Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 27 - 2005

 

Euro 2bn launch to Greece\'s energy dream

The Prime ministers of Greece and Turkey July 3 inaugurated work on a natural gas pipeline which will carry Turkish gas to Italy marking the commencement of a Euro 2bn-plus plan to turn Greece into an energy hub.
Not only did the event mark a major commercial enterprise between the two countries it once again underlined the political power of a pipeline link, opening the way for Prime minister Costas Karamanlis to accept an invitation to visit Turkey, the first by a Greek PM in 46 years.
Karamanlis and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan did walk over the Evros River border as they launched works on the 285klm stage of the pipeline which will supply Caspian natural gas to Western Europe. The stage begins in Karacabey in the Sea of Marmara and runs to Komotini in Thrace. Costing Euro 250m the section is to be completed in 18 months and will initially supply 3.5bn cumt annually rising to 11bn. Greece is paying Euro 120m for the stage while the EU will subsidise 29% of the project.
Early last month Greece signed an agreement with Italy for construction of a 600km onward pipeline from Komotini to the Ionian Sea coast and a further 220km underwater extension to Italy and beyond.
"Start of work on the Greek-Turkish pipeline can contribute to the strengthening of peace and stability, to the further development of economic and trade relations and to the improvement and widening co-operation between the two countries," said Karamanlis.
Erdogan said the pipeline was part of something bigger. "This is a historic moment," he said. "It is one of the steps that will help the further development and deepening of our relations."
Regarding the project itself, Karamanlis said: "For a year and a half now international oil prices have been going through the roof," said Karamanlis at the Evros River. "This project proves natural gas is a strong alternative with significant economic and environmental advantages."
According to Development minister, Dimitris Sioufas, the project is the most concrete to date in the government's plan to make Greece an energy centre for Europe. This ambition got a boost early last month when companies from Greece, Bulgaria and Russia agreed to form a jv to build a Euro 700m, 285klm long oil pipeline from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Bourgas to Alexandropoulis in the Aegean, thus by-passing the crowded Bosporus and Turkish Straits.
"Companies interested in the project has signed a memorandum to discuss within the next six months, their stake in the jv, International Project Company to build the pipeline," said Bulgaria's Regional Development minister, Kalin Rogachev.
Greek candidates for participation, Hellenic Petroleum, the Latsis Group and Prometheus Gas have already formed a consortium, DEP Thraki. Four Russian companies, TNK-BP, Stroytransgas, Sovcomflot and Tatneft will join the project said Russian deputy minister of Fuel and Energy, Anatoli Yanovski. Three others, Rosneft, Sibneft and Surgutneftegas are discussing their involvement. On the Bulgarian side, two consortia will join, Universal Terminal Bourgas and Transbulkan Pipeline Co.
"If everything goes according to plan, we will have the Bourgas-Alexandropoulis pipeline in operation by the end of 2008," said deputy Development minister George Salagoudis.
-- Filed: 2005-07-07
Source: www.newsfront.gr


Greek tanker owners sail ahead globally
Greek shipowners control the biggest share of the world's tanker and liquefied gas carrier fleet in terms of capacity, which has made Greek shipping the global leader in fuel transport, according to data by Intertanko, the international tanker-owners association.
The data show that the number of Greek-owned vessels has increased by 50 percent over the past decade, while the global fleet expanded by just 9 percent. The same figures show that until 2008 the largest shipyards in the Far East will be materializing orders for new ships by Greek shipowners and managers, who are undertaking a massive modernization of their fleets taking advantage of the current uptrend in the shipping market.
Greek tanker owners appear to control 28 percent of the international independent fleet in terms of capacity, having also improved their quality as the market requires. Consequently, charterers of multinational and other oil companies are showing their preference for the Greek-owned fleet, which experts consider crucial for Greece's effort to consolidate itself as an important power in the fuel transport market.
Experts also believe that Greek shipowners have recently begun dipping a toe into the liquefied gas market with orders for new tankers of this category. International shipping sources suggest that, given the swing toward the use of liquefied gas across the world, the Greeks' entry in this domain is significant, for they are expected to play a leading role over the coming decade among those countries whose flags will control this type of vessel.
The same sources also believe the tanker fleet can play a crucial role in the global fuel market in connection with the role of storage tankers.
"Historically it has been proven that in major geopolitical crises, mainly in oil-producing regions, the tanker fleet has averted a deterioration as it contributed to balancing the market's needs," Greek Union of Shipowners (EEE) sources told Kathimerini.They added that "oil products' quantities stored in tankers may be added to those produced and shipped every day, bringing the price lower thanks to the greater supply in barrels."
Still, Greek shipowners suggest that the government must exercise a flexible shipping policy so that more ships enter the national register, most of which will be tankers, turning Greece into a strong force in the international liquid fuel shipping market.
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com, NIKOS BARDOUNIAS


