Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 06 - 2004

 

Commission decides to send a letter of formal notice to Greece

---The Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice to Greece for incorrect application of European legislation on freedom to provide services to maritime transport within Member States (maritime Cabotage).
Greece benefited until 1 January 2004 from a 12 years partial exemption from EU rules on market access to maritime cabotage. This exemption concerned scheduled passenger and ferry transport to, from and between islands. In 2001, Greece adopted legislation which, according to the Commission, proved not to be in line with the European legislation in force (Council regulation (EEC) 3577/92).
The Greek legislation does not appropriately reflect the EU basic principle according to which public service obligations can be imposed on ship-owners performing island cabotage in the event of market failure to provide adequate services. Moreover, some of its provisions are also in breach of EU legislation, such as the requirement that all the non-Greek members of the crew should hold a certificate proving their knowledge of the Greek language.
The Commission informed the Greek authorities about these issues already in 2001, when the national legislation was enacted. Now that the period of the temporary exemption is expired, the Commission has decided to start immediately the legal action.
Source: http://europa.eu.int, Brussels, 3 Feb 04


Greece rejects charge of obstructing deregulation in coastal shipping
---In the new deregulated environment of Greek coastal shipping, the government has to maintain a supervisory role within the framework of regional development and the provision of equal opportunities to the residents of the islands - on which the country's social cohesion depends, Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Paschalidis said in a letter to the European Union's Energy and Transport Directorate at the end of December. Paschalidis released the letter yesterday, in response to reports on Tuesday that the Commission had decided to take Greece to the European Court for indirectly obstructing the entry of foreign operators into Greek routes since the formal abolition of cabotage on November 1, 2002. He said he is still awaiting an official reply to the letter, in which he argued state subsidies to the sector did not break market rules.
Source: Kathimerini Daily, 5 Feb 02


Newbuildings put Greece at the forefront of quality shipping
---The massive investment by Greek shipowners on renewal of the oceangoing fleet has lifted them to the forefront of the industry's drive for "quality shipping". Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) president Nicos Efthymiou pointed out to owners attending the body's agm, February 4, that the expansion and modernisation of the Greek-owned and Greek-flagged fleets was taking place "at no cost to the Greek taxpayer".
Indeed, quite the opposite according to Efthymiou, who said the industry and those in it "continue to battle unaided" to ensure Greece's rightful place in the international shipping's world. He said that "much was achieved in 2003 in the unstable international environment with no backing from the state" and maintained that "if we had the right back up more would have been achieved". He said that measures adopted by the government did "not have the required boldness and breadth to link shipping with the national economy to rejuvenate the low national productivity with its dynamic added value".
Efthymiou said it is time the state came to realise the importance of shipping to Greece's financial welfare. He said that the positive developments are going largely untapped by the national economy, as a part of the inflowing revenues generated by shipping become outflowing because of the lack of a proper shipping policy and an inadequate infrastructure for the industry. A study by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research estimates Greece's foreign exchange earnings from shipping will be around Euro 9bn in 2003.
The UGS president said that according to October 2003 data, some 238 ships were under construction for Greek interests. This represented 21.7m dwt and an investment equal to "two Greek state budgets". And that is just the standing of the Greek orderbook currently, not taking into account the fact that many hundreds of ships have been built for Greek interests in the most recent years. At the sametime old ships have been withdrawn from the fleet.
Efthymiou said the ongoing newbuilding programme means Greeks now control 18.3% of the world's ocean transportation cargo carrying capacity, while the Greek flag fleet accounts for 48% of the European Union fleet. Indeed, backing up what Eftymiou said, data just released by the Marine ministry shows that in January alone, 19 ships of 1,034,637gt entered the home registry against seven deletions of 154,616gt. Of the 19 additions eight were newbuildings.
Source: www.newsfront.gr 6 Feb 04


