Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 15 - 2004

 

Greeks bucking IMO hull decision

---The UK says a Greek challenge may derail the IMO's double-hull bulk-carrier plans.
The UK is warning that the decision-making process at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) could be thrown into crisis if the Greek government blocks an earlier ruling to make double hulls mandatory for bulk carriers.
The UK has put forward its case for double hulls as it also engages in a behind-the-scenes battle with the Greeks for diplomatic support prior to a final showdown at the IMO in May.
The double-hull solution to bulk-carrier safety was arrived at by the UK after a three-year formal safety assessment (FSA), a methodology that is supposed to form the bedrock of IMO decision making.
The UK claims the Greek challenge, laid out in a critical study from the University of Strathclyde, does not meet the standards for a full FSA.
The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency's Simon Milne, who headed the UK's FSA, said: "We are putting up a robust and determined argument on this issue because we feel the credibility of the FSA process and that of IMO as an open and collaborative organisation is at stake here, quite apart from the critical safety issues."
The UK further blasts the Greek paper for being "unreasonably selective" and "not seeking consultation or clarification" in its report. The UK goes on to try to allay Greek concerns over the effect of double hulls on the trading market. In its paper the UK stresses: "The UK understands concern that as more double side-skin vessels are built, older single-skin vessels may become less sought after, leading to a psychological two-tier market."
However, shipowners can rest assured that there is no intention to phase out single-skin bulk carriers. It also contends there is nothing to back the Greek claim that double-hull bulk carriers will lose cargo-carrying capacity.
The UK goes on to reject claims by the Greeks that a double hull would hamper inspection. And it is adamant that a double side skin will make bulk carriers stronger.
Just six weeks away from the crucial IMO meeting, Greece could find a powerful allay in Japan and other major bulk-carrier owning nations that fear the financial implications of a double hull rule. But the UK held massive support for its initiative when the IMO agreed the measures two years ago and is hoping its supporters will stay in line.
No vote will be held on the issue. The final decision will be made by the chairman of the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).
By Adam Corbett
Source: Tradewinds, 08 April 2004


Port upgrade promised
---A coast guard officer at the port of Piraeus. Measures designed to improve port security and foil a possible terrorist attack will be in place by July 1, the new merchant marine minister said.
Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis promised to upgrade security at Greece's biggest ports and to provide "airport-level services."
He also declared himself open to the provision of services by private companies if this would upgrade port operations and benefit users.
Kefaloyiannis, in his first press conference since his appointment, said that his main aim was to improve port infrastructure and modernize operations in order to make ports safer. "Toward this end, we are studying the examples of the most successful ports worldwide," he said.
Kefaloyiannis mentioned the necessary changes in order for Greek ports to comply with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. He said adaptations are being made at a fast pace and that Greece will be ready by the July 1 deadline.
The ISPS Code, adopted by the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Diplomatic Conference of December 2002, also provides for added measures to prevent terrorist attacks on ports. This entails an extra cost for ports that the state budget will cover, Kefaloyiannis said, including for the partly privatized port authorities of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, which operate the country's two largest ports.
Security operations have been advanced at the port of Piraeus, in which 11 cruise ships hosting over 3,000 Olympic officials and visitors will moor in August this year.
Transparency
Kefaloyiannis paid special attention to the issue of transparency in public procurement tenders. He announced that he had canceled a tender related to information technology systems, a project budgeted at over 2 million euros, because the terms of the tender contained illegal provisions, apparently designed to favor one of the bidders. He also announced that he had canceled all procurement contracts worth up to 45,000 euros.
"Transparency was a central issue with New Democracy. We, here at the Merchant Marine Ministry, will do everything to promote transparency," Kefaloyiannis said.
Responding to a question by Kathimerini on the Vessel Traffic Management and Information Services (VTMIS) system, which has been ordered but not delivered yet, Kefaloyiannis said that the issue is being handled by the ministry's internal investigations department.
The new minister will submit, within the following weeks, a six-month plan on the priority measures to be taken to aid all aspects of shipping - passenger and merchant, domestic or ocean going. This would include an upgrade in the training of sailors and officers. "We will maintain, indeed upgrade, the National Shipping Policy Council. We want more jobs for Greek sailors," he said.
Source: www.ekathimerini.com, By Nikos Bardounias, 8 Apr 04


