Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 28 - 2004

 

Greek-flagged bulk carrier, suspected of pollution, diverted to French port

---A Greek-flagged bulk carrier was ordered to head for the port of Brest in western France Wednesday after it was suspected of polluting the sea off the Brittany coast, authorities said.
The 225-meter-long (680-foot) Diamantis Captain, registered in Greece's main port of Piraeus, was spotted by a French Navy aircraft early Wednesday trailing a slick 2.8 kilometers (1.8 mile) long and 30 meters (90 feet) wide some 330 kilometers (210 miles) southwest of the Brittany coast.
The vessel was en route to the Moroccan port of Jorf Lasfar from the Polish border town of Swinoujscie.
French authorities said they had photographic evidence of the marine pollution and said the captain of the carrier would have to post bond before being allowed to continue his voyage.
Source: www.terradaily.com, BREST, France (AFP) Jul 07, 2004


Criminalisation of seafarers 'turning young recruits away'
---Legislative threat seems to be hitting recruitment drives, writes Janet Porter- Friday July 09 2004
SHIPOWNERS' worst fears about the impact of criminalising polluters may be coming true, with early signs that the attraction of a career at sea is fading in some major seafaring countries.
The experience of the Prestigemaster Apostolos Mangouras, who faces charges in Spain, and the crew of the Tasman Spirit, detained in Pakistan for nine months, appear to be hitting recruitment drives.
With moves in Europe to bring in legislation that would criminalise seafarers working on ships involved in an oil spill, the industry has been warning for some time that young people could turn their backs on the profession.
The first indications that this is already happening emerged this week when the London Steam-Ship Owners' Mutual Insurance Association heard from one of its members involved in crewing that job enquiries in the Philippines for officer positions were down.
A recent series of advertisements promoting careers in the maritime industry failed to draw the usual level of response, the member told the P&I club's committee that consists of leading shipowners and shipmanagers from around the world.
"This is just what we predicted," said club chairman John M Lyras, of Lyras Maritime, who is extremely alarmed about the implications for shipping at a time when the world fleet is set to grow enormously.
With proposals to impose criminal sanctions on those found responsible for maritime pollution at a critical stage in Europe, Mr Lyras said it was "time to ring the bells" and alert legislators to the risks of taking such draconian action.
Although this first evidence that the threat of jail may be discouraging interest in a sea-going career is purely anecdotal, shipowners are in little doubt that the high profile cases of the Prestigeand Tasman Spirit are largely to blame. The industry has been trying to highlight the dangers for some time, with International Maritime Organisation secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos spelling out his opposition to the criminalisation of seafarers in no uncertain terms during Posidonia week.
"My concern is for the impact that any decision to criminalise polluters might have on serving seafarers as well as on the youngsters we are trying to attract to the maritime profession to serve the world merchant fleet at a time when we need them to command and man ships of great size and value which, if not in the hands of first-class seafarers, have the potential to cause safety and pollution problems of unimaginable dimensions," he warned.
Epaminondas Embiricos, chairman of the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee, made exactly the same point.
"Criminalisation of accidental pollution would constitute a huge disincentive to those young men and women thinking of joining the seafaring profession," he argued in a speech last month.
The European Commission's proposal would seriously undermine recruitment and has also encouraged the Spanish government in its "unjustifiable action" of keeping Capt Mangouras in detention for so long.
Mr Lyras echoed those sentiments this week when he claimed that the European Commission's efforts to improve the quality of shipping could have the opposite effect.
Well-qualified ship personnel could turn their back on the profession rather than risk being thrown in prison, he predicted.
That does not mean crews will not be found to man ocean-going ships.
But there could a worrying drop in standards if crewing agents are no longer able to attract the right calibre of people to the industry because it is perceived as "a dirty profession", Mr Lyras told Lloyd's List.
"Ships will still get crewed, but by whom and at what cost?" he asked.
Source: Lloyd's List, Friday July 09 2004


