Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 41 - 2004

 

PM, merchant marine minister discuss seamen's problems

---Seamen's unionists briefed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis on Wednesday on problems facing the sector.
Speaking after the meeting, Panhellenic Maritime Federation Secretary General Ioannis Halas said the discussion focused on issues requiring a speedy solution which met with "understanding by the prime minister."
He specified urgent issues as being the lumpsum pension payment, the tax issue and unemployment benefits which, as he said, "will be handled as soon as possible and there will probably be a solution."
Halas also said the issue of safeguarding jobs remains open and noted that the Federation has proposals and expects "greater understanding" from the minister.
Kefaloyiannis said the solving of dockers' problems is on a "good path" and underlined the government's interest in Greek seamen who are closely linked to Greek shipping's progress.
Source: Athens News Agency, Greece - Oct 6, 2004


ISTEC discusses Common Rules with Joint Tanker Project representatives
At its meeting in Greece last week, the Committee had the opportunity to discuss in detail with representatives from the Joint Tanker Project (JTP) some aspects of the proposed Common Rules for tanker newbuildings, and to clarify some crucial issues involving hull strength and scantlings. The JTP representatives had the opportunity to hear first-hand and understand the Committee's strong position and the high expectations it has of these new regulations. These views have been formally sent to the JTP team so that they can take them into account when issuing their revised (second draft) proposal.
The Committee also discussed and recommended INTERTANKO's position on Goal Based Standards. As a result of these discussions and under the guidance of ISTEC, the Secretariat will finalise and submit a paper to the IMO.
ISTEC also had the opportunity to understand better the scope of and the activities of the European Maritime Safety Agency Panel on Double Hull tankers. The chairman of this panel, Ib Matthiesen, Head of EMSA's Ship Safety, Inspections and Implementations unit, attended the meeting and explained that the Panel on Double Hulls has as its primary objective to establish a dialogue between the regulators and the industry on various aspects of, and experience with, designing, building and operating double hull tankers.
ISTEC had also a great opportunity to address maritime security matters, particularly in the U.S., with guest Joseph Angelo, the U.S. Coast Guard's Director of Standards. Angelo outlined the U.S. experience so far with ISPS Code implementation and gave advice and answers to the various questions raised by ISTEC. In brief, Mr. Angelo said that the ISPS Code implementation went relatively smoothly in the U.S. and that the rate of non-compliance went down from some 4% of the ships calling at U.S. ports in July 2004 to around 2.2% according to data covering the entire period from 1 July to late September 2004. A copy of Mr. Angelo's presentation can be seen here. > http://www.intertanko.com/about/presentations/
Source: ---INTERTANKO's Safety, Technical and Environmental Committee (ISTEC) has engaged in some extremely useful discussions on both the Common Rules for tanker new buildings and on the IMO developments with regard to Goal Based Standards.


Nigeria, Greece sign N156m pact on maritime trade
---NIGERIA and Greece have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote maritime trade between the two countries.
The trade pact was endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Nigerian-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Abuja yesterday.
At the ceremony, the Permanent Secretary in the Transport Ministry, Mallam Nu'Uman Barau Dambatta described the deal as timely and in line with the Federal Government's public-private
sector partnership policy thrust. He assured of the ministry's readiness to work with the chamber for the successful implementation of the pact.
His words: "Whatever you bring to us for approval, we shall grant it. Mr. Vice President, as the document has shown, has considerable interest in the pact and there is no better time than now for this relationship."
Earlier, the chamber's First Vice President, Dr. Alexander A. Thomopulos, who represented the organisation's President, Mr. Goodie Ibru, told the ministry's officials that the pact will be beneficial to Nigeria and the chamber.
Ibru said: "For us in the Nigerian-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and some of our associates, it is going to be a mutual thing. It is not just going to be dumping issues on us. They are going to benefit from us just as we shall benefit from them.
"With the kind of leadership that we have in our context in Greece - good admnistration and a good transport system - I believe that we will establish a mutually beneficial relationship," he stated.
Thomopulos promised on behalf of the chambers to turn soon to the ministry with details of operations under the pact for its ratification.
While Dambatta and the Ministry's Director of Maritime Services, Mallam Gida Shuwa signed on behalf of the government, Thomopulos and Prince Oye Akinsemoyin, the second vice chairman of the chamber represented the outfit.
Highlights of the pact are a collaboration of the two bodies on successful participation at the forthcoming second Meridian maritime and business forum scheduled for Athens, Greece from November 20 - 24, 2004; the raising of N156 million under the chairmanship of the chamber's President to organise the summit, and the execution of its entire programmes.
The government has already set up an inter-ministerial committee comprising representatives of the Federal Ministries of Justice; Information and National Orientation; Commerce, Culture and Tourism; Industry; Finance and Foreign Affairs, to prepare for the summit.
Source: www.guardiannewsngr.com, 6 Oct 2004, From Mathias Okwe, Abuja


