Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 29 - 2005
---Qatar has decided to increase its LPG production from natural gas.
The number of Greek shipowners who decide to invest in buying large ships to carry liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), a product of oil, is increasing.
So what has made ever more shipowners invest in LPG vessels? The answer is the expected doubling of global production, mainly due to the great investment plans of Middle Eastern countries. International analysts suggest that the LPG production available for export will increase by at least 54 percent until 2010.
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com, 18 Jul 2005, NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU
---JOHN M Lyras, chairman of the London P&I Club, has expressed concern over the increasing trend towards criminalisation of seafarers and shore personnel, whose errors have led to accidents. Writing in the club's annual report, he says, "Despite some initial signs of recognition in the European Parliament of the negative effect of criminalisation of those who are guilty of the sorts of errors that even the best of us are susceptible to, legislation has been issued from Brussels which will have such an effect.
"The commission, in endeavouring to justify its actions, points out that only the 'seriously negligent' will be prosecuted; but I am afraid that those of us involved in shipping and P&I frequently see cases where the interpretation of that sort of term is stretched to encompass cases where the consequences of the negligence are 'serious', but where criminal culpability is non-existent. This development will actually undermine safety, rather than enhancing it, by discouraging responsible and valuable personnel from pursuing a maritime career." www.lsso.com
Source: Maritime Advocate Online, Issue 214, July 19th, 2005
Fair Voyager, foul behaviour
---THE Greek operator and Liberian owner of Fair Voyager have pleaded guilty to conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements to US investigators. According to the US Attorney Southern District of New York, Fairdeal Group Management of Greece and Fair Voyager Maritime of Liberia will pay a fine of $1.05M, donate $450,000 to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and be placed on four years' probation. The crew of the 50,600gt tanker, under direction of the chief engineer, dumped as much as 60 tonnes of sludge and about 40 tonnes of oil-contaminated bilge into international waters between 21 April 2004 and 20 November 2004 - with charges stemming from the cover-up conspiracy that followed. In addition, the captain admitted he lied to the US Coast Guard on 18 November 2004 when he claimed he had performed a routine test to gauge explosive vapours. The USCG determined there were sufficient vapours 'to cause the ship to explode' and ordered the ship to leave New York harbour. The captain and three crewmembers await sentencing.
Source: Lloyd's Register - Fairplay web links, 18 Jul 2005
Former client puts Ince in dock over shipping brawl
---City-based shipping specialist Ince & Co has been hit by a multimillion-dollar negligence claim from a former Greek client.
Blue Strim also alleges that Ince had a conflict of interest, claiming that the firm was also acting for rival Romline creditors. Additionally, the company has launched criminal proceedings against seven of Ince's lawyers.
Ince rejects all the allegations and has filed a defence. Piraeus-based partner Jonathan Elvey, who is one of the seven defendants in the criminal case, has launched his own criminal proceedings against Blue Strim principal Panagiotis Daskalakis for alleged defamation.
Elvey told The Lawyer that his firm is defending the claim "most vigorously". He said: "We're defending the charges because we don't believe they're right and don't believe they have any merit."
Elvey also denied that there was a conflict of interest.
Blue Strim instructed Ince in the summer of 1996 in relation to the dispute with Romline. It is understood that Blue Strim had entered into an agreement with Romline for the delivery of six small freighters, which the company intended to sub-contract. However, Romline fell into financial difficulty and consequently failed to deliver the vessels.
Elvey said: "Blue Strim made their own decisions, which at the time they thought were right. But those decisions haven't produced what Blue Strim had hoped for, so they're now looking for someone else to blame."
A hearing for the civil case has been scheduled for 17 January 2008. Meanwhile, the Greek authorities are considering whether the criminal complaint should be investigated.
Blue Strim could not be reached for comment.
Source: http://www.thelawyer.com, Jul 18, 2005
BIMCO Masterclass Workshop in Athens
On 22-24 November 2005, BIMCO, in collaboration with Ince & Co, will be holding its fifteenth Masterclass Workshop, a series of innovative BIMCO Courses focusing on key aspects of maritime commerce. The topic of this particular workshop is Sale & Purchase, and the event will be held in Athens.
The BIMCO Masterclass Workshops have been designed for participants who already have some shipping experience and who wish to broaden their knowledge of a particular topic within the shipping industry. Each workshop in the series consists of three days of presentations by the finest experts, combined with group discussions and case studies.