Marine academy students to be allowed to take job in Greece
---Manpower export to Greece is likely to begin soon as the tussle between two ministries that stalled the process ended yesterday.
Minister for Shipping Akbar Hossain and State Minister for Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Mohammad Quamrul Islam discussed the issue and agreed to close the 'communication gap' between their ministries that led to the stalemate, sources said.
"There was some communication gap between us and we have resolved it through discussion," Quamrul Islam told The Daily Star.
The ministries agreed to allow export of manpower for marine sector jobs only in case of people who received training at the marine academy or seamen training centre in Chittagong.
The shipping ministry will provide a list of trained workers to the oversees employment ministry to send it to recruiting agencies.
Sources mentioned over 5,000 trained seamen are now looking for jobs.
The tussle between the two ministries surfaced following an advertisement by a private recruiting agency for sending 159 workers for jobs in a shipping company in Greece.
A government handout said the advertisement was illegal and asked people not to respond to it.
The oversees employment ministry requested the Shipping ministry to withdraw the handout but it did not.
Officials hoped the recruiting company, Rabbi International, would now be able send workers to Greece.
About withdrawal of the handout, they said it might not be required if the company does not face any difficulties in exporting workers.
Mohammad Bashir, proprietor of the company, however sought withdrawal of the handout to 'restore goodwill' of his firm. "I am in a complex situation as my line company already indicated it would not allow us to send workers unless the handout is withdrawn," he said.
Meanwhile, the recruiting agency has already cancelled interview of workers that was supposed to begin yesterday and several hundred people went back frustrated.
Source: www.thedailystar.net, by Rafiq Hasan, Thu. July 08, 2004


Greeks welcome OCIMF initiative
---The initial reactions of some of the leading Greek tanker operators to the Tanker Management and Self Assessment guide drawn up by OCIMF is overwhelmingly positive - even though none has had a chance to examine the monitoring regime in detail.
The consensus seems to be that for companies that already have internal auditing systems in place, the new voluntary self-regulation should be easily applied.
George Procopiou, whose company Dynacom controls a fleet of some 25 tankers and has a further dozen on order, says he believes it is a good initiative and should develop a basis of trust.
He believes companies that have worked for many years with the oil majors are well aware of their requirements and able to judge what is necessary to comply with them.
Although he reserves detailed comment until after he has read the 40-page guide, Procopiou dismisses the idea that implementation of the system might be more difficult for smaller companies.
"It is not the size, it is the culture of the companies that is important in this respect. When safety and environmental protection is the culture of the company, you have the structures and the procedures, so it is possible to be self-regulated," he said.
Emmanuel Vordonis, vice-chairman of Thenamaris Ship Management, has also been deeply involved in Intertanko's discussions on key performance indicators. He says he is "extremely positive" about the OCIMF move.
"This is a system that has got internal mechanisms of integrity by its nature and by its structure, so I am very happy to hear that it is coming out," he said.
Vordonis also points out that company size is not an issue. "People who want to be professional, good performers, irrespective of one or a hundred ships, would be happy to demonstrate their positive performance," he said.
Harry Hadjimichael of Tsakos, another group that already has internal audit procedures in place, comments that for the last several years oil majors have been vetting not just ships but also the operating companies.
Smaller companies, he believes, will have to adopt the system if they want major charterers to take their vessels.
He adds that what OCIMF says, "is the bible to us".
"We learned a long time ago that we cannot ignore them and we cannot change their minds, so the best way of doing things is to try to comply with the requirements," he said. "It so happens that it is helping us as well to monitor our systems."
Stavros Hatzigrigoris, who is managing director of the Angelicoussis group's tanker-management arm, Kristen Navigation, believes the system will help to improve standards in the industry.
Christos Kanellakis of Alpha Tankers & Freighters is reserving judgement until he learns more about the system but says it sounds interesting.
Greek owners currently control a hefty 23.9% of all oil tankers worldwide and 22.4% of the total world dwt in the sector. They also control 8.5% of chemical carriers and products tankers (15.3% of total dwt), with substantial chunks of tonnage in the hands of a few large companies.
In recent years there has been a huge upsurge in the number of tanker-newbuilding orders placed by Greek-controlled players and the age profile of the Greek tanker fleet has been dramatically reduced, with 50% of tankers now under 10 years of age.
Source: www.tradewinds.no, by Gillian Whittaker, published: 09 July 2004