Samina charges are toned down
---Five of the nine people who faced criminal charges for the Express Samina shipwreck four years ago, in whch 80 died, have had their charges reduced to misdemeanors by an appeals court, legal sources said on Saturday.
The ferry sank on September 26, 2000 after striking rocks just off Paros. Following the incident, prosecutors indicted five crew members, two safety inspectors and two managers of the shipowning company, attributing "possible malice aforethought" to their alleged offences.
Three of the officers and the two company officials appealed the decision. Judges have now decided that the Aegean court which charged the men misinterpreted the law on premeditation. Instead, the five will face negligence charges. Under Greek law, misdemeanor charges lapse if suspects are not tried within five years of the incident.
The ferry captain, his first mate and two safety inspectors have not appealed against the criminal charges so far.
Source: Kathimerini Daily, 4 oct 04


MISC vessels attract bids
---Malaysia International Shipping Corp Bhd (MISC) has received several bids from international ship owners for its fleet of 30 bulk carriers estimated at between RM2.85 billion and RM3.42 billion.
The bidders are believed to include Norwegian and Greek ship owners. MISC has appointed several international banking groups, including HSBC and Citibank, to handle the tender for the disposal.
Its managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas says the disposal of the ships, some of which are about 15 years old, is "part of MISC's plan to concentrate on energy shipping (liquefied natural gas, crude oil and petroleum products)".
"We are selling the 30-odd bulk carrier fleet en bloc," he tells FinancialDaily, adding that bids closed on Oct 1.
However, Shamsul declines to disclose how much MISC plans to raise from the disposal. "It is too early to state the figures as we are still going through it," he says, at the 3rd Asia Maritime & Logistics Conference 2004 in Kuala Lumpur.
Market players have valued the bulk vessels at between RM95 million and RM114 million each, depending on size and age. "MISC may get a lower value as they plan to sell en bloc as compared to selling the ships separately or piecemeal," a source says.
According to the source, the bulk shipping market will be good for the next two to three years. The MISC bulk fleet is the single largest bloc available as new tonnage will only be available from 2006.
Shamsul says this is the "best time" to obtain a good price given the current high prices for second-hand vessels.
As of June 30, 2004, MISC had 36 panamax, handymax and handysize bulk carriers with a total of 1.60 million deadweight tonnes (dwt). Early this year, MISC sold some of its handysize bulk vessels to Thailand Precious Shipping for RM372 million.
Shamsul says it will take several months to complete the disposal as it will have to go through due diligence process.
Over the past two years, MISC, a subsidiary of Petroliam Nasional Bhd, has been focussing on the energy shipping business.
For the financial year ended March 31, 2004, 60.5% of MISC's revenue of RM7.60 billion came from energy transportation while bulk shipping accounted for 7.9% and others such as liners logistics made up the rest.
Source: www.theedgedaily.com, By Jimmy Yeow & Ng Kar Yean, 05-10-2004:


Royal Olympic Cruise Lines Announces Itinerary Change
---Royal Olympic Cruise Lines which is currently operating two cruise ships, Triton and World Renaissance, under the protection of Article 45 of law 1892/1990 on the basis of decisions of the Greek courts, announced today that it is altering the sailing itineraries of the ships, effective immediately and until further notice, to limit the vessels to Greek destinations.
This decision followed the arrest of the ships by a creditor in Turkish ports on Sunday, October 3rd, from which they were released the next day. The arrest was a result of the failure of the Turkish court to respect the stay issued in the Greek Article 45 proceeding. ROCL is taking all necessary steps to overcome this difficulty in the future, but in the meantime will alter its itineraries as indicated.
Discussions with creditors and lenders are continuing, as well as efforts to clear the legal issue in Turkey to conform with European laws. The above are serious material issues for the company. The company continues to seek capital needed to continue operations, but the inability to maintain the protection of the Greek court outside the European Union, if not resolved, is expected to increase the difficulty of arranging an organized financial restructuring.
Management is committed to completing its fall schedule with as little alteration as possible and appreciates the continued support of its clients and creditors.
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 terms. These statements are based on assumptions that are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies that are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond our control and may cause our business activities and results, including the results of any discussion between Royal Olympic and creditors of the debtors, to be materially different from those that are implied by the forward-looking statements. Although we believe that the expectation expressed in our forward-looking statement are reasonable, we cannot assure you of any further business activity or result.
Source: Press Release Source: Royal Olympic Cruise Lines , Friday October 8, 11:52 am ET


