Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 43 - 2005

 

New rules for stronger ships from next April

---The age-old demand by Greek shipowners that all new ships be strengthened so as to endure the stresses of the sea and give them the greatest possible lifespan will finally be satisfied with the new rules which the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) will enforce from April 1.
In a meeting last week in Piraeus between officials and technical staff of the IACS and the Greek Union of Shipowners (EEE) there was significant progress toward drafting the common rules, particularly regarding tankers and dry-cargo vessels. Several comments and ideas by the EEE were debated, while the IACS clarified a series of issues related to the existing draft rules, before the EEE presented proposals for further amendments.
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com, 26 Oct 2005, NIKOS BARDOUNIAS


Financial fears limit Europe shortsea fleet
One reason for the aging fleet is the shipbuilding directives, which have disallowed shipbuilding aids. Another reason is that dozens of European Union shipyards specialising in small ships have vanished.
Profit margins of coastal ships are less than large, and the construction cost of these ships on a per tonne basis is four times the cost of building a panamax-sized vessel.
Mr Corres called for the industry to tackle the problem on several fronts, simultaneously.
Standard parts (bows, sterns, accommodation quarters, engine rooms) for similar size ships irrespective of type, could bring costs down by 18%, he estimated.
There could be standard sizes, such as serially-produced hulls at 3,000 dwt, 5,000 dwt, 7,500 dwt, 12,000 dwt and 16,000 dwt, which could become tankers, freighters, or containerships. All would be double skinned, with double skinned fuel tanks.
Model testing in Icepronav had proven that this concept works, he said, by using automation as far as possible.
Loan repayments could be made longer to keep daily financial costs down and umbrella arrangements could be introduced for multiple newbuilding orders. There are benefits from the joint purchasing of ship equipment and from encouraging organised procurement.
Financial certainty would be enhanced through partnerships, and high standards of quality would be ensured throughout.
Mr Corres said the key instrument to this example is the mother company. The mother company needs to participate as a majority shareholder in the capital of the 12 daughter companies, each one of which would be the owner of one ship.
The mother company would also have to negotiate the terms of the 12 newbuilding loans with the financial institution and guarantee the good performance of each of the loans.
When the ship is ready, the owner has first refusal rights to charter on a bareboat basis. The hire is paid to the daughter company, which then repays the building loan.
If the operator does not want to bareboat charter the ship, the vessel is simply given to another company that is experienced in operating shortsea ships. If the operator wants to purchase the remaining 51% owned by the mother company, it can make an offer. The operator can also be a partner in other daughters too. An offer can be made to the mother company or anyone else if they want to sell their shares.
Each mother company gathers capital by selling its shares to the public.
Mr Corres said that there are a number of tasks for the industry. It must find shipyards that can organise this structure and provide refund guarantees to the lenders. Negotiations need to take place with suppliers and vessel plans should be prepared. Charterers should be approached to raise their interest.
Source: www.lloydslist.com, Helen Hill reports from the Mare Forum in Amsterdam- Friday October 28 2005


Double fine for fleeing bulker
---A COURT in Brest has ordered a double fine on the master of the Greek bulk carrier Captain Diamantis for polluting the French coast in July 2004 and refusing to obey Navy orders to stop his vessel. Georgios Papageorgiou has been ordered to pay a euro200,000 ($241,000) fine for the pollution and another euro100,000 for neglecting Navy orders to proceed to the port of Brest for police questioning. In practice, 90% of these fines will be paid by the vessel owner, Piraeus-based Diamlemos Shipping Corp. On 7 July 2004, the 2000-built, 62,800 dwt Captain Diamantis, en route from Poland to Morocco, was seen by a French Navy aircraft off Brittany trailing a 2.5km pollution slick. The ship was en route from Poland to Morocco when, ordered to stop, continued its voyage. In January 2005, and after extensive discussions between the vessel owner and the French authorities, the Captain Diamantis had to make a special call at Marseilles to pay euro500.000 bail.
Source: www.fairplay.co.uk, 27 Oct 2005