Salvors' prime role in protecting Europe from pollution
---The European Union must work closely with the salvage industry in developing antipollution response capabilities within Europe, according to salvor George Tsavliris. At the same time a harmonised approach to salvage with that of global bodies, particularly the International Maritime Organisation (Imo) must be adopted to ensure salvage resources are most effectively used.
Tsavliris told a two-day workshop on oil pollution response in the EU organised by the European Maritime Safety Agency, (EMSA) that a cost-efficient use of resources coupled with the right expertise meant the EU ought to seek standby agreements with experienced international salvors which already kept tugs in strategic locations.
Referring to the criminilisation of seafarers, Tsavliris deliberately took a leaf out of the book regarding Pakistan's treatment of Tsavliris' technical manager Nikos Pappas, who was unlawfully detained for nine months but finally released in the Tasman Spirit case off Karachi and contradicted it with the still unresolved two-years of detention in Spain of Apostolos Magouras master of the Prestige, and called for EU to act more drastically.
Tsavliris also called on leading salvage firms to cooperate more in order to provide antipollution coverage for European requirements. "Working arrangements can be effective if there is a positive commitment by all parties and official organisations on a regional as well as international level," he said. "There also needs to be good exchange of information among European states regarding their preparedness and response plans for oil pollution but there also needs to be international uniformity, with a legal requirement for identification of ports of refuge," he added.
Tsavliris emphasised the role played by the international salvage industry, pointing to International Salvage Union data which shows ISU members recover about 1m tonnes of pollutants annually during salvage operations.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 8 Jul 2004


Are fares fair for ferries?
---The efforts the Merchant Marine Ministry is making to keep ferry fares down to levels that even the less prosperous can afford is praiseworthy.
It is a good pro-people policy, but only on condition that it does not hinder the development of coastal shipping which, in a country largely composed of islands, is the backbone of tourism and a vital link between islands and mainland.
If the government is planning a new boost for tourism, one of its first concerns must be comfortable, civilized, rapid and - above all - safe transport to the islands.
Major efforts have been made to break away from the ship speeds that obtained in the 1950s and '60s. But this achievement will come at a high price.
If we want to get around on faster ships, we must be ready to pay that price.
A more general question arises, one of economic philosophy. Social policy is one thing, and prices are another, quite different, thing. Every government is obliged to implement a social or social welfare policy. However, it cannot do that by means of intervening in prices. It cannot, for example, reduce electricity or telephone bills for reasons of social policy.
Whenever such a proceeding was attempted, both utilities languished, precisely at a time when increased demand called for major investment and modernization.
Prices (of medicines and equipment) in public hospitals bear no relation to cost and are subsidized by the State. Subsidizing prices is a social policy, but it inevitably can do no more than keep services operating at a very low level.
In the past, at times of pseudo-socialist elation, social policy and price policy were often confused, causing great damage to the economy and eventually disadvantaging the poorer classes.
Prices are not shaped by chance or will. It is the government's duty to ensure stable, transparent terms of competition in every sector, including that of coastal shipping.
This has proved to be the best method of achieving a reasonable relationship between price and cost.
Source: www.ekathimerini.com, 8 Jul 04


