nicholas icon on the wall of his office.
Religious holidays are celebrated aboard the ship. For Easter, Bois said, they will barbecue a lamb to observe the Greek Orthodox tradition.
Source: www.portlandtribune.com, by Jeanie Senior, 14 Mar. 03


Shipowners fear effect of measures after Prestige
---Greek shipowners who met in London on Monday said measures promoted by the European Commission after the Prestige environmental disaster off the coast of Spain last November will not augment environmental protection or safety in navigation, as they are not based on proper studies, but aim to serve transient political expediencies and "will have most serious consequences on shipping and the Greek economy." Further, they welcomed the Greek EU presidency's compromise proposal on the timetable for the withdrawal of mono-hull tankers, which will soon be discussed at the Transport Ministers Council, and urged the Greek government to speed up a second package of measures to make Greek-registered ships more competitive. Coastal shipowners today are to discuss with Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis the issues of rising fuel prices and what they consider as underpriced economy-class fares. They said in the last few months their wage bill has risen 4.5 percent, insurance premiums 46.3 percent, maintenance costs 24.7 percent and other expenses, 13 percent. Separately, the European Union and China have reached agreement on further liberalizing sea transport between their ports, unlimited access to and non-discriminatory
Source: www.kathemerini, 12 Mar. 03


Prestige has tanker sector thriving
---Fallout on the shipping industry from the sinking of the Prestige has had a 'profound effect' on the secondhand market, brokers claim.
Increased secondhand activity since the single-hull tanker went down off Spain in November, continued at a pace last week.
'This impact has not diminished with the passage of time, as was the case with Erika,' commented shipbroker EA Gibson.
The VLCC market showed most activity last week, with Greek operator Dynacom adding two single-hull vessels to its fleet.
The Athens-based tanker owner was reported to have been one of 10 interested parties in the 264,340-dwt tanker, which was built by the Mitsubishi yard in Japan in 1994.
Greek's Dynacom paid $27m for the Tamba, which will be out on a six years time charter to South Korean's Seven Mountains.
Drytank also emerged in the VLCC sale and purchase market with its successful move to buy the 242,510dwt tanker Nichiwa, which it was reported to have immediately fixed back to its Japanese seller the Nissho Shipping Co for between a year and 18 months at $15,000 per day.
Brokers said that buyers are now moving on single-hull VLCCs with an eye to fix on term charters to Korean operators.
They include SK Shipping, Seven Mountains and Hyundai Merchant Marine.
Euronav has recently sold two of its VLCCs, which brokers said was a clear sign that group had made a decision to reduce its exposure to the sector.
The Luxembourg-based tanker owner sold its double hull 299,167 dwt tanker Picardie for a healthy $63m.
Norwegian brokers Fearnleys reported that Athens-based Kristen Navigation snapped up the 1999, Daewoo-built VLCC.
Dynacom also paid Euronav around US$16m for the 245,633 dwt double sided but single-hull Pacific Power, which was built in 1988 by Hyundai.
Frontline, the world's largest tanker operator, revealed on Friday that it had sold two shuttle tankers built in 1978 and 1979 for an undisclosed price.
Smaller sales last week included Tanker Pacific paying $5m for the 1983-built and 130,700dwt Navion Viking.
Singapore-based buyers were also reported to have made a US$8m bloc bid for the 1978-built Traveller and the Trader.
German owner Ahrenkiel paid US$27.5m with five years timecharter back at US$13,000 for the double hull chemical tanker 35,770 dwt Nordscot.
Aegean Marine paid en bloc US$9.75m for the 29,992 dwt Paulina and Patricia, built in 1984 in Japan.
Source: www.hoovers.com, Lloyds List, 9 Mar. 03


Nikos Ladis elected new president of IBIA
During the annual international meeting of Union members held in London, Nikos Ladis was elected president of the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA). The appointment Ladis, who is General Manager of NL Trans Oil Hellas, coincides with a turning point in marine fuel, where the regulations concerning bunkering in ports and the content of fuel in sulphur are being reassessed.
Simultaneously, there is the visible danger of the approval of the E.U. legislation under negotiation, concerning tankers transporting heavy-duty oil and supply vessels transporting marine fuel, a development that will naturally have an unfavourable effect on international sea trade.
Source: Press release, 11 Mar. 03


Event Diary (Piraeus/Athens)
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ISM CODE IMPLEMENTATION
Date: 18-20 March 2003 at DNV Maritime Service Centre, 26-28 Akti Kondyli, 185 45 Piraeus - Greece
This 3-day course explores the ISM Code sections, providing an excellent introduction to the Safety Management Systems.
For more: Ms Vassilia Dimitrakou, Tel: (+30) 210 41 00 200, E-mail: Vassilia.Dimitrakou@dnv.com
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ENVIORNMENTAL AUDITING
Date: 20-21 March 2003 at DNV Maritime Service Centre, 26-28 Akti Kondyli, 185 45 Piraeus - Greece
A 2-day course is designed for internal auditors who are planning to conduct audits according to ISO 14001 & EMAS. Upon successful completion of the course, the participants will be able to plan, carry out and lead internal environmental management system (EMS) audits.
For more: Ms Vassilia Dimitrakou, Tel: (+30) 210 41 00 200, E-mail: Vassilia.Dimitrakou@dnv.com
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MARINE CARGO CLAIMS
Date: 14 - 15 May 2003 - Athens
Practical Strategies for Pursuing and Defending. Featuring an expert panel of speakers from Greece and the UK this two-day programme provides a detailed analysis of all key aspects of marine cargo claims.
For more: www.informamaritime.com
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INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING & BUNKER - 2nd Conference
Date: 3 - 5 June 2003, Astir Palace Resort, Vouliagmeni/Athens, Greece
2nd International Shipping and Bunker Conference organised by Infospectrum.net Limited and Concorsa Limited, in association with IBIA (International Bunker Industry Association).
For more: www.greece2003.net
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2nd GREEEK SHIP FINANCE CONFERENCE - Lloyd's Shipping Economist
Date: 4 - 5 June 2003, Ledra Marriott Hotel, Athens, Greece
Investing & Financing Greek Shipping: Challenges and Opportunities
For more, contact Claire Ritchie on telephone +44 (0) 207 553 1894 or email mailto:claire.ritchie@informa.com
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SALE & PURCHASE OF NEW & SECOND HAND TONNAGE: The Memorandum of Agreement Date: 6 June 2003 Ledra Marriott Hotel, Athens, Greece
Hal-day workshop with presentations by:
Christopher Hobbs, Managing Partner, Norton Rose, Greece and
Alexia Vassiliou, Assistant Solicitor, Norton Rose, Greece
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SHIP MANAGEMENT 2003 - Lloyd's Ship Manager's 13th Conference
Date: 17 - 18 June 2003, Divani Apollon Palace Hotel, Athens, Greece
For more, contact Caroline Chapman, Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7553 1491 e-mail: caroline.chapman@informa.com
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GREEK SHIP FINANCE FORUM - 5th Annual Conference
Date: 9 October 2003, at Athens Ledra Marriott
Executives of Greek ship owning companies, the financial community as well as legal and broking specialist will meet, once again, to discuss latest developments and tomorrows new opportunities.
Organised by "Marine Money Greece", more details can be obtained from: Kevin Oates, kevin@marine-marketing.gr or Mia Jensen, mia@marine-marketing.gr
Source: Source: Organisers Anouncements