Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 47 - 2005

 

Onassis aide Stelios Papadimitriou dies

---ATHENS, Greece -- Lawyer Stelios Papadimitriou, a close aide of Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis who clashed bitterly with his employer's former son-in-law over management of the magnate's wealth, died Wednesday. He was 75.
Papadimitriou died of lung cancer at the Onassis Heart Surgey Center, officials of the hospital said.
Papadimitriou, born in Alexandria, Egypt, served as personal lawyer and chief executive of Onassis' shipping business and was honorary chairman of the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation.
He presided over the foundation's board until July 2005, when he resigned in favor of his son, Anthony.
Aristotle Onassis died in 1975, and his daughter, Christina, died in 1988 at age 37, a year after she divorced her French husband, Thierry Roussel.
Papadimitriou fought bitter court battles with Roussel over management of the vast fortune. The fight spilled over to include Athina Roussel, who inherited an estimated $2.7 billion of her grandfather's fortune on her 18th birthday in January 2002.
Aristotle Onassis - the "Golden Greek" who married Jacqueline Kennedy in 1968 - died two years after a 1973 plane crash that killed his son, Alexander, after whom the foundation is named.
Onassis' fortune was divided two ways: Athina's inheritance from her mother, Christina, and a foundation that controls the shipping business and a vast charitable trust.
Papadimitriou is survived by his wife, Alexandra, and three sons, Anthony, the foundation chairman; George, a civil engineer; and Dimitrios, a composer.
The funeral will be in Athens on Friday.
Source:


Somali pirates free captive ship and crew
---NAIROBI (Reuters) - Somali pirates have freed a ship and its crew after holding them hostage for almost one month off Somalia's northeast coast, a maritime official said on Saturday.
The Maltese-owned San Carlo tanker, carrying a 24-member Greek crew and a cargo of gas, was hijacked on October 20 in the Indian Ocean as it made its way from Bahrain to South Africa.
"We have information that the vessel was released yesterday and we believe that it is making its way to its original destination which is South Africa," said Andrew Mwangura, programme coordinator at the Kenyan Seafarers' Association.
"We don't know whether any ransom was paid, but I am sure that some compensation would have been given to the captors for them to release the ship," he told Reuters in Nairobi.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, there have been at least 25 hijackings and attempted seizures of vessels by Somali pirates since March.
There are still six ships being held along with their crews by pirates and at least five ships have been attacked weeks in a sharp rise of banditry in the busy Indian Ocean corridor off the coast of the East Africa.
The northern and southern parts of Somalia's coastline -- Africa's longest -- link trade routes for key commodities like oil, grains and iron ore from the Gulf and the Red Sea down to the Mozambique Channel.
Thousands of merchant ships snake down past the Somali coast to the Cape of Good Hope every year.
Somalia has been ruled by rival warlords since dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991. Many warlords gangs who smuggle drugs, weapons and people by road, sea and air around the region, experts say.
Piracy is a lucrative and growing offshoot of this trade.
Source: Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:48 PM GMT, http://za.today.reuters.com


Liquidator sets about clearing up mess at DANE
---Rhodes-based Dane Sealine has notified the Athens Stock Exchange that the process to liquidate the company is progressing. In a statement to the ASE, Dane and its 41.87% stakeholder Anek Lines notified the exchange the liquidator has started work under Article 46 of Greek Law 1892/1990.
First to be paid will be the Seamen's Pension Fund (NAT), then the crew and shore employees.
August 2004 NAT paid-off some 400 seafarers and obtained court approval to try and find a buyer for the company's three ships which it has been unable to do.
Dane's key assets are the ferries Diagoras, 7,000gt, built 1990, 1,170 passengers, 400 cars; the Patmos, 9,000gt, built 1972, 1,650/343; and the Rodos, 10,298gt, built 1973, 1,400/400; and some 11 stremma of choice land on the island of Rhodes.
Anek, which has been calling for the situation to be cleared up for going on two years, is said to be owed more than its stake in Dane is worth.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 25 November 2005 Vol. 6 / No. 44