Behind a big fat Greek divorce
---Mystery surrounds the move of Gerassimos Strintzis from Blue Star Maritime to Hellas Flying Dolphins. But a look at the Greek ferry sector's finances, and a history of gentlemen's agreements and consolidation, provide more than a few clues
A month ago, the idea of Gerassimos Strintzis leaving his ferry company Blue Star Maritime to go to rival Hellas Flying Dolphins would have seemed a most unlikely development. Yet he quit on 8 June as chairman and CEO of the market leader, Blue Star, which from 2000 to 2002 took delivery on five ro-pax newbuilding ferries and yet boasts the lowest debt leverage of all Greek ferry companies. And now he's running HFD. Why? The answer must be sought first in his relationship with Pericles Panagopoulos, the boss of Attica Holdings, which owns Superfast Ferries. In 1999, Panagopoulos acquired a 48.6% stake in Blue Star (formerly Strintzis Lines) giving him control of the Athens-listed company. Strintzis no longer had the power to make strategic decisions for the company he created. Apart from differences in management style between the two men, lately Panagopoulos has developed plans that might not have met with the approval of Strintzis. Addressing the general shareholders' meeting of Attica Holdings on 3 June, Panagopoulos spoke of innovative initiatives, creation of new markets, new destinations and new opportunities he was developing. He added that he would announce his decisions in due time.
Five days later, Strintzis resigned for what he called personal reasons. He also resigned from the board of Attica and from every post he held in the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the Union of Coastal Shipowners and the Association of Passenger Ship Enterprises. For a time, it looked as if he wished to disappear from Greece's shipping scene. Once he resigned from Blue Star, many market watchers foresaw his move to HFS. Indeed, Strintzis did not stay unemployed for long. On 17 June, he was appointed CEO of HFS. There was no rebellion at the HFD meeting, which unanimously assigned the top management post to Strintzis. His task will be to restructure the company and accelerate its recovery from the sinking of its ferry Express Samina in September 2000. Strintzis has plenty of the right experience for the job, but he will be facing a conflict of interests: he and his brother Anthony both retain minority stakes in Blue Star. His new and old company are competitors. Linking Piraeus with a dozen Cycladic islands, among Greece's most popular tourist destinations, is the core operation for both Blue Star and HFD. Blue Star has 44% of the market; HFD, NEL Lines and GA Ferries have the rest, in that order.
So to succeed in his job, Strintzis will have to increase HFD's market share, at the detriment of Blue Star. The move by Strintzis must also be examined in the context of corporate actions in a sector that since 1999 has continuously reviewed options to restructure and gone a long way towards consolidation. Five years ago, the Greek ferry market was made up of many independent operators and five publicly listed companies: Attica Holdings, Blue Star, Minoan Lines, Anek Lines and NEL. These, together with HFD, have gradually dominated the market, buying out the independents or forcing them to service only secondary routes. Just one independent has survived, retaining the strength to compete with the big six: GA Ferries and its boss Gerassimos Agoudimos. Household names with decades of tradition in the ferry business - Nomikos, Moulopoulos, Moiras, Lazopoulos, Stathakis, Tyrogalas, Kavounides, Frangoudakis and Efthymiadis - have vanished.
Having eliminated competition from family-owned companies, the big six began joining forces with each other. Attica controls Blue Star, Minoan has a 31% controlling stake in HFD and Anek holds 16% of NEL's shares. Two years ago, Blue Star and Anek, as well as HFD and NEL, tried to merge. Both attempts failed, which was attributed to differences in asset evaluation. But last month, Minoan's chairman Constantinos Klironomos invited the fellow Cretan company Anek to discuss co-operation options. Banks are thought to be pushing the merger attempts in the belief that consolidation within the ferry sector would ease repayment of loans. But the ferry companies have attributed the merger drive to the need for greater strength to withstand competition or hostile takeovers by foreign operators. Yet so far, no serious threat of outside competition has publicly materialised, even though the Greek ferry market has been open under EU law since the start of this year. That is because in practice there remains the hurdle of Greek legislation, whose compatibility with EU law is under investigation by Brussels and which impedes the arrival of foreign ferry companies.
Host-state manning rules
The domestic legislation includes provisions that give the government the right to apply host-state manning rules, impose public service obligations and control fares. So there is just one case of a foreign operator expressing concrete interest in the Greek market. According to the Greek shipping ministry, the UK-based company Ocean Star has declared its intention to start operating in Greece in November, with one ro-pax ferry and two passenger-only catamarans. The ministry would not divulge further information to Fairplay about the enterprise. However, Italian shipowner Romano Artioli, who controls the Adriatic ferry operation Maritime Way, has emerged as suitor of Minoan Lines, Fairplay has learned. He has gathered eight per cent of Minoan's stock, is represented with two seats on the Cretan company's 12-seat board and might be in a position to take over Minoan if he gains control of more stock.
Heavy bank borrowing
Anek, NEL and recently Minoan have had loans rescheduled by means of reduction of annual repayment for the next five years. Prospects for fresh funding now look good, because all the ferry companies reported profits for 2003. As they struggle with debt servicing, the ferry operators feel frustration with fixed fares imposed by the government. Invoking the EU law, the operators argue that they are free to set the price of their service and are determined to do so in defiance of the new government's warning of penal and administrative punishment. A meeting between their representative body, the Union of Coastal Ship Owners (UCSO), and shipping minister Manolis Kefaloyannis produced no compromise on fares. The minister has insisted that raising fares would be illegal and punishable, while operators have threatened a lock-out if any member of the UCSO is punished. The odds are against Kefaloyannis: the government cannot afford a disruption of ferry services on the eve of the Summer Olympic Games.