Greeks riding high on demand for dry handy tonnage
---The shortage of standard dry tonnage continues to drive great demand in the secondhand market, with Greek operators reaping the benefits, often chalking up big gains on the sale of vessels, some of them over 20 years old.
In the first quarter of 2004, some 120 bulkers of panamax size and down have been traded in the s&p ring, many of them going to operators keen to acquire tonnage for regional trades.
Indeed, shipowners trading in the Med and Black Sea have had great difficulty finding suitable tonnage as high freight rates have seen a shortage of sales candidates while many ships previously owned by companies based in Eastern Europe and sales candidates have now gone for scrap.
The need for this type of tonnage in the Middle East and Far East as well as in the Med, is reflected in the fact that the average age of all ships changing hands in this size range is just over 18 years.
Greeks have been key players in the market, primarily as sellers. Since the beginning of the year, Greek interests have sold 58 bulkers under 70,000dwt, over 46% of all bulkers sold, and purchased 28 bulkers, 17 of them from Greek sellers. Average age of the purchases by Greeks is just under 19 years and the ships sold by Greeks have had an average age of 21 years.
All told Greek sellers have raised around $850m in the first quarter of 2004 and have invested just under $300m buying dry ships less than 70,000dwt.
In the same period Chinese interests, the second biggest players, have purchased 19 bulkers and sold just five. The Chinese purchased 10 of the ships from Greek sellers.
Some of the deals have been quite spectacular. Barclay Shipping, controlled by Evangelos Maranakis is one operator who is seeing impressive returns as a seller after being primarily a purchaser over the past two or so years. Originally a buyer of dry ships, Barclay has switched its attention to tankers and is now selling bulkers. In recent weeks $66m has been raised reducing the bulker side of the operation with the sale of four ships. Most recently the Miltiadis Junior, a 47,400-tonner, built in Hyundai HI in South Korea went to unidentified Middle Eastern buyers for a staggering $15.1m after being purchased in 2002 as the World Unity for $4.6m. At the end of March the 1995-built Miltiadis, 75,300dwt went to unidentified Far Eastern buyers for $33.5m, more than double the $16.5m paid when purchased in June 2000.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 9 Apr 04


Ancient Greek ship replica repaired for Olympics
---The replica of a 2,500-year-old Greek warship that will carry the Olympic torch was unveiled Monday after undergoing extensive repairs.
The ship, one of the most feared vessels in the ancient world, will deliver the flame to Athens' main port of Piraeus at the end of a Greek relay -- two days before the start of the Aug. 13-29 games.
That relay will begin when the flame lit at Ancient Olympia on March 25 returns from an unprecedented worldwide journey before returning to Greece. The international relay begins June 4 in Australia and ends July 8 in Cyprus.
The wooden trireme, with three levels of oars and a bronze ram used to sink rival ships, was put on display at the private Elefsis shipyards, near Athens, after an eight-month project to restore the vessel built in 1987.
"It was a major undertaking. All the wood had to be replaced, but we remained true to the original design," project coordinator Dimitris Tavoularis said.
Sea trials for the renovated ship, which was handmade, will start next month.
"It's been totally renovated ... It required a team of shipbuilders, designers and specialized carpenters," he told The Associated Press.
The warship's deadly speed and maneuverability helped Athens defeat the far larger Persian fleet at the 480 B.C. Battle of Salamis.
"The ship was feared by its enemies ... At the time it was made, it was a revolution in design," Tavoularis said.
Yiannis Lambropoulos, Greek deputy defense minister who attended Monday's ceremony at the shipyard, described the repaired ship as a "great symbol of our ancient heritage," which will provide a highlight of the Olympic torch relay.
British scholar John Morrison, who died in 2000, led the design of the replica warship. No ancient remains of trireme exist, forcing Morrison to glean clues from ancient literature and paintings and designs on vases and coins. The Greek navy funded the original project.
Monday's ceremony was timed to coincide with the shipyard's delivery of a fast attack missile ship, named the "Krystallidis" to the Greek Navy. The modern warship was built in cooperation with British shipbuilders.
Source: Derek Gatopoulos, Associated Press Writer, 04-05) 09:55 PDT ELEFSIS, Greece (AP) --