Participants are expected and will be encouraged to contribute actively to both the group discussions and case studies. At the end of each workshop, participants may take an "open book" exam to assess their level of understanding of the subject matter. This assessment, which leads to the award of a BIMCO diploma, will be of value to employers and employees alike in demonstrating the effectiveness of the training and knowledge attained.
Norwegian Saleform 1987 and 1993
Practical Issues and Arbitrating Disputes
Remedies for Breach of Contract and Third Party Claims
B I M C O Courses, Michelle D. Meyhoff, Assistant, Phone: +45 4436 6800, Fax: +45 4436 6868, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ,Web.: www.bimco.org
Source: Press Release,
Greece refuses to give ground to EC demands on ferry manning
---Greece has made an initial spirited reply to European Commission threats to take the country to the European Court over the deregulation of domestic seatransportation. In a reply to a second warning letter from the EC the marine ministry charges the EC with "ignoring a few issues".
Greece had been ordered to make an explanation over a number of domestic law provisions which are deemed incompatible with EU legislation. The country's ferry operators maintain the EU backs their position on deregulation. Provisions deemed incompatible with EU legislation include a price ceiling for economy class fares, the obligation of ferry operators to provide financial guarantees, restrictions on choosing the ports of call, the imposition of a 3% levy on fares, a 30-year age limit on ferries, and the control over complements.
Greece maintains the law of the host state overrides EU law, especially in matters pertaining to manning of ships, and it is this issue which Greece raises in its latest letter to the EC.
Greece has strict manning regulations which it claims are imposed to ensure safety, services and protect seafarers.
While the EC agrees Greece has the authority to arrange matters related to manning of ships it says the regulation has "to be strictly interpreted so as to serve the basic terms of providing free services".
The EC says that under Greek law 177/74 the government is in a position to impose limitations on free services and that the shipowners should have the right to offer services free of restrictive terms if these restrictions are not necessary for the general good. The EC says the Greek law is sweeping and does not take into account the needs of the vessel, hinting it considers the Greek law 'outdated'.
In its letter, the Marine ministry says the EC "deliberately neglects a number of issues" like the fact they are dealing with a special category of ship operating on routes to islands and if conditions are not imposed there will be a wowngrading of vessels, the services they offer and create problems for shipping companies. There will also be fewer work places.
The Marine ministry contends there is a need to maintain a year-round service for the numerous islands of the Greek archipelago and that the issues of crew composition and ship age are based on a desire by the government to ensure safe navigation of ships and the employment of Greek seafarers.
Source: www.newsfront.gr 22 Jul 2005
Four-star rating for Fife ferry service
It has just been awarded a four-star rating by VisitScotland.
Bosses will present the Greek-based operator Superfast Ferries with their award in Rosyth tomorrow.
During a recent inspection, the ferries excelled in every aspect of service and facilities.
Each of the two vessels which ply the route between Fife and Zeebrugge can carry more than 700 people, 100 cars and 110 trucks.
Since its launch in May, 2002, Superfast has carried more than 500,000 passengers, over 120,000 cars and over 100,000 freight units.
It is not the first award the company has picked up.
In January last year the ships on its Scottish route were voted best overall ferries by Holiday Which? magazine.
Source: http://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk, 20 July 2005
Massive drop in Greek ordering
A Piraeus-based broker reveals Greeksare ordering fewer and smaller vessels.
Newbuilding orders from Greek shipowners have fallen by more than 60% in terms of dwt in the first half of this year, as compared with 2004, with the tanker sector experiencing the biggest drop.
Piraeus broker George Moundreas&Co recorded 60 ships totalling just over two million dwt booked in the first six months of this year, as compared with 79 vessels of some 5.3 million dwt last year.
The vessel numbers also included LPG carriers and containerships, which do not appear in the dwt calculations.
Last year, Greek owners booked 55 tankers, including all types, of 3.7 million dwt. This year, that figure crashed to 24 ships of 703,000 dwt.
Breaking down the first-half 2005 figures, Moundreas shows five crude-oil tankers of under 500,000 dwt and just a single products tanker of 51,000 dwt but 18 products/chemical tankers of 171,000 dwt booked, indicating continued interest from Greeks in smaller chemical tankers.
So far there have been 18 bulkers booked this year totalling 1.3 million dwt, as compared with 17 of 1.6 million dwt last year.
