Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 32 - 2004

 

Greeks push the boat out

---Greek owners seem to be spending more money on fewer vessels. A new report shows that while they ordered significantly less newbuildings in the first half of 2004 than last year, the amount of money invested is about the same. Just 82 ships worth $3.1Bn were ordered in the first six months of this year, compared to 108 worth $3.9Bn in 2003. The frenetic activity of the last 12 months has undoubtedly subsided, but prices have also shot up in line with the rising cost of raw materials. The Greeks' traditional vessels of choice, tankers and bulkers, cost almost $10M more than they did at the end of 2003. Clarksons estimate that a Capesize bulk carrier currently costs about $56M, $8M more than the end of last year, and a VLCC is about $90M, up from $77M. Slightly smaller tankers, such as Suezmaxes and Aframaxes, both cost almost $10M more.
Marmaras has 10 tankers on order and Tsakos has an impressive 14. Other well-established Greek owners such as Barclay, Lotus, Minerva and Thenamaris have a string of oil and product tankers on order at various Korean yards. In terms of bulkers, Greece now has at least 60 on order. Hellespont Steamship is reportedly poised to order six Panamax product carriers from China in the hope of capitalizing on spiraling oil prices. It's apparently managed to secure the reasonably early delivery date of between 2005 and 2007, and these will be Hellespont's first newbuildings since it sold off all its owned ships in April. Fellow owner Transmed is believed to be in talks with several Japanese and Korean builders over six Capesize bulkers. Transmed has been building up its fleet since last summer when it ordered a 174,000dwt ship and it now has at least three Capesizes on order at Bohai Shipbuilding. High freight rates have allowed many owners to return massive profits and so most have plenty of money to invest in newbuildings. But those who don't feel the need to expand their fleets are probably shrewd enough to wait until the market cools down and prices fall accordingly. Those who have received new vessels in the last few months are probably rather proud of the fact that they bought them for virtually half of today's price.
Source: www.fairplay.co.uk, 05 Aug 2004


Attica Enterprises in move on ferry operator HDF
---Greece's domestic ferry market is in for another shakeup, with Attica Enterprises' Pericles Panagopulos the central figure. After weeks of rumours, AE appears on the verge of acquiring a major stake in Hellas Flying Dolphins, Greece's largest passenger ship company.
AE, already a strong player in the marketplace through Blue Star Ferries, has the backing of HFD's leading banker, Piraeus Bank. AE has reportedly acquired the near 11% stake of businessman Philippos Vryonis with subjects to be lifted August 16. The subjects are said to involve clearing the Vryonis stake, which has reportedly been used to guarantee other business dealings.
If a deal is struck, AE's chairman, Panagopulos will be re-linked with Gerassimos Strintzis, who quit as chairman and ceo of Blue Star and resigned his seat on the AE board early June to take over as md of HFD, an appointment also strongly supported by Piraeus Bank. Panagopulos at the time expressed his disappointment, but Strintzis' decision sent a buzz through the passenger ship sector, with all sorts of scenario circulating. Analysts now believe AE will be in the market for more shares with a view to eventually gaining control of HFD.
HFD, which operates a diversified fleet of over 60 vessels, primarily under the Hellas Ferries and Saronicos Ferries banners, is itself the result of a massive consolidation in the passenger ship sector some four to five years back when 20 companies were merged.
Greece's domestic ferry market is in for another shakeup, with Attica Enterprises' Pericles Panagopulos the central figure. After weeks of rumours, AE appears on the verge of acquiring a major stake in Hellas Flying Dolphins, Greece's largest passenger ship company.
AE, already a strong player in the marketplace through Blue Star Ferries, has the backing of HFD's leading banker, Piraeus Bank. AE has reportedly acquired the near 11% stake of businessman Philippos Vryonis with subjects to be lifted August 16. The subjects are said to involve clearing the Vryonis stake, which has reportedly been used to guarantee other business dealings.
If a deal is struck, AE's chairman, Panagopulos will be re-linked with Gerassimos Strintzis, who quit as chairman and ceo of Blue Star and resigned his seat on the AE board early June to take over as md of HFD, an appointment also strongly supported by Piraeus Bank. Panagopulos at the time expressed his disappointment, but Strintzis' decision sent a buzz through the passenger ship sector, with all sorts of scenario circulating. Analysts now believe AE will be in the market for more shares with a view to eventually gaining control of HFD.
HFD, which operates a diversified fleet of over 60 vessels, primarily under the Hellas Ferries and Saronicos Ferries banners, is itself the result of a massive consolidation in the passenger ship sector some four to five years back when 20 companies were merged.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 6 Aug 04