German shipyard alliance forged
---ThyssenKrupp und One Equity Partners (OEP) signed an agreement on October 7, 2004, regarding the formation of an alliance of shipyards according to which ThyssenKrupp Werften and Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) will merge to form a new group under the command of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems AG. For this purpose, OEP will contribute to ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems its entire shares in HDW. The new group includes all major holdings, viz. Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG, Kiel; HDW-Nobiskrug GmbH, Rendsburg; Blohm + Voss GmbH and Blohm + Voss Repair GmbH, Hamburg; Nordseewerke GmbH, Emden; as well as Kockums AB, Sweden; and Hellenic Shipyards S.A., Greece. Combined annual sales are in the region of 2.2 billion euros, the present workforce numbers 9,300.
The agreement stipulates that in return for the 100 percent in HDW AG, OEP receives a 25-percent stake in ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems AG plus a payment of 220 million euros to be funded from the cash resources of the new shipyard group. ThyssenKrupp holds a 75-percent stake in ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and will assume all the industrial management functions.
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems AG is to be headquartered in Hamburg. Its CEO is Dr. Klaus Borgschulte, Executive Board member of ThyssenKrupp Technologies AG and presently Management Board Chairman of ThyssenKrupp Werften GmbH.
The merger will be consummated as soon as the relevant supervisory boards and antitrust authorities have given their go-aheads.
Source: By: ThyssenKrupp Technologies AG , 10/8/2004


Greek tanker safely salvaged from Hatterbarn
---SvitzerWijsmuller Salvage has finished the job on the Greek-owned tanker "Fotini Lady", which ran aground in the Great Belt last week.
Yesterday, some 10,000 tons of the cargo of gas oil was lightered to the smaller tanker "Trapper", which reduced the draft enough for the tugs to tow the vessel free. Afterwards, the "Fotini Lady" sailed to Kalundborg Fjord to reload the cargo. An inspection by showed some dents from the grounding, but no serious damage was detected. The "Fotini Lady" , which was delivered in February 2004, was on a voyage from Klaipeda with a cargo of 63,000 tons gas oil, and was sailing without pilot. (05.10.04)
Source: www.shipgaz.com, 5 Oct 2004


Marine Money and Fortis Bank to host the 6th Annual Greek Ship Finance Forum
---Marine Money and Fortis Bank will be hosting the Sixth Annual Marine Money Greek Ship Finance Conference on Thursday 14th October at the Ledra Marriott Hotel in Athens, - and it is going to be bigger than ever. Already over 160 shipping executives from Greece and abroad have signed up and seats are becoming scarce.
The Keynote Address this year will be given by our very own Matt McCleery who is probably closer than anyone to the convergence of shipping and the capital markets.
Owners and owners representatives participating will include Nikolas Tsakos of TEN Ltd, Stamatis Molaris of Stelmar Shipping and Iraklis Procopakis of Danaos Shipping Co Ltd. Ted Petropoulos of Petrofin SA will report on the latest trends in Greek shipping finance.
Three alternative financing structures - UK Tax Lease, German KG financing and Norwegian KS financing - will be discussed by experts in the field. Jefferies & Co will give us a review of what is available for whom on the US capital markets. A discussion will take place about the Greek contribution to the LNG business and a panel will discuss the prospects for the current boom in the dry bulk market.
Like last year, TEN Ltd are honoring us by being a prime sponsor and host of the lunch on TEN's 11th anniversary.
The day will end with a relaxing cocktail party hosted by International Registries.
For further information on the conference please see the Marine Money website or contact Mia Jensen at marine.money@marine-marketing.gr
Source: www.marinemoney.com, Freshly Minted On-line, 8 Oct 04


Ministers think better of not turning up for lunch
The scene took place at a working lunch at the Piraeus Yacht Club at which the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Assocation (Helmepa), Cymepa and Turmepa, the parallel organisations of Cyprus and Turkey, came together for the first time.
Nikolas Tsakos chaired the roundtable of 26 participants including Vassilis Constantakopoulos, honorary chairman of Helmepa, his counterpart from Turkey, business mogul Rahmi Koc, Cymepa chairman George Tsavliris and Turmepa chairman Esref Cerrahoglu.
Minister for the Aegean and island policy Aristotelis Pavlidis apologised at the eleventh hour for being unable to attend but told event organiser Dimitris Mitsatsos that the Minister for Shipping, Manolis Kefaloyannis, would be there. This minister, however, also made a last-minute apology for his absence owing to other pressing commitments.
The meeting went on to decide that associations should also be established in the Black Sea coastal nations to combat high-pollution levels.
But just as delegates were arguing that such an initiative should not depend on political channels, who should burst in the room but Minister Kefaloyannis.
He was swiftly placed next to Tsakos, niceties were exchanged as were promises of support.
Half-an-hour later there was another disruption. Who could it be this time? None other than Minister Pavlidis.
Evidently both ministers had decided the marine-environment meeting was too important to miss after all, albeit at the cost of confirming the stereotype of politicians as the masters of the mixed message.
Source: ---Politicians are famous for their oratory and talent for ambiguity. A group of high-profile shipping personalities recently experienced this first-hand.


