Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 03 - 2004

 

Greek president receives IMO secretary general

---President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday received International Maritime Organisation (IMO) chief Efthimios Mitropoulos, who was recently elected secretary-general of the London-based organisation and is in Athens at the invitation of Greece's merchant marine minister George Paschalides.
During talks with the Greek president that were also attended by Paschalidis, the IMO secretary-general briefed Stephanopoulos on international shipping issues and practices that should also be adopted by Greek shipping. Stephanopoulos was particularly interested to learn the size of the of the Greek and Greek-owned commercial fleet and the number of Greek seamen working on Greek ships.
Source: www.robby.gr, 16 Jan 04


Greek shipping's dire straits: cruise sector is the worst affected
---The year 2003 could be described as one of the most difficult for Greek shipping interests. Although conditions in the industry were relatively good, Greek passenger and merchant shipping ran into stormy weather on a number of occasions.
After the Prestige disaster off the coast of Spain in November 2002, the oceangoing segment came under fire from French President Jacques Chirac and European Union Commissioner Loyola de Palacio, which was followed by strict new regulations in Community ports - without the agreement of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) - that have created considerable difficulties for tankers. Passenger shipping, meanwhile, is still in the midst of a protracted downturn, largely due to excessive borrowing and the acquisition of very expensive vessels in recent years.
However, the most serious developments last year seem to be those affecting the cruise industry, which had already been going through hard times after September 11. Royal Olympia Cruises (ROC), Greece's virtually only international player in the sector, appeared to be coming out of difficult straits, achieving full capacity utilization in its vessels, when it suddenly found itself in the middle of a "financial attack" that company officials are at a loss to explain. Its two star vessels, Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer, were immobilized in a US port just before Christmas because of legal action from German creditors who claimed the company had not submitted a debt-restructuring plan for a $250 million loan. A third ROC vessel, the Olympia Countess, faced the same problem in South Africa last week. ROC officials say, however, that a plan submitted was rejected without even being discussed.
Meanwhile, Festival Cruises of Greek-Italian interests has filed a memorandum with the European Commission, pointing to a rise in monopolistic conditions and the development of a dominant position in the European cruise market by Carnival Cruises, of US interests, which has bought out several European cruise firms in recent years. It has highlighted that Carnival's market share now exceeds 30 percent (in Germany, 65 percent).
ROC, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, which affords it a period to reschedule its debts.
Source: By Dimitris Kapranos - Kathimerini ,14 Jan 04


Prestige effect splits finance market
---The Prestige disaster, and subsequent moves to ban single-hull tankers from European ports, has had a curious effect on the ship finance market, according to leading shipping accountant Moore Stephens.
Chris Chasty, head of the Moore Stephens shipping group, says quality shipping banks are turning away approaches to finance single-hull tankers at any price, and are seeking to finance ships of any kind only for owners with genuine stature. Noting that there has been a rush to order new double-hull tonnage, he adds, "In theory, tighter credit control by the banks and an increase in demand should have led to higher pricing for finance. But it hasn't and leading banks are reporting a softening of financing rates."
Writing in the latest issue of the bottom line, the newsletter of the Moore Stephens shipping team, Chasty says, "Banks still want to finance shipping, but they are running scared of reputation risk. Credit control committees of major banks are asking their shipping departments what they are doing to prevent the bank being held to blame for the next big oil spill. The net effect is that single hulls will find it difficult to obtain finance from large banks. And older ships, or less-well-known owners, will find it difficult to get a hearing, however many hulls they have. But the banks are queuing at the doors of high-quality tanker operators with double-hull fleets. Hence the lower pricing at the higher end of the market."
Chasty points out that it is not all gloom for single hulls, noting that rates for both double and single-hull tankers have hardened, and that single-hull ship values have in turn increased and attracted interest from "banks which are not household shipping names. "Financing is still there for single-hull tankers and older ships," concludes Chasty, "but owners have to be prepared to deal with banks they may not have considered before."
Chasty concludes, "Think about refinancing now if you have double-hull vessels, and consider selling while the market is hot if you have single hulls. Buyers will find the finance."
Moore Stephens London, founded in 1907, is a member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world's leading accounting and consulting networks, with 499 offices of member firms in 84 countries. Moore Stephens London is noted for a number of industry specialisations and, in particular, is widely acknowledged as a leading shipping and insurance adviser.
Source: www. moorestephens.com, 13 Jan 04