Promised loan from Dane Sea Line saviour fails to appear
---The survival of Greek passenger-shipping company Dane Sea Line has turned into a cliffhanger over the past week, as funds from a promised EUR 10m ($12m) loan appear not to have been deposited with the company.
Local reports last week suggested that an American finance institution called IM Capital that had pledged the money to ailing Dane had said it would immediately put up part of the amount so the company could pay off crew who are holding its only serviceable ship, the 12,500-gt Diagoras (built 1990).
If the vessel was not put into service by this week it risked losing the routeing licence issued by the shipping ministry.
Greek shipping minister Manolis Kefaloyannis said this week that solutions were being examined for the company.
Meanwhile, Attica Group chairman Pericles Panagopulos had made an offer of EUR 17m for the Diagoras that expired on 2 August. The owner tells TradeWinds he was approached for an extension and granted the company a further 24 hours but as of Wednesday he had received no response from Dane.
Repeated attempts to contact Gabriella Tramboulet, IM Capital's representative in Greece who has been put in at the head of Dane, have proved unsuccessful.
The buzz in Piraeus, however, suggests that the loan to Dane might never materialise, while it appears the company hasmissed the opportunity of raising funds from the sale of the ship.
One leading member of the community likened the situation surrounding Dane to "science fiction".
Another passenger-shipping expert said it seemed that the scenario of revitalising Dane after years of struggling to keep the company afloat was just "a bubble."
Dane was listed on the Athens Stock Exchange in 1994 but its share was suspended from trading in 1998 after its former chairman was arrested on charges of embezzlement.
Cretan passengership operator Anek Lines owns a 42% stake in the company.
Source: www.tradewinds.no, Gillian Whittaker Athens, published: 06 August 2004


Elder Bush to bunk on luxury cruise ship during Athens Olympics
---ATHENS (AFP) - Former US president George Bush, the leader of the US delegation to the 2004 Olympics, will lodge during his Athens stay aboard a luxury cruise ship parked in the neighboring port of Piraeus, the Greek navy said.
Bush, father to current US President George W. Bush, is one of several "top-level guests" who will be housed aboard cruise ships in the port during the August 13-29 Games, the ministry added.
President Bush last month named his father, his mother Barbara and his twin daughters Jenna and Barbara to lead the US delegation in Athens.
French President Jacques Chirac is among the guests expected to stay on the Queen Mary 2, the world's largest ocean liner, in Piraeus. The ministry did not indicate whether Bush would likewise be invited to stay on the ship.
In preparation for its high-profile guests, Piraeus is undergoing extensive security checks and is being guarded by a thousand guards and police officers.
Minesweepers from the Greek navy will Wednesday carry out a check of the port, Greece's largest, as well as part of the coast near Athens. Last month underwater detection systems were installed.
Greece has committed virtually its entire armed forces -- one of the largest in -- to protecting the international sporting event, and is receiving NATO help including air surveillance, biochemical and nuclear warfare units and an emergency evacuation force.
Its security budget has more than doubled its original estimate to reach some 1.2 billion euros.
Source: www.yahoo.com, Tue Aug 3, 4:33 PM ET