Cruise industry facing demise
Calls to soften impact of bankruptcy of main Greek operator, ROC, following action by creditors
---Employees of Royal Olympia Cruises (ROC) - virtually Greece's only remaining international cruise operator, which is facing bankruptcy - yesterday staged a rally and pressed a proposal with Labor Ministry officials for a broad meeting of all involved to discuss a developing crisis in the sector. They also called for economic support for about 160 employees of the firm that have been put on compulsory leave.
ROC's two young star vessels, Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer, were detained in US ports just before Christmas, while the lines's Olympia Countess was kept in Durban, South Africa, early last month, following legal action by one of its main creditors, German bank KFW.
Separately, Synaspismos Left Coalition party deputy Panayiotis Lafazanis yesterday called on the government to initiate an urgent meeting of seamen's organizations and other public bodies in Piraeus with a view to adopting urgent measures to avert the loss of 1,500 jobs and a further blow to Greek tourism.
According to sources, in filing its legal action, KFW claimed to have found "a conflict of views among the main shareholders during discussions for a renegotiation of debts" and stated that ROC had failed to submit a debt-restructuring plan for a $250 million loan. ROC, a New York Stock Exchange-listed firm, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in the US - affording it a limited period to reschedule its debts - but, it seems, to no avail. The Louis hotel and leisure group, of Cypriot interests, is the company's main shareholder.
For its part, ROC claims that KFW acted without warning after rejecting a debt-restructuring plan without any discussion, and while its vessels were booked to full capacity for months ahead.
KFW's move has been followed by an avalanche of injunctions by Greek creditors, resulting in the immobilization of the the firm's remaining vessels. A call to auction has already been issued for the Olympia Countess in S. Africa.
"No one seems interested in supporting the only Greek cruise company. Creditors are making haste to seize what they can from a company that would have had no problem had it been allowed it to work," said 8 percent shareholder Andreas Potamianos. The firm has asked for the appointment of a receiver in an effort to salvage what it can.
Industry sources in Piraeus take the view that ROC's demise is largely of its own making, as it had long relied on the protectionist regulations that largely excluded foreign operators from Greek waters but they also blame seamen's unions which refused to renegotiate pay rates at a time when the industry faced dire straits after the September 11 attacks on the US. Further, they argue that the pack of cards in the industry is being reshuffled, with a younger generation of bankers paying little attention to notions of traditional business relationships.
Separately, Genoa's municipal authority is reported to be putting pressure on the Italian government to do all it can to avert a similar fate for Festival Cruises, of Greek-Italian interests, which uses the city as its base.
Festival has won a case brought against it in Marseilles by Credit Agricole for its cruise ship Mistral which was detained there, though the matter has not ended. It has also 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 - and in Germany, 65 percent.
Source: www.ekathimerini.com, 3 Feb 02


Let the Festival continue
---FESTIVAL Cruises, the troubled cruise operator that calls itself "pan-European", may well turn out to be worth saving despite its current problems. It has built itself a brand and a network of offices in 11 countries for marketing its cruises, while three of its seven ships are newbuildings. The entity could be worth more than the pieces that make it up. Acquisition of the company could provide a platform for another operator - for example, for either the Royal Caribbean or Star Cruises groups to strengthen their foothold on the growing European markets. Klas Brogren, MD of ShipPax Information in Sweden has calculated that an average penetration of 1.4%, the current situation in the UK and European countries, would develop another 3.3M passengers.
Hilton International, the UK-based hotels group, markets the top-end accommodation on Festival's three newest ships, so perhaps a lifeline could emerge from outside the cruise industry. Festival's three latest ships closely resemble MSC Lirica of MSC Italian Cruises, which also taps the European contemporary market.
With a further such unit due for MSC in the summer, it might be the most ideal suitor of Festival in its current gloom. The second-hand vessels of the fleet have been mainly employed on charter in the rapidly growing Spanish market and assuming that decent rates can be obtained, the 1968-71 built units, which include the SCL-chartered Bolero, could still be regarded as assets. The transition from operator of second-hand tonnage to that of far more expensive newbuildings has burdened the accounts of some other companies in the past: Celebrity Cruises ended up being acquired by Royal Caribbean in 1997 and Costa Crociere by Carnival and Airtours - the former later bought out the latter - at about the same time.
Company profile
Full company name: Festival Cruises
Founded: 1993
Head office: Piraeus, Greece and Genoa, Italy
Ownership: 300M ($372M) in 2002
Passengers: 280,000 (2002), 90% from the EU
Source: Fairplay, 5 Feb 04