However, Moundreas expresses some reservations about the fate of an order for very large bulkers earlier this year. The broker would not give any further details.
Greek owners ordered four LNG carriers in the first half of 2004. This year it appears they have turned their attention to LPG carriers, with orders for 17 vessels totalling 1.2 million cbm.
"In our view, outcome is far behind intentions, which might have led to higher results should secondhand pricing, newbuilding-berth availability and costs be more favourable," said Moundreas of the ordering activity in the first half.
However, while the volume of orders is down this year, a comparison with the outstanding newbuilding orders for the Greek account at the end of June showed that the numbers were slightly higher at 289 units, as compared with 286 last year.
Greeks have outstanding orders for 254 ships of 21.6 million dwt plus a further 35 units that cannot be calculated in dwt terms. Last year they had 266 ships of 25.2 million dwt and an additional 20 that could not be calculated in dwt terms.
Moundreas says that as of the end of June, the shipbuilding environment showed a scarcity of newbuilding berths for largetonnage, higher prices from March this year because of steel-price increases and currency fluctuations, especially inSouth Korea, problems with deliveries of machinery and equipment and signs of a lower freight market.
Moundreas said: "Foreseeing the future, even the imminent one, is becoming a matter of guesswork rather than a cool evaluation of factors."
Source: www.tradewinds.no, By Gillian Whittaker, Athens, published: 22 July 2005
EU directive is damaging to shipping
Letters To The Editor From Epaminondas G E Embiricos- Thursday July 21 2005
SIR, As your readers will be aware, the European Union Directive on Criminal Sanctions for Ship-source Pollution has been formally adopted despite concerns the policy behind it is misconceived, that it is unnecessarily harmful to the maritime industry, and is contrary to international law.
The European Commission has issued a press release which repeats its assertions that these concerns are misplaced. These assertions have not done justice to the detailed reasons presented to the commission to explain the objections, nor to the fact that those expressing them may have some knowledge of the issues involved.
Given the very serious pollution resulting from the Erika and Prestige disasters, it has been understandable that the states most directly affected should press for legal changes.
However, the wider interests of Europe and the international community demand that the reaction to events of this kind takes proper account of all relevant factors. The directive fails to do this.
Europe cannot maintain a decent maritime policy if shipping is viewed as a special interest confined to three member states, and if others forget the economic and strategic importance of the maritime sector throughout the community.
The UK is well-placed during its presidency to lead community policy back to an earlier course, set by Neil Kinnock, which recognised this importance. Other member governments should be encouraged to follow.
Epaminondas G E Embiricos, Chairman, Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee, 38 St Mary Axe, London
Current accounts deficit down in May
Greece's current accounts deficit totalled 575 million euros in May 2005, 138 million euros down compared with the same month 2004, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.
The central bank, in its monthly report on the country's trade figures, said the May figures reflected a significant increase in the transfers' surplus and to a widening of the services' balance, while the incomes' deficit rose while the trade deficit was largely unchanged in May.
Greece's trade deficit rose slightly, as a wider fuel deficit was counterbalanced by an increase in the vessels' surplus.
The country's current accounts deficit totalled 6.006 billion euros in the five month period from January to May 2005, up 1.646 billion euros from the same period last year, reflecting a widening trade deficit. The trade deficit rose by 1.047 billion euros over the same period. The central bank said the country's trade deficit, excluding fuel, recorded a net payment of 228 million euros for the purchase of vessels in January-May 2005, compared with net revenues of 300 million euros from the sale of vessels in the same period in 2004.
The trade deficit rose by 528 million euros, while the shortfall -excluding fuel and vessels- eased by 62 million euros with imports falling by 147 million euros and exports dropping by 85 million euros.
The services' surplus rose by 171 million euros reflecting higher revenues from transportation services, mainly shipping.
Net outflows (direct investments abroad) totalled 106 million euros in May 2005. In the portfolio investment category, net inflows totalled 1.167 billion euros (state bond buying), while the other investments category reported a significant capital outflow.
Foreign direct investments to Greece recorded a net outflow of 66 million euros in the January-May period (from a net inflow of 439 million euros last year), while the other investments category recorded a net outflow of 1.187 billion euros.
The country's foreign exchange reserves totalled 1.7 billion euros at the end of May, the central bank said.
Source: http://www.ana.gr, Saturday 23, July 2005