Greece celebrates opening of showcase bridge before Olympic torch's passage
---ANTIRION, Greece : Thousands of people gathered at a medieval fortress in western Greece for a colourful celebration to inaugurate the country's showcase Rio-Antirio suspension bridge.
The master of ceremonies at the event to inaugurate the showcase 2.2-kilometre (1.4-mile) bridge that spans the straits separating the Gulf of Corinth from the Gulf of Patras, television presenter Nicos Aliagas told the gathering: "This bridge proves that Greeks are capable of finishing things on time."
The bridge was to to have been completed in November, but authorities pressed for it to be ready before the Olympics, which begin Friday, in order to present it as a symbol of a modern Greece.
On Sunday, the Olympic torch will be carried across the bridge by a relay that will include the coach of Greece's European champion football team, Otto Rehhagel of Germany; his counterpart for the team that will represent Greece at the Games, Stratos Apostolakis, and members of the Olympic football team.
Staff of the French construction firm Vinci, which built the bridge, will also take part in the torch relay.
At the inauguration ceremony, musicians from Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis' orchestra played a selection of his music, which includes the theme for "Zorba the Greek," but 79-year-old Theodorakis was unable to attend the event, after being hospitalized on Thursday.
The gala gave a foretaste of what to expect at the Olympics' opening ceremony on Friday, which will also be presented by Aliagas, a dual French-Greek national.
The Rio-Antirio bridge spans 2,252 meters, suspended between four pylons. Including the ramps leading up to the suspended portion of the structure, the bridge measures 2,883 meters (9,513 feet), making it one of the longest in the world.
Built in an earthquake-prone area, the bridge was built to withstand tremors exceeding 7.0 on the Richter scale. It has withstood several quakes since construction began in 2000.
The bridge will open to traffic on Thursday. - AFP
Source: www.channelnewsasia.com, Posted: 08 August 2004 0533 hrs


TOP Tankers announces delivery of first vessel in series of ten
---TOP Tankers Inc, announced today that it took delivery of M/T DOUBTLESS, a 47,076 Dwt, ice-classed, double-hull Handymax tanker, built in 1991 by Halla Engineering & Heavy Industries Limited of the Republic of Korea.
The delivery of the M/T DOUBTLESS represents the first of 10 double-hull tankers the Company expects to acquire from its current owners from the proceeds of its initial public offering announced on July 23, 2004.
This first delivery will increase the size of the fleet to 8 tankers, consisting of 2 Suezmax tankers, 3 Handymax tankers and 3 Handysize tankers.
About TOP Tankers Inc
TOP Tankers Inc is an international provider of worldwide seaborne crude oil and petroleum products transportation services. Upon delivery of all 10 vessels, the Company will own and operate a fleet of 17 tankers, consisting of 4 Suezmax tankers, 10 ice-classed Handymax tankers and 3 Handysize tankers, with a total carrying capacity of approximately 1.14 million Dwt.
Forward-Looking Statement
Statements about the Company's future expectations, including future revenues and earnings, and all other statements in this press release other than historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and as that term is defined in the Private Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change at any time, and the Company's actual results could differ materially from expected results. The Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect subsequently occurring events or circumstances.
Contact: Stamatis Tsantanis, CFO, TOP Tankers Inc , Tel: 30 210 699 4357, snt@toptankers.com
Source: TOP Tankers Inc, ATHENS, Greece, Aug 5, 2004


Hurst to join Thomas Miller Hellas
---Dominic Hurst joined Thomas Miller (Hellas) in Piraeus on August 2nd as a senior claims executive handling P&I and Freight, Demurrage and Defence claims.
An English qualified solicitor, Dominic trained with a major maritime law firm in London. He has also worked for two other P&I clubs in London, HongKong, Oslo and Athens.
Philip Clacy, who manages the office in Greece, says: "We service a large proportion of the Greek fleets entered in the UK P&I and UK Defence Clubs from Piraeus and we are continually strengthening our team. We are very pleased to welcome Dominic who is looking forward to a challenging role. He and his Greek wife are delighted to be returning to live in the country."
Source: Thomas Miller P&I Ltd, Press Information, 4 August 2004