Cruise crews get $5m payoff
Seafarers who lost their jobs when two Royal Olympia cruiseships were arrested in Florida are to share a $5m settlement.
The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) hailed the deal with the cruise line and German export credit bank, Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW) as a fair outcome.
The 836 passenger Olympia Explorer.
The 700 seafarers on the 24,400-gt Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer (built 2000 and 2001) receive payment for outstanding wages, leave entitlement and severance after a six week campaign.
The ITF put representatives on both Greek flag vessels to support the claims of the Pan-Hellenic Seamens Federation (PNO).
Last month the Royal Olympia subsidiaries that owned the two ships filed for Chapter XI protection from creditors in the US, while a similar bankruptcy petition was made in Greece in respect of the other shipowning subsidiaries.
Cotton said he hoped that a similar deal could now be achieved covering crew members on leave.
The ITF suggests that both vessels arrested in the ports of Long Beach and Miami will face a judicial auction, warning that it will intervene in the sale to pursue the outstanding claims of seafarers on leave. According to the labour federation crew claims have precedence under Greek law.
The ITF believes both vessels will now face judicial auction in order to secure a quick sale.
In separate cases the ITF and PNO have also assisted the crew of the Greek flagged 16,800-gt Olympia Countess (built 1976) arresting the vessel in Durban, South Africa. Both organisations are also supporting the crew of Royal Olympia's 14,000-gt Triton (built 1971) in Piraeus.
The ITF said it hoped to enter into constructive negotiations with the Dutch Fortis Bank which holds mortgages on on these two vessels.
Source: www.tradewinds.no, 5 Feb 04


Piraeus numbers track crude bulls
---Piraeus numbers today made up for some lost time. Figures revealed that despite crude coming off at yesterday's close by around $0.88 a barrel, local suppliers appeared determined to get as much mileage as they can out of Monday's $1.93 crude surge, and utilse a more than $1 a barrel premium remaining from the begining of the week.
Today's $4 per metric tonne (mt) rise for intermediate fuel oil (IFOS) came after a steady start to the week and followed a $1 rise yesterday. Marine gasoil (MGO) fell back by $2 per mt on Tuesday, but continuing bleak weather on the US east coast was expected to prop-up distillate levels, reflected in a $4 per mt rise today.
Demand levels recieved a boost from the rising numbers with buyers pre-empting more rises by nominating early, keeping enquiry levels from the start of the week, which have remained consistently good.
Product avails were also reported to be good with no shortfalls anticipated.
Barge avails are certainly getting some usage at the moment with suppliers completing deliveries commensurate with demand levels. Nevertheless, plenty of spare capacity remains and most players were reported to be OK for deliveries from tomorrow onwards.
Suppliers pegged today's indications at $150 to $151 for IFO380, $162 to $164 for IFO180 and $271 to $273 for MGO.
Source: www.bunkerworld.com, 04 Feb 2004, 15:54 GMT


Mitropoulos to speak at the Piraeus Marine Club
The newly elected IMO Secretary General, Efthimios Mitropoulos, will be guest speaker at a Working Luncheon, to be held at the Marine Club's premises on Thursday 26th February 2004. The speaker has agreed to answer questions raised by the floor. Luncheon tickets can be obtained from the Executive Secretary of the Club, Mrs Kate Vienna: Tel: 210 429 3606 or 210 429 3607/8.
Source: Announcement, 3 Feb 04