Troubled captain up for award
---A Greek captain who faces trial in Spain over one of the country's worst oil tanker disasters has been put forward for a prestigious nautical award for bravery when his ship was sinking.
Apostolos Mangouras, captain of the Prestige tanker, is one of a handful of candidates for "Shipmaster of the Year", a title awarded for exceptional service in command at sea that some call the "Nautical Oscar".
The Prestige broke in half in November 2002 after a five-day battle with the waves, coating beaches with thousands of tonnes of fuel oil in one of Europe's worst spills.
Mangouras spent almost three months in jail before being released on bail.
He is banned from leaving Spain pending trial and faces up to nine years in prison if convicted of causing pollution and disobeying orders from maritime authorities.
The award nomination says Mangouras evacuated his 27 crew safely and chose to stay on board, working non-stop to stabilise the ship and risking life and limb to clamber across the deck in gale force winds to connect a towline to tugboats.
"No doubt seafarers around the world will have...sympathy for this courageous man...his heroic actions deserve recognition," the nomination, confirmed by the Nautical Institue international mariners' organisation, concludes.
The institute will give the award jointly with Lloyds List on February 18. The website shiptalk.com said Mangouras had been nominated by a "close associate".
Mangouras has accused Spanish authorities of precipitating the disaster by forcing him away from the coast and into rough seas. Spain blamed the state of the ship, a 26-year-old single hull tanker, a type now banned from calling at EU ports if carrying heavy grades of oil.
In Spain, local seamen planned a dinner in Barcelona on January 22 in the captain's honour, a union said.
"These people believe this man was not responsible. He has been badly treated," a spokesman for the Comisiones Obreras trade union said.
Source: Nzoom.com, New Zealand, 16 Jan 04


Tasman Spirit petition against KPT and others adjourned
---KARACHI: A division bench of the Sindh High Court consisting of Justices Zahid Kurban Alavi and Syed Ali Aslam Jaffery on Thursday delayed hearing a constitution petition against the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others until February 12.
The bench directed Sindh Additional Advocate General Sarwar Khan, who appeared for the EPA, to file comments by the next date of hearing. Deputy Advocate General Syed Zaki Muhammed represented the Pakistan National Shipping Company (PNSC) while Justice (r) Shaiq Usmani appeared on behalf of the KPT, Marine Mercantile Department and other official respondents. Lawyer Agha Faquir Mohammad filed the petition challenging the contract between oil refineries and PNSC giving exclusive right for 10 years to transport oil from outside Pakistan to oil refineries. Making KPT, PNSC, Polembros Shipping of Greece, Mercantile Marine Department and the Communications Ministry Ports and Shipping director general respondents, the petition maintained that oil refineries were compelled to enter into contract with PNSC at an "AFRA" rate plus 34 points.
The petitioner maintained, "Such rates are directly affecting the prices of petroleum products which the citizens of Pakistan consume, besides contributing increase in electricity charges".
The PNSC entered into a freight contract with Polembros Shipping for transportation of crude oil without calling national or international tenders, the petitioner maintained adding that the respondent Greek company has an old fleet of single hull type vessels and denied entry by a number of ports elsewhere in the world.
The petitioner also submitted that Mt Golden Gate of respondent Polembros was involved in a tragedy earlier on October 14, 2002, in which 1,300 tonnes of crude oil was spilled, which killed thousands of fish in the sea off Karachi Coast.
"KPT authorities at that time misguided the people and media by stating that dead fish were dumped by some foreign trawler. -APP
Source: www.dailytimes.com.pk, 16 Jan 04