Excel Maritime Agrees to Sell 26 Year Old Vessel
---PIRAEUS, GREECE -- (MARKET WIRE) -- Nov 22, 2005 -- Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd (NYSE: EXM), an owner and operator of dry bulk carriers and a provider of worldwide seaborne transportation services for dry bulk cargoes, today announced that it agreed to sell "Almar I", a Capesize bulk carrier of 107,140 dwt built in 1979. The sale of the vessel is expected to generate a capital gain of approximately $ 2.5 million for the company.
Christopher Georgakis, President and CEO commented: "Since last November, we have been committed to a strategy of fleet renewal. The sale of "Almar I", a 26 year old Capesize bulk carrier and the oldest vessel in our fleet took place within the context of this strategy. The average age of our fleet is now further reduced to 12.8 years, well below the industry average of 16 years. We are pleased both with the timing and the price of the sale."
Christopher Georgakis commented further: "We now have a fleet of 17 vessels with a total carrying capacity of 1,004,930 dwt. With 9 vessels already deployed in the period market and 8 vessels operating in the spot market, we believe we are well positioned to take advantage of the improved freight rate environment, while at the same time we have greater visibility of earnings."
Updated Fleet List is available at: www.excelmaritime.com
About Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd
The Company is an owner and operator of dry bulk carriers and a provider of worldwide seaborne transportation services for dry bulk cargoes, such as iron ore, coal and grains, as well as bauxite, fertilizers and steel products. The company's current fleet consists of 17 vessels (ten Panamax and seven Handymax vessels) with a total carrying capacity of 1,004,930 dwt. The Company was incorporated in 1988 and its common stock had been listed on the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) since 1998. As of September 15, 2005 Excel Maritime is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), trading under the symbol EXM. For more information about the company, please go to our corporate website www.excelmaritime.com .
Source: 22 November 2005, Market Wire