Market and fleet statistics
The Greek ferry network is made up of 273 lines. One-third of them service Piraeus-island links and employ 110 ro-pax ferries and passenger-car catamarans that carry 39M passengers and 9M vehicles a year. The rest of the lines service short-haul routes and use about 100 passenger-only catamarans and hydrofoils, plus 160 open-type ferries resembling landing craft.
The average age of the ferry fleet is 19 years.
The ferry sector employs 6,000 seafarers and 1,500 office staff.
Source: Greek shipping ministry
New faces at Blue Star Maritime
The departure of Gerassimos Strintzis from Blue Star Maritime prompted a board shake-up.
The new board is as follows:
Charalambos Paschalis, chairman and non-executive member
Michalis Gialouris, vice-chairman and executive member
Michalis Sakellis, MD and executive member
Spiros Paschalis, authorised director and executive member
Alexander Panagopoulos, director and executive member
Anthony D. Strintzis, director and executive member
Pericles Panagopoulos, director and executive member
Dimitrios Klados, director and independent non-executive member
Emmanouel Kalpadakis, director and independent non-executive member
Who's who
(Note: the criterion for these listings was a person's decision-making power rather than rank. For example, Anek's chairman is a Greek Orthodox bishop, but the post is honorary and carries no executive power. Another example: Klironomos is chairman of both Minoan and HFD, but is Minoan's indisputable boss while being restricted at HFD by a rule requiring that important decisions be endorsed by two-thirds of board members.)
Name: Pericles Panagopoulos (69), Chairman of Attica Holdings
Athens-quoted Attica controls Superfast Ferries and Blue Star Maritime. Superfast operates eight ro-pax ferries built after 2001. They ply routes between Greece and Italy, Germany and Finland, as well as between Scotland and Belgium. Blue Star focuses on Greek islands routes with 10 ro-pax ferries, five of which are newbuildings.
The Superfast fleet originally had 12 ferries, but cash problems dictated the sale of four, three to Australia (TT-Line) and one to Italy (Grimaldi). Panagopoulos promised surprises to shareholders through "innovative initiatives".
Name: Constantinos Klironomos (64), Chairman of Minoan Lines
Minoan operates between home island Crete and Piraeus, as well as between Greece and Italy, using eight ro-pax ferries. Minoan planned $670M in newbuildings with seven ferries but was forced to cancel one order and sell two of its newbuildings to avoid debt default. He holds controlling stake in HFD and is interested in joining forces with fellow Cretan Anek.
Name: Gerassimos Strintzis (53), CEO of Hellas Flying Dolphins
The company was stigmatised by the Express Samina accident. HFD operates the largest and most diversified ferry fleet in Greece, with catamarans, ro-pax ferries, hydrofoils and ro-ros totalling 44 ships. The company returned to profitability after three years in the red as a result of Samina repercussions. It was the only Greek ferry company to order a newbuilding (an 85m ro-pax catamaran at Austal to be named Highspeed5) since the turn of the century.
HFD is keen to go public in Athens.
Name: Yannis Vadinoyannis (55), MD of Anek Lines
Stock-listed Cretan operator started as a joint-stock company, setting a trend for many similar initiatives from island communities. Anek operates 11 ro-pax ferries in Greece and on the Adriatic market. It plans to acquire two more ferries for its Piraeus-Chania operation, where it has lost a sizeable market share to Blue Star
Name: Apostolos Athinaios (60), CEO of NEL Lines
The smallest of Athens-listed ferry companies is based on Lesvos Island. It operates on the domestic market three Alstom-built passenger-car fast monohulls and three ro-pax ferries. NEL holds a 70% stake in ro-ro operator Med Link, which runs a freight service between Patras and Brindisi, using three vessels.
TIMELINE:
Significant events in Greece's ferry sector December 1966: The sinking of Iraklion killed 226 people, the worst recorded maritime accident in Greek waters. It prompted inhabitants of Crete, home of most of the victims, to contribute money towards creating their own company to halt dependence on rogue operators who offered overpriced service on unsafe ferries. Thus, Anek Lines was born as joint-stock company. In a few years, every major Greek island had its own joint-stock ferry company, in the free market that then prevailed. Few have survived today.
June 1976: The number of ferry companies had increased so much that the government stepped in to stop destructive competition. The controversial operating licence was introduced, under which the government decided who operated where, and at what price. The market controls survived until 2002.
September 1985: The government-owned bank ETBA established the first (and last) state-controlled ferry enterprise, Hellenic Coastal, to operate vessels seized by banks from bankrupt operators. Hellenic itself went bankrupt in 1991. April 1995: Attica Enterprises started operating on the Adriatic, with two newbuilding ferries. The impact on the market, until then dominated by old ferries, was so strong: competitors were forced to follow suit, which sparked a major renewal of the Greek fleet.
April 1999: Attica acquired Blue Star Maritime (then Strintzis Lines), sparking a period of intense consolidation. Flying Dolphins (at the time Minoan Flying Dolphins) launched a buyout, swallowing 20 independent operators and building a fleet of 74 vessels. This was also a period of mass ferry ordering, on the back of money drawn from the stock market.
September 2000: The sinking of Express Samina killed 80 people. There has yet to be a trial in the case.
April 2002: Legislation passed in response to Samina was aimed at lifting restrictions from the market. Operators claimed the law failed to go far enough in liberalising the sector. They were furious at a provision setting a 30-year age limit for ferries and continued government control on fares.
January 2004: The 12-year EU grace period expired. It had granted Greece a delay in about applying EU legislation on ferry cabotage services. Greece has yet to comply with the EU cabotage law, risking court action by Brussels.
Source: Cover Story, Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, 08 Jul 2004