Royal Olympic signs agreement with German banks
---Further to its announcement yesterday morning, Royal Olympic Cruises, Inc. ("Royal Olympic") (Nasdaq: ROCLF) has further announced that under the agreement with the German lending institutions referred to in that announcement, Royal Olympic and its shipowning subsidiaries in respect of the vessels OLYMPIA VOYAGER and OLYMPIA EXPLORER, which subsidiaries are the debtors in a Chapter 11 proceeding in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Hawaii, Royal Olympic and its two subsidiaries will consent to the lifting of the automatic stay in that proceeding and will consent to the lenders proceeding with the arrest and judicial sale of the two vessels.
The agreement further provides for the lenders to release Royal Olympic from the terms of its parent guarantees of the obligations of the two shipowning subsidiaries under their respective loan agreements with the lenders, contingent upon the satisfaction of certain conditions.
Expressly without committing the lenders to enter any legal or binding obligation whatsoever to any person or party (on the basis that this shall not constitute a representation or warranty), should the first mortgagees of the Vessels or their nominees acquire the Vessels or either of them at the judicial sales, the lenders will, entirely without commitment, consider entering into discussion with Royal Olympic and/or prospective charterers and/or prospective cabin space charterers (as the case may be) with a view to exploring the possibility (on normal commercial arms length terms ) of the Vessels or either of them being utilised to perform any commitments/contracts/charters currently entered into by or on behalf of Royal Olympic for the remainder of the 2003/2004 winter and the 2004 summer seasons, including the Olympic Games August 2004.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements can be identified in many cases by the use of terms such as "may," "will," "should," "expect," "intend," "plan," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "continue," or other like terms. These statements are based upon assumptions that are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies that are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond the control of Royal Olympic and may cause business activities and results, and the results of the Chapter 11 proceeding, to be materially different from those that are implied by the forward-looking statements. In particular, the outcome of the disposition of the vessels will depend on the following factors that are not within the control of Royal Olympic in any material respect, including entry of a final order by the bankruptcy court lifting the automatic stay in the Chapter 11 proceeding so as to enable the lenders to proceed with an arrest and judicial sale of the vessels and lenders actions thereafter.
Although Royal Olympic believes that the expectations expressed in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, it cannot assure any future result.
Source: Press Release, Piraeus, Greece, 16 Jan 04


Greek Fleet Facts
---Renewal of the Greek-owned fleet and growth of the Greek-flagged fleet were two positives as 2003 closed and we entered into 2004. Specifically, official Marine ministry figures released for December 2003 revealed an increase in gross tonnage, though a decrease in number of vessels under the Greek flag in the month when 13 ships of 553,480gt entered the home registry against 16 deletions of 332,665gt. As a result, according to running data maintained by Newsfront, the national flag fleet [units of at least 100gt] stood on December 31 at 2,077 hulls of an aggregate 30,604,182gt, three vessels less, but 2,711,392gt more than at the beginning of the year.
Of the 13 ships raising the Greek flag in December, seven were registered under 'Article 13', of which five were commissioned in 2003. Newbuildings inscribed on the Piraeus registry were: the 51,000dwt bulker Maria L, delivered from Jangnan Shipyard, China into the Vrontados operation ; the 318,000dwt VLCC Crudestar, purchased from Sanco Gamma, Saudi Arabia, by Metrostar; the 55,000dwt bulker Navios Kypros, and the 55,180dwt bulker Navios Hios, delivered from Nisho Iwai Corporation, Japan into Levant Maritime International; and the 308,000dwt tanker Apollonia, purchased from International Tanker Management by the Neda Maritime Agency operation. The other 'Article 13' vessels raising the Greek flag in December included: the 72,844dwt and 74,545 bulkers Alpha Effort, and Alpha Flame, built 1999, controlled by Alpha Tankers & Freighters interests.
Of the 13 'Article 13' deletions, 12 were declared as straight sales, and one switched out to another flag. These included the 63,640dwt and the 63,638dwt bulkers Alpheos and Argolis, built 1984 and 1983 respectively, out of the United Shipping & Trading Company of Greece operation; the 73,317dwt and 73,390dwt bulkers Panthea and Panacea, built 1997, out of the Magna Maritime fleet; the 24,765dwt and 24,400dwt bulkers Pine and Sedar built 2001, out of the Diana Shipping Agencies operation; the 11,003gt Ro-Ro Athens Express, built 1969, out of the Wavelord Navigation operation; the 40,940dwt bulker Archimides, built 1984, out of the Archipelagos Shipping operation; the 106,560dwt tanker Fantasy, built 2002, out of the Ceres Hellenic Shipping Enterprises operation; the 4,200dwt container Pelflyer, built 1981, out of the Sarlis Container Services operation; the 12,705dwt tanker Ikaros M, built 1985, out of the Styga Compania Naviera operation; and the 45,574dwt tanker St Nikolai, built 1982, out of the Chandris (Hellas) Inc operation. The 34,291dwt bulker Chios Beauty, built 1977, controlled by Harbor Shipping & Trading interests, switched to Panamanian flag.
Overall, average age of the 'Article 13' deletions was 15 years, according to the ministry, whereas arrivals on the Piraeus registry were one-year-old on average.
Source: Newsfront, 16 Jan 04