Contribution of Small Greek Owners to Greek Shipping
part of article by Mr. Ted Petropoulos, MD, Petrofin S.A., published in Marine Money October issue 2005
---In addition to making up nearly two thirds of the market participants and controlling a large number of vessels, the presence of small owners adds depth, variety, individuality and character to Greek shipping.
Each owner seeks to identify and develop his own niche and owning / operating style. In so doing, small owners stress and rely on these factors as opposed to the sheer weight of numbers.
As to the question of whether there is still a viable market for small owners, the answer is undoubtedly yes.
Small owners are flexible enough to be at the right place at the right time and to work a trade route that perhaps would not be of interest to a larger company.
Let us also not forget that Greek shipping supports an enormous number of providers of shipping goods and services of all sizes, nationalities and styles.
These providers enjoy developing close relationships with owners as well as catering their products and services to the individual needs of their specific clients.
Often, these providers can also charge a little more for providing such services or by providing longer credit, which is of valuable assistance to small owners.
The presence of smaller owners has facilitated the emergence, especially in recent years, of banks specifically catering to the smaller owner. Without smaller owners, such banks, not surprisingly mostly smaller banks, would not have been able to compete with the enormously powerful global banks to provide loans and services to owners.
Small owners have also sought to adapt to the challenges of an increasingly difficult shipping environment by standing out with respect to others via superior quality, enhanced organizational skills and the development of their distinct strengths to enhance their competitiveness.
In addition, as Greek shipping stands out against other industries as a successful, rewarding and challenging industry, it has attracted an increasing share of young, educated and capable men and women. These people often make up for their lack of hands-on experience by their appetite, attitude and willingness to adopt new techniques and modern methods. Moreover, as they develop into decision makers in their own companies, they are more prepared to consider commercial alliances, mergers and acquisitions, going public to tap the international capital markets and developing their companies from family based to corporate.
The success of Greek shipping has been primarily due to the commitment and skills of small owners who initially ventured into shipping to seek their fortunes.
The Future of Small Greek Owners
Readers should be wary of misinterpretation of the decline in the absolute and relative number of small Greek owners as a percentage of the total. The decline in numbers is a natural process, taking place internationally as part of the consolidation of ownership of international shipping and its concentration into fewer but larger global players.
However, the remaining (surviving) small owners are often stronger and better prepared to meet the challenges of modern shipping.
In addition, realising that their small size works against them, they seek to compete in different ways, e.g. quality, market niche, differentiation, etc.
Furthermore, more and more small owners are committed to growth and are seeking opportunities to do so. These opportunities are inherent in shipping via its market cycles, which allow small owners to develop a profitable investment strategy.
Recently, there were additional opportunities in attracting fresh capital either via the public markets or by attracting private equity. Even traditional family-run and self-supporting small Greek owners have a future and the opportunity to survive, strengthen and grow. Whilst their numbers may continue to decline in absolute terms, their overall presence and significance will continue to form the bedrock of Greek shipping and one of its important differentiating characteristics versus other nationalities.
Source: www.marinemoney.com, October issue 2005


Eastern Mediterranean doubles its bulker money
---Eastern Mediterranean Maritime (Eastmed) of Greece appears to have done well on its investment in a 15-year-old bulker. Sources close to the company say that the 69,000-dwt Manna (built 1990) has gone to KC Maritime of Hong Kong for $23.5m.
The price is more than twice as much as the Greek owner paid for the ship, when it was purchased in October 1999 as Daphne Ocean for $10.2m from Idemitsu. Although Eastmed put money into repairing the vessel after purchase, it has obviously made big profits on trading the ship, which was mainly carrying grain.
At the time it bought the bulker, the price was considered low as the vessel had only five holds and hatches instead of the usual seven. The price now achieved is considered high.
London broker Clarkson suggests that the value of a 15-year-old standard panamax is $20m but sources also say the Manna is in excellent condition. KC Maritime is said to be planning to convert the ship into a self-unloading bulker and that the Manna met its requirements for the project.
Eastmed is recognised as a shrewd asset-play operator but has not been very active this year.
In April, the company exited the capesize market when it sold the 174,000-dwt bulker Karteria (built 1985) for $35.5m to Jiali Ocean Shipping of Hong Kong. Eastmed bought the ship in 2002 for close to $11m.
On the tanker side, Eastmed sold the 148,000-dwt Marina M (built 1996) to the Papachristides group in June for a reported $69.3m. In August, the company sold the 88,000-dwt tanker Lucky Lady (built 1981) for $10m to Awilco of Norway. But Eastmed has retained management of the tanker until early next year, when it is understood that the ship will be converted into an offshore support vessel.
Source: www.tradewinds.no, Gillian Whittaker and Trond Lillestolen Athens and Oslo,m published: 28 October 2005