Gratsos takes Hellenic Chamber helm after president's sudden death
---GREEK shipping personality George Gratsos has been elected as the new president of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, a vacancy left by the unexpected death of former president Spyros Alexandratos one month ago. Mr Gratsos, 61, was already on the chamber's board and served a previous term as president, from 1998 to 2000.
He is head of Athens-based firm Standard Bulk Transport Corporation as well as being a director of Copenhagen-based BIMCO, the world's largest shipping body, the Union of Greek Shipowners and Helmepa, the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association.
At the same meeting of the chamber's 32-person governing council, Pericles Panagopulos of Attica Group was elected to join the board of directors.
The chamber's wide variety of maritime activities includes officially advising the Greek government on shipping matters. Mr Alexandratos died suddenly on September 2 from heart failure.
Source: www.lloydslist.com, By Nigel Lowry in Athens- Tuesday October 05 2004


Greek owners slam EC on criminalisation directive
---Greek shipowners have slammed European Commission promoted directives which will see the criminalisation of seafarers in the case of pollution accidents. The owners have branded the EC-proposed measures "illegal" and "contrary to existing international regulations" and "contrary to the law of the sea".
The Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) and the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee (GSCC), in a joint statement said: "Greek shipowners are very much opposed to this directive because its application will be contrary to existing international regulations as enshrined in Marpol." The owners contend the measure is "unfair, unrealistic and very damaging because it illegally characterises pollution as a result of an accident as a legal punishable act".
The statement came the day maritime industry associations announced they were forming a coalition to fight the EU criminalisation Bill. Shipowners and seafarers have combined to lobby the European Parliament when the Bill is being examined. European Community Shipowners' Associations (Ecsa), Intertanko, Intercargo, ISC, Bimco, the ITF, ISU and P&I associations are looking to sink the proposal which Ecsa has dubbed "outrageous".
Imo secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos, says the issue of seafarers being detained ashore after accidents is of great concern to the organisation. He told the ISF Manning and Training conference October 6 that he is particularly alarmed by the mental impact of such detentions on individual seafarers, the effect on seafarers as a whole and the negative impact on attracting new recruits into the industry. Imo is working with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on the issue.
Referring to the plight of Apostolos Magouras, master of the Prestige who is about to be freed after being detained in Spain for almost two years, the UGS/GSCC statement declared the Magouras "adventure must never be repeated".
The Greek owners noted a similar view to their's was "held by the European Parliament" while the European Union's Council of Transport ministers "came to the opposite decision" despite strong opposition within the council from Greece and Malta.
The shipowners' statement came after executives of both bodies had spent October 4 in a series of meetings as the UGS hosted the second of the year's joint gatherings of the councils of the two bodies. Early in the day UGS president Nicos Efthymiou and GSCC chairman Epaminondas Embiricos met with Prime minister Costas Karamanlis and Marine minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis at the PM's offices in Athens. A luncheon was attended by leaders of the Hellenic Seamens Federation (PNO). - See story page 1.
Although an extensive agenda covering a range of operational, technical and legal matters pertaining to the operation of ships, was dealt with during the meeting of the councils at UGS' Akti Miaouli headquarters, the 'criminalisation' issue and the developing 'common rules' for ship structure dominated proceedings.
With regard to the 'common rules' the owners said that ensuring the quality and robustness of new vessels is one of the biggest challenges facing the shipping industry and achievement these goals hinges on concrete proposals that establish international prototypes to be implemented by Imo. "These prototypes will specify the basic structural demands," said the owners.
They said, the prototypes must be materalised during the construction of good ships according to the rules of the classification societies. For this reason, said the owners, these rules are developed in close co-operation with shipping's international bodies, in which Greeks have a leading role.
"It must be made clear that the regulations now being developed will provide for the construction of a good ship, but at the same time also look at the good maintenance and navigation during the ship's entire working life," said the owners.
Source: www.newsfront, 7 Oct 2004