SSBA shipping & business executives appoint Greek Representative
---Following the modification of membership criteria, the Scandinavian Shipping & Business Association in Greece, SSBA, welcomed 19 new members of Greek and other nationalities during a recent Members Event in Piraeus. With the full support of the attending Members, Nikos Marmatsouris, Marketing Manager of Gulf Agency Company in Piraeus, was appointed Greek Committee Representative. "We all welcome Nikos in his new and prosperous mission, looking forward to share his professional attitude and knowledge" commented the Association's Swedish Committee Representative, Rolf Severin-Olsson.
SSBA Members are of Scandinavian and Greek nationality as well as others. The professions of the members are widely varied and include all disciplines within the shipping industry. Whereas in the past, members were required to speak one of the 3 Scandinavian languages, today's membership requirement is: Persons associated with shipping related activities in Greece and in Scandinavia.
The purpose of the SSBA Association is to: assist and improve the relation between Scandinavian and Greek representatives and related companies, enable beneficial aid in search for new business contacts and remain strong in established friendship.
The new members are:
Andritsopoulos, Kostas G. - Consultant Engineer- Marine Surveyor, Baroutakis & Andritsopoulos Consultancy
Babalis, Thanos - Attorney at Law , Pologiorgis-Babalis-Troullinos-Mavrou Law Office
Baroutakis, Michael A. - Consultant Engineer- Marine Surveyor, Baroutakis & Andritsopoulos Consultancy
Kypreos, George - Director, Nena K Marine Co. Ltd.
Kyriakatos, Makis - General Manager, Royal Ship Supplies
Magliveras, Giorgio - Manager - Operator, Genoa Maritime SA
Maounis, Kostas G. - Managing Director, Elkco Group of Companies
Margaritis, Nicholas - Manager - Operator, Genoa Maritime SA
Marmatsouris, Nikos Marketing Manager, Gulf Agency Company
Petradakis, Nicholas E. Director, Royal Travel Sevices
Petrakakos, Harry - Director, P&P Marine Consultants Inc.
Vernicos, Marina B. - Managing Director, Byron E. Vernicos Shipping Ent.
Abraham, Klaus H. - Director, Armitage Shipping Co. Ltd.
Croonen, Elise - Marketing & PR Manager, Unimarine Services Ltd.
Fausing, Vagn - Chartering Manager, SwissChemGas Ltd.
Henriksson, Kerstin - Trade Officer, Embassy of Sweden
Jorgensen, Lars Juul - Sales & Purchase Dept., Tsakos Shipping & Trading Ltd.
Kristensen, Ole E. - Director, Triangle Shipping Ltd.
Sanduka, Ellis - Director, Maersk Air
The current list of 66 SSBA members, all of whom have valuable experience of doing business in the Greek Shipping industry, is available at the Associations website at: www.ssa-greece.gr
Source: SSBA Members Event Report,December 2004