New captains of industry catch a wave of consolidation
---ATHENS Angeliki Frangou could see that times were changing. So a year ago, Frangou, the scion of a Greek shipping family, set up a company, raised three-quarters of a billion dollars from banks and investors, and went out shopping for a big fleet of ocean-going cargo ships.
Her first purchase, for $600 million, was Navios Maritime Holdings, a one-time offshoot of U.S. Steel and one of the oldest and most respected names in shipping. The 21-vessel fleet that came with that deal, which was completed in August, is the first in what she promises will be a string of acquisitions. She even took over Navios's name for her company.
Frangou's goal is to be a major player in the wave of consolidation that is reshaping the $380 billion global shipping industry.
"We are a growth company," Frangou, 40, said. "That's why I moved from my family company and bought Navios, to use it as a platform for consolidation. And I'm looking to increase our fleet further with a second acquisition."
The new mantra around the Piraeus waterfront near Athens these days is that bigger is better. A three-year shipping boom, stricter environmental regulations and a raft of new listings on international stock markets are fueling a consolidation in the global shipping industry.
In the process, shipping is going a transformation from what was once a family-run, cowboy culture to a modern, professional and corporate way of doing business.
That's a sea change for what has traditionally been a highly fragmented industry. In shipping, Greeks control about 28 percent of the world's fleet, making Greece by far the biggest ship-owning country, followed by Japan, Norway and the United States.
But everywhere shipping is being concentrated into fewer and bigger players. Higher shipping rates have helped raise profits and stoke investor interest, which in turn has led to new capital for expansion and acquisition.
Since mid-2004, more than a dozen shipping companies - most, but not all, of them Greek - have gone public, and another two dozen have considered listing. As a result, the market capitalization of the entire sector has grown to almost $20 billion from $3.8 billion in 2002, the year before the boom started.
Acquisitions have followed. In the past 18 months, a number of big deals have been made: Late last year, the privately held Restis Group paid $740 million to acquire the 32-ship dry-bulk fleet previously owned by MISC of Malaysia. General Maritime, a U.S.-based company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, recently acquired a 16-vessel fleet of dry-bulk carriers for $420 million from China. Since listing in July 2004, a relative newcomer, Top Tankers, has tripled in size with two acquisitions totaling more than a quarter of a million dollars.
"Shipping is a good story," said Anthony Argyropoulos, managing director at Cantor Fitzgerald. "It is akin to the circulatory system of the human body. Without shipping, the global economy would come to a screeching halt."
One reason for the current boom is the fast-growing Chinese economy, particularly since Beijing entered the World Trade Organization in 2003. China's thirst for imports of oil, coal and iron ore, as well as growth in Chinese exports, have lifted each of shipping's three major subsectors: containers, which carry consumer goods like clothes and electronics; tankers, which transport oil and refined petroleum products; and dry-bulk carriers, which carry everything else, but mostly commodities like coal, mineral ores and grain.
The boom has been especially pronounced in the tanker and dry-bulk sectors, which each account for about a quarter of the world's 40,000-odd cargo-carrying ships, but also in the smaller 3,000-vessel container fleet. The remaining ships are dry-bulk carriers' cousins, which are classified as general cargo ships and are often smaller, older and less sophisticated, lacking, for example, onboard cranes.
In the past four years, world dry cargo trade has grown at an average 7.2 percent rate, almost twice the historical average rate of 4 percent. Over the same period, the tanker trade has grown at a 4 percent clip and container shipping at a 12 percent rate.
The demand for shipping comes just as the industry is being constrained by a shortage of ships. In the tanker industry, new environmental regulations are forcing ship owners to scrap older vessels and build new ones - the result of legislation in the United States and Europe following the Exxon Valdez and Erika oil-spill disasters in 1989 and 1999, respectively. By 2007, for example, tankers older than 26 years will be banned from European Union waters, and by 2010 only double-hulled tankers will be allowed into the United States.
In the dry-bulk market, years of underinvestment - as shipyards focused on more lucrative tanker and container ship contracts - have created a relative shortage of new ships. Over the next two years, an estimated 2,000 new dry-bulk vessels are expected to join the world's fleet, equal to about 20 percent of the current total. But at the same time, a third of the world's bulk carriers are now over 20 years old, and the average retirement age of such a ship is 27.
The net result of high demand and increasingly tight supply is that shipping rates have soared. Last year was the best year ever for shipowners. For example, in 2004, spot charter rates for supertankers topped $200,000 a day, surpassing the record highs last seen for tankers during the oil crisis of the mid-1970s. Rates have since cooled, but are still well above $100,000 a day, suggesting that 2005 is on track to being a bumper year.
Long before the days of the shipping tycoons Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos, Greece boasted a centuries-old shipping tradition. Nowadays, the industry accounts for an estimated 2.5 percent of the Greek economy. But ownership is scattered across hundreds of small, mostly family-owned companies. The average Greek shipping company owns just five vessels, mainly tankers and dry-bulk carriers.
There are now an estimated 700 Greek shipping companies, a hundred fewer than 10 years ago. Meanwhile, the number of vessels owned by Greeks has increased 6 percent, and the total gross tonnage by more than 50 percent. Altogether, the Greek-owned fleet now totals more than 3,300 ships, according to the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping.
"Ten to 15 years from now, you will see a more concentrated industry," said Christopher Georgakis, 41, chief executive of Excel Maritime, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. "Shipping is extremely capital intensive. And what has happened recently is that you have had a large number of shipping companies accessing the U.S. capital markets. And that ability to raise funds with relative ease positions them much better for consolidation."
The current shipping boom comes at a time when the industry itself is undergoing another fundamental change: A new generation is taking the helm.
Traditionally, Greek shipping has been a family affair. In the 1960s and 1970s, many companies were founded by retiring sea captains who would come ashore after years at sea, buy a second-hand ship and expand a company one ship at a time. Capital came from retained earnings, bank loans and private investors linked to the family through personal relationships.
The "kapitanie," as they are still affectionately known, are now slowly stepping back. And the new generation - well-traveled and well-educated, many with postgraduate finance and engineering degrees from American universities - are bringing a more corporate approach to shipping.
In the old days, company bookkeeping was done Sunday mornings over coffee at the kitchen table; today, satellite maps track global ship operations in real time and every afternoon there are videoconference calls to branch offices in Connecticut and Uruguay.
"Shipping, especially Greek shipping, has for years been steeped in mystery and mysticism where the head of the family was also the head of the business and was quite secretive," Georgakis said. "The younger generation of Greek shipowners have a different take on how companies should be run and have new ideas. So there is a new, corporate approach coming into Greek shipping, primarily because of the younger generation."
Stepping into her rather Spartan office in Piraeus, Frangou is representative of the new approach. With her understated jewelry, short steel-gray hair and dark-blue suit, she comes across like a hard-charging, investment banker - a job she held for several years in New York. Immediately, she begins to talk about long term trends in the shipping market, the future growth of China and the visibility of earnings. She describes herself as being an impatient person by nature.
But behind her is family tradition that comes from the high seas, not Wall Street. She and her older brother are the fifth generation of her family in shipping. Her father is half-owner of the privately held Goodfaith Shipping, one of the 10 largest Greek shipping companies.
"If you take the strength of Greek shipping in the past, it was based on a thorough technical knowledge of the ships themselves," said Frangou, an engineer by training who pursued graduate studies at Columbia University. "But the new generation is better educated, and their strength is combining knowledge of ships with knowledge of the capital markets."
Many analysts see that as the key to the coming consolidation in the industry: Only companies with access to financial markets will be able to build expensive new ships or acquire the fleets of weaker rivals.
The scope of the challenge is enormous. For one thing, ships are expensive. A new supertanker or large container ship costs $100 million to build; acquiring a large fleet of secondhand ships, $500 million or more. And even though shipping rates are high now, a downturn in the future may turn investors away.
"It is clearly a cyclical industry, but you will have more consolidation," Argyropoulos, at Cantor Fitzgerald, said. At the same time, he added, because of the growth in world trade and the limited supply of ships being delivered, "It's an industry that may continue to overperform."
Source: By Alkman Granitsas, http://www.iht.com, International Herald Tribune, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2005