Decision on Tasman crew likely in a week
---KARACHI: The decision on the fate of the crewmembers of the Greek oil tanker Tasman Spirit is likely in a week as there is near-consensus among the legal managers of the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) that except in the case of the master of the vessel proving a charge of criminal negligence will be quite difficult if not impossible.
With mounting pressure from the European Union on the government to find an amicable solution to the issue of the vessel's crew, the KPT on Friday sent a progress report of the criminal litigation pending adjudication before a judicial magistrate and an application before the Sindh High Court. The European Union's commissioner for external affairs, Chris Patten, told European parliamentarians on Thursday that the EU had asked Pakistan to show rapid developments on the issue of Tasman Spirit's crew, as it was very important for EU interests.
The KPT's legal team is also opposed to further delay on the matter of the crew and wanted it to be decide in one way or another, an official close to the litigation process in criminal and civil matters told Daily Times on Friday.
On April 17 a judicial magistrate court is set to arraign the crew in the case of criminal negligence registered by the KPT with Docks police. The hearing of acquittal applications of the crewmembers, except the master, is also fixed for the same date. Although the magistrate's court had allowed bail to the crewmembers last year, it barred the crew from leaving the country until a final verdict announced in the criminal trial.
Source: www.dailytimes.com.pk, by Maqbool Ahmed, 9 Apr 04


EU to deliver another demarche to Pakistan
---BRUSSELS: The European Union (EU), bloc of 25 European states, intends to deliver yet another strongly-worded demarche to Pakistan if Pakistani foreign minister's promise to show rapid development on the Greek oil tanker Tasman Spirit's crew imbroglio is not translated into action, a senior European Union official told The News after EU Commissioner on external relations Chris Patten shared his "deep concern" on the issue with European parliamentarians in Brussels.
The European Union has already delivered a diplomatic message to Government of Pakistan demanding safe return home of the crew of MV Tasman Spirit, the Greek run tanker that sank off Karachi, causing millions of dollars environmental damage to Pakistan, Patten indicated in his address to the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy (AFET).
European Union Commissioner for external relations Chris Patten told European parliamentarians that despite several such communications addressed to Islamabad, "the Government of Pakistan is not taking the issue of Tasman Spirit crew seriously". He said, "We have made it clear to Islamabad that this kind of response would not help in our relations with Pakistan".
Based on his last week's meeting in Berlin with the Pakistani foreign minister, the European Union commissioner, however, sounded a note of optimism, saying, "I raised this issue with the foreign minister Kasuri in Berlin last week and he has promised a rapid development on the case".
Patten said, "We have asked Pakistan to show rapid development on Tasman Spirit issue as it is very important for Europe's maritime interests". Greek members of the European parliament want to link the issue of Tasman Spirit crew to the ratification of the EU-Pakistan Third Generation Agreement which is under consideration at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament on a request from Pakistan.
This week's voting on a procedural issue aimed at vindicating Pakistan's democracy showed a tilt in favour of Pakistan. Diplomats in Brussels view Tasman Spirit crew issue crucial to the final round of voting on the long pending parliamentary ratification of the EU-Pakistan Third Generation Cooperation Agreement.
The final round of voting at the foreign relations committee will be held on April 14. "All efforts of ambassador Tariq Fatemi and high commissioner Dr Maleeha Lodhi in mobilising MEPs' support from the UK and other member states of the European Union would go down the drain, if Pakistan fails to provide some acceptable solution to the problem faced by Tasman Spirit crew," a Greek MEP opined.
Claiming that restrictions on the return of Tasman Spirit crew constitute a case of human rights violation, several MEPs have formally conveyed to the head of the EP Committee that the process to ratify the EU-Pakistan Third Generation Agreement should be suspended till such time that Kauri's promise to resolve MV Tasman Spirit crew problem is translated into action."
Article-1 of the EU-Pakistan Third Generation Agreement warrants a satisfactory level of democracy and human rights in Pakistan. The Greek foreign ministry has reported to the European Union Council of Ministers that the Pakistani ambassador to Greece was called in to the foreign ministry in Athens to convey the government's "deep concern for the Greek crew" of the MV Tasman Spirit, which broke apart on August 14 last year outside the Arabian Sea port.
Pakistan is being asked for immediate lifting of the ban on the crew to leave the country. Tasman Spirit crew - four Greeks and three Filipinos - were allowed by a Pakistani court to post bail but barred them from leaving the country until a court hands down its verdict on the case. The crewmembers face criminal charges for negligence in navigation and endangering lives.
"The Tasman Spirit crew members are living comfortably in a five star hotel of Karachi," a Pakistani official said. Environmentalists and leaders of civil society in Europe view the European Union demand as unjust.
They support compensation to the country which suffered huge environmental loss because of the Greek oil tanker which broke into two, leaking thousands of tons crude oil and killing wild life.
The Greek-run tanker sank after running aground in a shallow channel, leaking 28,000 tones of crude oil into the water. Pakistani authorities reportedly plan to claim $ one billion in damages from the tanker's Greek managers, Polembros Shipping. But Polembros blame the Karachi port's pilot for the accident and said they are considering whether to ask British courts to seize Pakistani assets abroad to force the crew's release.
Source: http://jang.com.pk, By Zia Iqbal Shahid, 9 Apr 04