Marine Money Greek office organize 1st Istanbul Ship Finance Forum
---Organised by Marine Money Greece the first Istanbul Ship Finance conference will be devoting a session to market prospects, domestic shipbuilding and to legal issues, on 25 March 2004.
The timing is just right according to Marine Money International, in the last five years over 60 newbuildings have been committed by Turkish owners at Far Eastern shipyards - Suezmaxes, aframaxes, product tankers and handymax and panamax bulk carriers. Domestically the Tuzla shipyard area is working at close to full capacity constructing chemical tankers, product tankers and a variety of MPP and dry vessels of up to 16,000 DWT for Turkish and European owners.
Among the speakers are executives from: HSH Nordbank, GE Structured Finance, Caterpillar Financial Services, DVB Nedship Bank, Navigation Finance Corp., Finansbank, Deniz Bank, Besiktas Group, Geden Line, Kaptanoglu Shipping Group, Yardimci Group, Fouquest Sacop Group, Galbraith's Ltd, Watson Farley & Williams, Inal Law Office and International Registries Inc.
Source: Announcement by marine.money@marine-marketing.gr, 15 Jan 2004


Events Diary (Piraeus/Athens)
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VOYAGE ESTIMATION-TIME CHARTER EQUIVALENT
Date: 19, 21 & 23 January 2004
For more details, please contact: Hellenic Shipbrokers Association, Tel: 210 4220055, Fax: 210 4220057
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DNV course: COMMUNICATION AWARENESS
Date: 29 - 30 Jan. 2004 at the DNV Maritime Service Centre Piraeus
Lecturer: P.Riccardi
For more details, please visit http://www.marine-marketing.gr/users/dnv or contact DNV at Tel: 210 4100 200
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BIMCO MASTERCLASS WORKSHOP - BILLS OF LADING
Date: 18-20 February 2004, Hilton Athens, Greece
Delivered in co-operation with the Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law University of Wales Swansea, UK
This is the sixth of a series of innovative BIMCO Courses focusing on key aspects of maritime commerce. The workshops are designed for participants who already have some shipping experience and who wish to broaden their knowledge of the industry.
Each workshop in the series consists of two or three full days of presentations by industry experts, combined with group discussions and case studies. Participants are expected and will be encouraged to contribute actively to the group discussions. At the end of each workshop, participants may take a short "open book" exam to assess their level of understanding of the subject matter. This assessment leading to the award of a BIMCO diploma will be of value to employers and employees alike in demonstrating the effectiveness of the training and knowledge attained.
Topics include:
* The Importance of the Bill of Lading as a Receipt for the Goods
* The Importance of the Bill of Lading as a Contract of Carriage
* The Importance of the Bill of Lading as a Document of Title
* Liens on Cargo and Sub-Freight
* Claims in Tort and Bailment
* Switched Bills of Lading
* Case Studies
* Optional Assessment
At www.bimco.dk, you can also find the registration form, which may be downloaded and returned to BIMCO Courses as soon as possible. Please note that the number of participants will be limited for educational purposes, thus registrations will be handled on a strictly "first come, first serve" basis.
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POSIDONIA WEEK 2004
Posidonia Cup - Friday 4 June 2004
Venue: Faliron Bay, Athens - Piraeus
Posidonia Congress - Monday, June 7 2004 (morning)
Venue: Piraeus Port Authority, Conference Centre
Exhibition - Opening Ceremony - Monday, June 7 2004 (evening)
Venue: Piraeus Port Authority Exhibition Center
Exhibition - Tuesday, June 8 2004 to Friday, June 11 2004
Venue: Piraeus Port Authority Exhibition Center
Information: Posidonia Exhibitions SA, posidonia@posidonia-events.com
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GREEK SHIP FINANCE FORUM - 6th Ann MARINE MONEY CONFERENCE
Date: 14 October 2004, at Athens Ledra Marriott Hotel
The 2003 forum attracted a total of 162 individuals during the day including presenters. From our records this includes 48 shipowners and shipowers representatives, 54 bankers and financiers, 13 lawyers and many others besides. That is substantially better in numbers and in quality than any other comparable conference in Greece.
For the 2004 conference, the organisers expect nothing less, so make your plans now.
For more information please go to http://www.marinemoney.com or contact Marine Money Greece at: Tel: +30 210 9842 136, 210 4190 164 E-mail: marine.money@marine-marketing.gr
Source: Organisers Announcement