DNV Piraeus launch website on in-town training courses
The DNV Maritime Service Centre Piraeus has launched a website with information on DNV's Training Courses held in the company's facilities in Piraeus. The significant portfolio of 21 courses, developed and held regularly over the last 7 years includes:
* Bulk Carrier - Hull Inspection
* Classification Systematics
* Communication Awareness
* Condition Based Maintenance Operation
* Environmental Management Systems Auditing
* Introduction to the Maritime Environmental Management Systems
* ISM Code Implementation - Basic
* ISM Internal Auditing
* ISO 9000:2000 Internal Auditor Transition
* ISO 9001:2000 Internal Auditor
* ISPS Code - Company Security Officer
* ISPS Code - Ship Security Officer
* Managing Incident Investigation
* Marine Risk Assessment
* Oil Tanker - Hull Inspection
* Practical Risk Assessment on Safety & Security
* QA-ISO 9000:2000 Lead Auditor - Level IV / Lead Auditor
* Relational Skills
* STCW - 95 Implementation
* STCW - 95 In-Service Assessment
* Train The Trainer / Presentation Techniques
Courses are coordinated by Ms. Vassilia Dimitrakou. The website is located at www.marine-marketing.gr/users/dnv
Source: Announcement, 2 Feb 04


EVENTS DIARY (Piraeus/Athens)
News and Annoncements are welcome at: news.desk@marine-marketing.gr
ISM Internal Auditor
Date: 17-19 February, at DNV Maritime Service Centre Piraeus
Course description is available at http://www.marine-marketing.gr/users/dnv
For more details, please contact Ms. Vassilia Dimitrakou, Tel: 210 4100 200
.
BIMCO MASTERCLASS WORKSHOP - BILLS OF LADING
Date: 18-20 February 2004, Hilton Athens, Greece
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
For more information go to www.bimco.dk
.
3rd Scientific Seminar
Date: 19 Feb 2004 at 16:00 pm at the Piraeus Port Authority Auditorium, 10 Akti Miaouli, Piraeus
Organiser: Hellenic Marine Technical Consultants & Surveyors Association and Hellenic Society of Maritime Lawyers.
The conference will be followed by a buffet reception. Admission is free.
Moderator: Dimitrios Capaitzis, Tel: (+30) 210 4525 063 / 4284 837 E-mail: capaitzi@otenet.gr
.
Company/Ship Security Officer (CSO/SSO)
Date: 25-27, February 2004
Course description is available at http://www.marine-marketing.gr/users/dnv
For more details, please contact Ms. Vassilia Dimitrakou, Tel: 210 4100 200
.
WORKING LUNCHEON - Efthimios Mitropoulos - Piraeus Marine Club
Date: 26 Feb 2003 at 13:30 hours at the Piraeus Marine Club, 51 Akti Miaouli, Piraeus
Guest Speaker: Mr Efthimios Mitropoulos, Secretary General, IMO. The speaker has agreed to answer questions raised by the floor.
Luncheon tickets priced at euro 50,00 can be obtained from the Executive Secretary of the Club, Mrs Kate Vienna, Tel: +30 210 4293 367 or 4293 606/8.
.
Marine Risk Assessment
Date: 26-27 February 2004,at DNV Maritime Service Centre Piraeus
Course description is available at http://www.marine-marketing.gr/users/dnv
For more details, please contact Ms. Vassilia Dimitrakou, Tel: 210 4100 200
.
INTERNATIONAL FORUM - PORTS & SHIPPING
Date: 31 March & 1 April 2004, Inter-Continental Hotel Athens, Greece,
Organiser: Hazlis & Rivas Co. Ltd, Tel. (+30) 94 08 750-2, Fax (+30) 94 08 753, hans@hazliseconomist.com, http://www.hazliseconomist.com
.
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
.
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