Aries Maritime Transport Limited Acquires Products Tanker
---Aries Maritime Transport Limited (NASDAQ: RAMS) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the Chinook, a 2001-built 38,700 dwt double-hulled products tanker, under the terms of the Company's right of first refusal agreement with Aries Energy Corporation. The Chinook, which is a sister-ship of Aries' Bora and Nordanvind, is expected to be delivered in November 2005.
The Chinook will join the Aries fleet with 14 months remaining on a 3-year time charter to the Italian stock listed group, Navigazione Montanari. The aggregate cost to acquire the vessel is $32.6 million, inclusive of the existing time charter at the gross rate of $13,100 per day for the remainder of 2005 and $13,700 per day until expiration of the contract in January 2007. The Company plans to draw upon its $150 million revolving senior credit facility to fund the transaction.
Mons S. Bolin, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "This transaction provides several important benefits for the Company and its shareholders. First and foremost, we have acquired a double-hulled products tanker at a very compelling price. Furthermore, Aries has once again improved the age profile of its fleet and increased its ability to realize the advantages of operating sister-ships. Consistent with our strategy, the profitable charter attached to the vessel also enables the Company to continue to provide shareholders with stable earnings while retaining the ability to benefit from the expected continued strong rate environment for modern double-hull products tankers when the current charter expires in 14 months."
With the addition of the Chinook and the two recently purchased Panamax newbuildings, expected to be received in November 2005 and March 2006, Aries will operate a fleet of ten double-hulled products tankers with an average age of 6 years and total dwt of 575,325. 100% of the Company's products fleet will be employed on profitable time charters with an average duration of 2.5 years. Including the two recently purchased Panamax products tankers, three of the Company's products tankers have profit sharing agreements attached to their charters.
Mr. Bolin continued, "Aries' success at completing the acquisition at a price we consider attractive combined with the significant long-term earnings potential of the vessel, positions the Company to provide shareholders with a strong return. We remain extremely optimistic on the long-term prospects of the products sector. The acquisition of this vessel combined with our recent purchase of two new products tankers from the Stena Group, further enhances Aries' position for taking advantage of the industry's favorable dynamics."
The Company expects to declare its initial quarterly dividend in the amount of $0.52 per share, following the announcement of its third quarter 2005 results on November 1, 2005. The first dividend will cover the four-month period between June 1, 2005 and September 30, 2005. The Company currently intends to pay a quarterly dividend in February, May, August and November of each year.
About Aries Maritime Transport Limited
Aries Maritime Transport Limited is an international shipping company that owns and operates products tankers and container vessels. The Company's products tanker fleet, which has an average age of 8 years and is 100% double-hulled, consists of four MR tankers, two Panamax tankers and one Aframax tanker. Following the delivery of two double-hulled products tankers in November 2005 and one in March 2006, the Company's products tanker fleet will have an average age of 6 years. The Company also owns a fleet of five container vessels. The Company's container vessels have an average age of 15.7 years and range in capacity from 1,799 to 2,917 TEU. All of the Company's product tankers and container vessels currently operate under long-term time charters.
Source: www.ariesmaritime.com, 27 Oct 2005