Festival subsidiary wins reprieve
Source: Fairplay Daily News, 8 Apr 04


Stelmar invites to join its 1q 2004 earnings conference call
---In conjunction with Stelmar Shipping Ltd.'s first quarter 2004 earnings announcement, you are invited to listen to management's conference call to discuss the Company's results on April 21, 2004 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. It will also be broadcast live over the Internet. Nick Hartley, Chairman; Peter Goodfellow, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Stamatis Molaris, Chief Financial Officer of Stelmar Shipping Ltd. will lead the call.
WHAT: Stelmar Shipping Ltd. First Quarter 2004 Conference Call
WHEN: Wednesday, April 21, 2004 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time
WHERE: There are two ways to access the call:
United States Dial-in: (800) 946-0713
International Dial-in: (719) 457-2642
Please dial in at least 10 minutes prior to 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time to ensure a prompt start to the call.
Live webcast: Click on the link below and register:
https://cis.premconf.com/sc/scw.dll/usr?cid=vlllrwmrldsvdxd
If you are unable to participate at this time, a replay of the call will be available until midnight on May 4, 2004. United States callers can dial (888) 203-1112; international callers please dial (719) 457-0820. The access code required for the replay is 346172.
(Minimum requirements to listen to broadcast: the RealPlayer software, downloadable free from http://www.real.com/products/player/index.html, and at least a 14.4 Kbps connection to the Internet.)
To pre-register your attendance on the call, please contact Olga Lambrianidou via e-mail at ogl@athens.stelmar.com or via telephone in Athens at 011-30210-891-7252.
About Stelmar Shipping Ltd.
Stelmar Shipping Ltd. is an international provider of petroleum product and crude oil transportation services. Headquartered in Athens, Greece, Stelmar operates one of the world's largest and most modern Handymax and Panamax tanker fleets with an average age of approximately seven years, excluding the newbuildings. With the delivery of five vessels expected by July 2004, and assuming no disposals, the Company's fleet of 36 tankers will expand to 41, which includes two leased Aframax vessels. Following the delivery of all the newbuildings, the average age of Stelmar's total fleet will be reduced to six years. The Company, through its maintenance of a modern fleet and commitment to safety, has earned an excellent reputation for providing transportation services to major oil companies, oil traders and state-owned oil companies.
Source: Stelmar Shipping Ltd., 7 Apr 04


Celebrity Cruises Names Vice President, Marine Operations
---Celebrity Cruises today named international shipping executive John Krousouloudis vice president of Marine Operations. He will oversee all nautical and technical operations as well as safety and environment issues for Celebrity's award-winning fleet of 10 ships. He will report to Dietmar Wertanzl, Celebrity's senior vice president of Fleet Operations.
Krousouloudis, 50, brings to Celebrity 28 years of shipping and business experience in Europe and the United States, including 17 years as an engineer and systems manager with Exxon Corporation in Houston, Texas. Prior to that, he served as group vice president in Greece and England for ABS Group (American Bureau of Shipping), a risk consulting, engineering and management systems company.
In 1999, Krousouloudis became chief operating officer and general manager of AVIN International, a Greek operator of 32 oil tankers trading worldwide. He improved acceptance of fleet vessels by major oil companies by raising the level of service through new management systems and performance criteria, introduced effective cost controls and obtained environmental certifications.
Krousouloudis returned to Houston in 2003 as president of Athenian Energy, serving major oil clients such as ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco. "We are extremely pleased to have John join the Celebrity team," said Wertanzl. "With AVIN, he demonstrated great capabilities in managing a fleet on a global scale and creating a company culture that provided superior service while controlling costs. This makes him a great fit for Celebrity in our quest to be recognized as the undisputed leader in the premium cruise category."
Krousouloudis earned a B.E. in naval architecture from the State University of New York / Maritime College, and an M.B.A. in transportation from Michigan State University. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve (1981-88). He is a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.
Celebrity Cruises is the industry's highest-rated premium cruise brand with a taste of luxury. The cruise line has 10 ships in its fleet, which is the youngest of any major line. Celebrity sails in the Arctic, Alaska, Antarctic, Bermuda, California, the Caribbean, Europe, the Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera, the Panama Canal and South America. For more information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111, or visit the Celebrity web site at www.celebrity.com
Source: Celebrity Cruises, 12 Apr 04