Greek shipowner numbers in decline
Vessels are bigger but tonnage and numbers have decreased, writes Nigel Lowry- Tuesday July 05 2005
THE number of Greek shipowners active in the market has shrunk markedly over the past year, a new study has suggested.
Petrofin Research's annual analysis of Greek shipping has found the number of Greece-based shipmanagement companies - usually seen as a reliable indication of the number of different shipowning groups - has fallen by a hefty 6% from 2004 to 2005, declining to below 700 for the first time in memory.
It was the largest year-on-year fall for six years but, although there was a marginal increase in the number of players last year, it appears to confirm an established downward trend.
Back in 1998, when the Petrofin consultancy began its yearly surveys, there were 926 Greek shipmanagement entities but a quarter of this total has now been wiped out.
According to Ted Petropoulos-headed Petrofin, the main reason for the most recent consolidation was "the high values of vessels attracting vessel sales by primarily the small shipping companies which effectively leave the industry.
"Clearly, the figures this year point to the fact that the demand for vessels has led owners to sell for very high prices or buy vessels to trade at very high rates," the company commented.
"This has been an agonising dilemma in Piraeus: sell or trade? Both actions have been of such lucrative nature that the decision for either has been a matter involving impressively large amounts of money."
Unsurprisingly, the largest drop was in the number of one or two-ship operations, but such companies still "overwhelmingly dominated" Greek shipping, representing 288 out of the total 690 companies this year, the study said.
But the number of larger fleets - of more than 15 vessels - also shrank from 127 to 114, the figures showed.
Overall, however, the number of companies operating vessels of more than 10,000 dwt decreased only marginally from 429 to 420.
Petrofin also found that the Greek owned and Greek based fleet declined in both tonnage terms and number of vessels over the last year, although the average size of ship has increased.
Trumpeting its research as the "most accurate snapshot" of Greek shipping due to a number of factors including curtailing the number of newbuildings included up to deliveries through 2006, Petrofin also presented a less flattering age profile of the fleet than some studies.
The survey claimed that the average age of Greek controlled vessels of more than 10,000 dwt had been trimmed from 19.6 to 19.4 years.
"Given the massive Greek newbuilding orders, the small improvement in age does come as a disappointment, with the notable exception of tankers," Petrofin said.
However, it explained the age profile was heavily influenced by "many grossly overage vessels... showing that Greeks are still holding on to their older vessels, and the good market has assisted them to do so."
In spite of what the survey called "the quality revolution in Greek shipping", it noted there were still many overaged fleets, belonging mainly to small companies. These included 152 companies running fleets of an average vessel age of 38 years, although the total tonnage represented - 1.6m dwt - was only a tiny fraction of the industry.
Source: www.lloydslist.com