Diana Shipping Inc. Reports Financial Results For the Third Quarter
---ATHENS, Greece, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE: DSX), a global shipping transportation company specializing in dry bulk cargoes, today reported net income of $16.4 million for the third quarter of 2005, compared to net income of $8.9 million recorded in the third quarter of 2004, representing an increase of $7.5 million or 84%. Voyage and time charter revenues were $25.8 million for the third quarter of 2005, an increase of 70% from the $15.2 million reported in the same period of 2004.
Net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2005 increased by $22.6 million or 79% to $51.1 million, compared to $28.5 million for the equivalent period in 2004. Voyage and time charter revenues were $79.1 million for the first nine months of 2005, compared to $45.4 million for the same period of 2004, representing an increase of 74%.
The Company has declared a cash dividend on its common stock of $0.465 per share, based on the Company's results of operations during the third quarter ended September 30, 2005. The cash dividend will be payable on or about November 22, 2005 to all shareholders of record as of November 7, 2005. The Company has 40 million shares of common stock outstanding.
During the third quarter of 2005, there were 10 vessels on average operating in the Company's fleet.
Conference Call and Webcast Information
Diana Shipping Inc. will conduct a conference call and webcast at 10:30 A.M. Eastern Time on Thursday, November 3, 2005, to discuss these financial results. Investors may access the webcast on the Company's website at http://www.dianashippinginc.com by clicking on the webcast link. The webcast also is accessible at http://www.viavid.net, by clicking on the Diana Shipping link under "Events". Listeners should allow extra time before the webcast begins to register for the webcast and download any necessary audio software.
The conference call also may be accessed by telephone by dialing 1-888-858-4756 (for U.S.-based callers) or 1-973-935-2405 (for international callers).
A replay of the webcast will be available soon after the completion of the call and will be accessible on both http://www.dianashippinginc.com and http://www.viavid.net. A telephone replay will be available by dialing 1-877-519-4471 (for U.S.-based callers) or 1-973-341-3080 (for international callers); callers must enter the code number 6657528.
Source: http://www.dianashippinginc.com


Tsakos Energy Navigation Announces the Sale of Tanker 'Dionisos'
---ATHENS, Greece, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited (TEN) (NYSE:TNP) today announced the sale of the 37,432 dwt tanker Dionisos to a Far-eastern state shipping company. The vessel was delivered to TEN in June 2005 and operated in a tanker pool. The vessel was delivered to the new owners today and will generate a significant capital gain of $18 million.
"In light of our stated strategy of enhancing shareholder value through profitable operations and strategic sale and purchase transactions, such opportunities cannot and should not be overlooked," stated Mr. Nikolas P. Tsakos, President and CEO of Tsakos Energy Navigation. "The capital gain that will be realized, without altering the core structure of our fleet, is equivalent to five years of expected operational profits from the Dionisos in today's strong period charter environment."
Mr. Tsakos concluded, "With eleven newbuildings representing 40 percent expansion joining our fleet over the next 7 quarters, and with other opportunities under consideration, we believe continued growth of the Company is secured."
Since the beginning of 2004 TEN has taken delivery of six vessels (five newbuildings and one second-hand), with an average age of 1.4 years, and has placed orders for ten additional newbuildings with 1.6 million dwt combined capacity. In the same period, it sold nine vessels totaling 600,000 dwt with an average age of 14.0 years, contributing $66 million in capital gains. The next newbuilding to join TEN's fleet is the 1A ice-class double-hull Suezmax tanker, "Archangel" expected to be delivered in January 2006 in South Korea.
Source: ctober 27, 2005, PR Newswire


Quintana Maritime Announces Third Quarter 2005 Results
---ATHENS, GREECE -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 10/25/2005 -- Quintana Maritime Limited (NASDAQ: QMAR), an international provider of dry bulk cargo marine transportation services, announced today that it will release its third quarter 2005 results for the period ending September 30, 2005 before the market opens on Wednesday, November 2nd 2005.
On the same day, Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005 at 10:00 A.M. EST, the company's management will host a conference call to discuss the results.
Conference Call details:
Participants should dial into the call 10 minutes before the scheduled time using the following numbers: 1 866 819 7111 (from the US), 0800 953 0329 (from the UK) or + 44 (0) 1452 542 301 (from outside the US). Please quote "Quintana."
In case of any problem with the above numbers, please dial 1 866 869 2352 (from the US), 0800 694 1449 (from the UK) or + 44 (0) 1452 560 304 (from outside the US). Quote "Quintana."
A telephonic replay of the conference call will be available until November 9th, 2005 by dialing 1 866 247 4222 (from the US), 0800 953 1533 (from the UK) or + 44 (0) 1452 550 000 (from outside the US). Access Code: 1859591# Slides and audio webcast:
There will also be a live, and then archived, webcast of the conference call, through the internet through Quintana Maritime's website (www.quintanamaritime.com). Participants to the live webcast should register on the website approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the webcast.
Source: www.quintanamaritime.com