TOP Tankers Inc. files Initial Public Offering of Shares
---TOP Tankers Inc. today announced that it has filed a Registration Statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with its proposed initial public offering of 13,330,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share, of which 1,071,430 shares are being offered by a selling shareholder. The offering price is expected to be between $13 and $15 per share. Sales to the public are expected to commence in July 2004.
The offering will be led by Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., Hibernia Southcoast Capital, HARRISdirect and Alpha Finance US Corporation. A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective. This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction.
When available, a copy of the prospectus pertaining to the offering may be obtained from Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., 135 East 57th Street, New York, New York or by calling its syndicate department at (212) 829-4803.
About TOP Tankers Inc.
Headquartered in Athens, Greece, TOP Tankers Inc. is a ship-owning and operating company serving the petroleum products and crude oil transportation sectors of the international shipping industry. TOP Tankers currently operates a fleet of seven tankers and has entered into agreements to purchase 10 additional tankers.
For further information, please contact: Stamatis N. Tsantanis, Chief Financial Officer of TOP Tankers Inc., 011-30210-6930-288; or Michael Mason of Allen & Caron Inc, +1-212-691-8087, for TOP Tankers Inc.
Source: TOP Tankers Inc., ATHENS, Greece, 7 July 2004


Vafias joins with North Star to form Chinese subsidiary
---THE Vafias group, an operator of both bulk carriers and tankers, has established a new offshoot in China together with a Greek broking house.
The company, Eastern Star Maritime, has been set up in Qingdao and is described as a joint venture between Brave Bulk Transport of Australia, a Vafias group operating affiliate, and the independent broker North Star Shipping.
Activities said to include chartering, commodity trading, futures trading, contracts of affreightment with lead- ing Chinese companies and shipmanagement are due to start on August 1.
The new company will be headed by former China Ocean Shipping director Philip Want Ting.
Eastern Star is to be represented outside China by Vinos Kumar, chief executive of BBT.
Company spokesman Harry Vafias said the Greek shipping group saw the move as 'very important for diversification, expansion in China and expansion of our trading arm in both wet and dry markets'.
The group, which manages bulkers under its traditional Brave Maritime company and a tanker fleet under the Stealth Maritime sister firm, launched BBT last autumn as an independent dry cargo charter- ing and bulk trading business.
Source: Europe Intelligence Wire, 07/08/2004 06:26 pm