Free-market converts
Because of the allegedly harmful effects of state interference, Greek ferry owners have been transformed from trade protectionists into rampant free-marketeers. But the government refuses to relinquish market control
Until few years ago, Greek ferry operators cherished the cabotage privilege that kept foreign competitors away from their market. Now they have turned into fervent advocates of a free market because they allege state interference has brought them to their knees. Competition from outsiders has ceased to be an issue.Indeed, the first foreign ferry operator has arrived in Greece recently without provoking any reaction from domestic rivals. On 19 May, Aegean Speed Lines, a partnership between London-based Sea Containers and Greece's Eugenides Group, started operating a fast passenger-car ferry service between Piraeus and the western Cyclades Islands. However, despite repeated legal threats from the European Commission via the European Courts of Justice, the government refuses to relinquish control of the market arguing that, without it, the island communities would be deprived of a high-level, affordable and year-round ferry service. Domestic law provisions deemed incompatible with EU laws include financial guarantee requirements, restrictions in choice of ports of call, imposition of levies on fares in favour of third parties, a thirty-year age limit on vessels and nationality requirements for crews.
Price ceiling on vehicle freight
But the most controversial of the restrictions imposed by the government is a price ceiling on the popular economy class fares and vehicle freight. Ferry operators find the measure unproductive and regard it as a disincentive to investment in new ships. This year's high fuel price has led the companies to seek a 15% hike in fares to meet higher operating costs. The government approved only a 6.8% increase and that produced a revolt. Greece's Union of Coastal Shipowners, which represents the domestic ferry operators, advised its members to ignore the government order, saying that each company should price its service taking into consideration its own cost factors. In doing so the union invoked EU Council Regulation 3577/92 which, it maintains, supersedes domestic law. The threat of financial and administrative penalties dissuaded the operators from following the union's advice. Instead, they reduced the frequency of service for some destinations of low demand to mitigate their loss, sparking protests from the islanders affected as a result.
Operators argue that the abolition of state control will not necessarily lead to higher fares. They cite the example of Rafina, a ferry terminal close to Athens, where competition has forced operators to charge less than the ceiling price. The government counters that the price control could be lifted in cases where at least three companies compete on the same route. But only Rafina fulfils this criterion at the moment. It is clear that the government is playing for time and will fight its case hard at the European Commission and elsewhere to preserve the market status quo. On the other hand, the ferry network in Greece is too complex to be left to the mercy of market forces. There are numerous lines of little or no economic appeal to operators, and many other profitable ones which everyone is keen to get a share of. So the most likely scenario for the future may involve the creation of two markets: there will be free competition on the lucrative lines, and a regulated as well as subsidised market for the unprofitable lines.
Source: Cover Story, Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, 07 Jul 2005


Daewoo Gets $340 Mln Ship Orders From Belgian, Greek Customers
July 4 (Bloomberg) -- Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., the world's second-largest shipbuilder, said it received $340 million of orders from Belgian and Greek customers to build ships for carrying liquefied gas.
Daewoo's order from Exmar NV of Antwerp, Belgium, is a so- called re-gasification vessel for 150,900 cubic meters of gas, valued at 260 billion won ($251 million). Seoul-based Daewoo will build an 84,000-cubic meter vessel for Maran Gas Maritime Inc. of Greece for shipping liquefied petroleum gas, according to a regulatory filing. Delivery of both ships will be completed by January 2009, Daewoo said.
South Korea's Daewoo, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., and Samsung Heavy Industries Co., the world's three largest shipyards, have been winning orders at record prices to build more technologically complex vessels. The three shipbuilders won orders in April to build 69 of the world's largest LNG tankers for Qatar.
Prices for very large crude carriers, or VLCCs, which can ship 2 million barrels of oil, have more than doubled since September 2002 as builders pass on rising steel costs and demand for ships outstrips yard capacity.
Daewoo's shares fell 0.3 percent to 19,350 won as of 10:48 a.m. in Seoul.
Source: www.bloomberg.com


Intertanko to promote Poseidon Challenge at singapore
INTERTANKO is to use next year's Singapore Tanker Event, to be held on March 29-31, to promote its Poseidon Challenge, which evolved out of the 2005 Athens Tanker Event and will be formally launched later this month.
An Intertanko statement says: "This is a shipping industry initiative which takes our vision of the tanker industry as a responsible, sustainable and respected industry with the ability to influence its own destiny, and examines our commitment, challenging every link in the chain of responsibility, and every individual participant, to take practical steps achieve that vision."
The Poseidon Challenge will involve key figures from different parts of the chain of responsibility making a statement of practical commitment to work together fulfil that vision, to achieve a goal that everyone believes in where quality of service and protection of the environment are paramount.
The two day Thursday/Friday conference programme will open with a number of high-powered keynote speakers who will establish the focus and direction of the tanker industry. It will include tanker and oil market analysis and discussion of what has been slowing the powerful momentum we have enjoyed in recent years, and what will be the driving forces of the market in the coming years.
Source: www.mng.com, Thursday, 07 July 2005