Event: DIGITAL SHIP ATHENS - First Announcement
2 & 3 November 2004, Metropolitan Hotel, Athens
Main sponsor - Supporting sponsor - Supporting organisation
www.inmarsat.com - www.broadbandmaritime.com - www.ammitec.org
Speakers:
Charis Nassis, IT manager, Ceres Hellenic - SAP and Lotus Notes implementation within Ceres
Achilleas Choursoglou, IT Manager of Olympic Shipping, topic to be decided
Aris Inglessis, IT Manager of Samos Steamship, issues with shipboard computing and communications - maintaining shipboard computers, shipboard power upplies, ISO and ISM requirements, crew IT training
Babis Aggelopoulos, project manager Tsakos Shipping, will make a presentation on implementation of onboard software for Planned Maintenance and Technical throughout the Tsakos fleet.
Patrick Slesinger, chief information officer, Wallem Shipmanagement, Hong Kong - improving transparency in shipping using IT
Mike Kennedy, technical director, Hellespont Steamship
For more details: http://www.thedigitalship.com/athens2.htm
Source: http://www.thedigitalship.com/athens2.htm


Event: Marine Money Greek Ship Finance - 6th Annual Forum
Tel: +30 210 9858 809, 210 4190 164, Fax: 210 9842 136, Mia Jensen, mia@marine-marketing.gr & Kevin Oates kevin@marine-marketing.gr
Thursday, 14th October 2004, 09:00 am - 18:30 pm
Athens Ledra Marriott Hotel, Greece
Will the great market last forever? Opportunities and threats.
Ship Finance - What structures and what terms are available
Top owners will discuss their financial requirements and structures.
Top bankers will discuss trends and issues relating to Greek ship finance.
Looking for alternative financing opportunities?
Come and hear about KG finance, KS finance and UK leasing structures
LNG - the Greek contribution
Owners, bankers and traders discuss the Greek contribution to the LNG drive.
We have had a great dry market. Is it here to stay?
A panel of experts will discuss whether the boom market will lead to a bust scenario.
SELECTED SPEAKERS AND TOPICS
Wet Market Outlook, Ole Rikard Hammer, Senior Analyst, PF Bassoe AS & Co.
Container Market Outlook, Paul Dowell, Director of Research & Consultancy, Howe Robinson Shipbrokers
KG finance for the Greek market Dr. Torsten Teichert, CEO, Lloyd Fonds AG
KS finance for the Greek market, Peter Wallace, Senior Manager, Pareto Private Equity
US Capital Markets - there's cash around. What's available for who John Sinders, Managing Director, Jefferies & Company Inc.
LNG Panel Keith Bainbridge, LNG Shipping Solutions / Clay Maitland, Managing Partner, International Registries / Bankers and lawyers involved in LNG financing
Traditional Ship Finance - Trends Ted Petropoulos, Petrofin SA and Finance Panel
Dry Market: Boom and Bust scenario? - inter alia representatives from shipping companies, banks and traders
Main Sponsors include industry leaders such as:
Fortis Bank Greece, Lloyd Fonds AG, Pareto Private Equity, ABN AMRO Bank,
Jefferies & Company Inc., Howe Robinson Sale & Purchase, EDB Bank & Finance, Norton Rose,
International Registries Inc., Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited, Stelmar Shipping Ltd and Danaos Shipping Co Ltd.
BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW. The Registration form (pdf 193kb) is located at:
http://www.marine-marketing.gr/marinemoney/pdf/RegFormGSF2004.pdf
LIST OF DELEGATES 2003. Over 160 executives participated last year and the list is located at:
http://www.marine-marketing.gr/marinemoney/pdf/Participants2003.pdf
Source: Marine Money Greece, 15 Athinaeon Str., 175 61 Greece