'Dazed' dolphin shuts down Greek port
Athens - A two-hour operation to rescue a disorientated dolphin temporarily shut down the main Greek port of Piraeus on Tuesday, newspapers reported on Wednesday.
With the help of coast guard divers, experts from the University of Thessaly wrapped the dolphin in two lifejackets and escorted it out of Greece's busiest harbour, Ethnos daily reported.
"The dolphin seemed to be in quite poor condition," a senior coast guard officer told the newspaper.
"To make sure it didn't run into a ship, a coast guard vessel tied its tailfin and carefully transported it (to a less busy part of the harbour)."
According to University of Thessaly biologist Vassilis Podiadis, the dolphin had a recent head injury and was in shock.
It was given two antibiotic shots before being sent on its way, the paper said.
Dolphins frequently follow ferries plying the routes between Greek islands, hoping to receive food from passengers.
Source: http://www.iol.co.za July 07 2005 at 11:45AM


Mechanical Failure on Express Pigasos
A mechanical failure made the captain of Express Pigasos remain on Karlovasi port, Samos, on Sunday night. Due to reasons of safety, the ship did not sail to Mykonos, Syros and Piraeus port, where it was scheduled to arrive on Monday at 8am. On realising the failure, the captain instructed the 340 travellers to disembark. Shipping company Hellenic Seaways compensated the travellers and provided them with buses to Karlovasi. Around 23:30pm the travellers embarked on Dimitroula which arrived its destination, Piraeus port, at 12am. This was not the case, however, for nine travellers who will arrive their destination with another ship. It is noteworthy that another mechanical failure had been recorded on Express Pigasos on Friday. According to the shipping company the previous failure was due to water in its fuels.
Source: ANA - NET 105,8, 04 Jul 2005 11:08:00 by Vagelis Theodorou


Change at Skuld Hellas spurs buzz of departure
Changes at the top of Skuld's Greek operation have sparked rumours that one of the best known figures in the Piraeus protection-and-indemnity (P&I) scene may soon be moving on.
There is market gossip that Lily Karaiscos-Samellas may quit Skuld Hellas, although the Oslo-based club says her position is safe and they believe she will stay.
Karaiscos-Samellas established Skuld Hellas five years ago when she renamed her P&I correspondent business, Karaiscos International. For many of the club's Greek members she is not only the legal representative but the human face of a Scandinavian marine-insurance operation.
The buzz about Skuld Hellas was sparked by Norwegian underwriter Johan Gjernes being brought in to head the Greek operation in place of Karaiscos-Samellas, who remains a senior vice-president of the club but is now described as customer-relations manager.Skuld rejects any suggestion that Karaiscos-Samellas has been downgraded and says Gjernes has only been moved to Piraeus to take on administrative and office functions in order to free Karaiscos-Samellas to spend more time with the Greek members the task she does best.
Karaiscos-Samellas has been involved with Skuld's substantial Greek membership since going to work for her late father's P&I correspondent business nearly 30 years ago and she is well regarded by leading shipowners.
Karaiscos-Samellas could not be contacted as TradeWinds went to press.
Meanwhile, Skuld is set to become the first of the International Group clubs to establish an office in Germany. Egil Gulbrandsen, a syndicate chief is preparing to move to Hamburg to open an operation to serve existing members and no doubt aims to add a few more.
Germany has been one of the fastest growing markets for Skuld, with the popularity of the KG (limited partnership) shipping finance system, the large number of brokers in and around Hamburg and the collapse of the German Antra operation all contributing to the decision to set up a new operation.
Skuld says the new Hamburg operation will be a one or two-person operation for the foreseeable future but could be expanded if it proves a big success.
Source: www.tradewinds.no, By Jim Mulrenan, London, published: 08 July 2005


Onassis: Announcement
The Board of Directors of the "Alexander S. Onassis Foundation" and of the "Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation" registered in Vaduz Liechtenstein in accordance with the will of Aristotle Onassis announce the following:
1.- Messrs Stylianos A. Papadimitriou, Paul I. Ioannidis and Apostolos G. Zabelas have resigned from the office they were holding as President and Vice Presidents respectively of both Foundations effective from the 1st of July 2005. They remain as life members of the Board of Directors of both Foundations according to the will of Aristotle Onassis.
2.- Their resignations was accepted by the Board of Directors which proceeded with the unanimous election, effective from 1st of July 2005, of the following to replace them: Anthony S. Papadimitriou, 50, Lawyer and Economist, as President and Treasurer of both Foundations, John P. Ioannidis, 51, Economist, as Vice President of both Foundations and George A. Zabelas, 49, Architect, as Secretary of both Foundations.
3.- Following unanimous decision of the Boards of both Foundations, an Advisory Committee was formed to be constituted by the former members of the Presidency who accepted.
4.- Following a proposal made by several Board Members, the Board unanimously decided to grant to Stylianos A. Papadimitriou, Paul J. Ioannidis and Apostolos G. Zabelas in recognition of their valuable services to both Foundations for more than thirty years since their establishment the titles of Honorary Chairman and Honorary Vice Chairmen respectively.
Source: http://www.onassis.gr/english/press/04072005.html


easyCruise announces the launch of its 2005-2006 Caribbean cruise program
LONDON, England: easyCruise, a recent venture of Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the serial entrepreneur and founder of the easyGroup of companies, including easyJet PLC (Europe's leading low-cost airline listed on the London Stock Exchange) has announced its entry into the winter 2005-2006 Caribbean cruise season with its ship, easyCruiseOne.
The easyCruise web site (www.easycruise.com) is now selling Caribbean cruises beginning November 12, 2005, until April 26, 2006, with prices beginning at $16.20 USD per person per night for a cabin, based on two people sharing. Ports of call include: Bridgetown in Barbados (Saturday and Sunday), Kingstown in St. Vincent (Monday), Fort de France in Martinique (Tuesday), Bequia in The Grenadines (Wednesday), St George's in Grenada (Thursday) and Castries in St. Lucia (Friday).
Barbados, Martinique, Grenada and St. Lucia all have international airports with a selection of direct flights from the U.S., London, Paris and other destinations.
easyCruise offers travelers a unique "luxe for less" opportunity to visit enticing destinations via flexible one-week itineraries that allow cruisers to embark and depart at any port along the route, provided they stay onboard for at least two nights. During the Caribbean season, easyCruiseOne will remain in Barbados for two days and nights to enable passengers to accommodate preferred flight arrangements.
The current and first summer season for easyCruise is proving very encouraging for the company. More than 90 different nationalities have already booked cabins on easyCruiseOne and the average age of easyCruise passengers is 33 years old, more than 20 years younger than the current industry average.
Attracting younger consumers to easyCruise has been done through effective innovation. Contrary to the norm, easyCruiseOne stays in port every night so that passengers can hit the town and enjoy the nightlife. In addition, passengers can join the cruise where and when they want, subject to a two-night minimum, with a 14-night maximum stay.
This same flexible formula will apply to easyCruiseOne in the Caribbean, although passengers will be required to be back on board by midnight, as nightlife in the Caribbean tends to both start and finish earlier than in the Mediterranean.
In the Caribbean, easyCruiseOne will sail sometime after midnight, and arrive in port at approximately 10:00 a.m. (The ship's current schedule in the Mediterranean is to sail after 4:00 a.m. and arrive in port at approximately 1:00 p.m.) In both the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, once the ship has arrived in port, passengers are free to stay on board and enjoy the facilities, or to go ashore.
Source: http://www.caribbeannetnews.com, Thursday, July 7, 2005