Surge in world trade keeps Greek shipowners in the lead
Of the total capacity of 54,642,000 dwt of the Greek-flagged fleet, 31,035,000 dwt was accounted for by tankers, 20,468,000 dwt by bulk carriers, 2,237,000 dwt by container ships and 494,000 dwt by general cargo vessels.
New orders, listings
On the back of this global surge in world trade, Greek shipowners witnessed an especially satisfactory growth in their business, and many of them ordered new ships and sought to fund the expansion of their companies through stock market listings, particularly in New York.
Freight rates continued rising last year and have done so in 2005, particularly for tankers and bulk carriers. Tanker transports rose 4.2 percent in number, while those for iron were up 12.6 percent and for coal, wheat and bauxite 5 percent.
Developing countries saw their share in the global transport fleet grow to 22.6 percent from 21.2 percent in 2003. Ships registered in Asian countries represent 17.4 percent of world tonnage, against 27 percent of developed nations. The global fleet grew 4.5 percent, reaching 895,800,000 dwt at the beginning of 2005. Newly delivered vessels totaled 49,400,000 dwt, while withdrawals and losses were 10,600,000 dwt.
Tankers and bulk carriers grew by 6.1 and 4.2 percent in capacity respectively and represented 73.3 percent of the global total. The international container fleet increased 8.4 percent to a total of 98,100,000 dwt. The total capacity of liquefied gas carriers reached 22,500,000 dwt.
The average age of the global merchant fleet in 2004 was 12.3 years, with 27.3 percent being over 20 years. Container ships are the youngest, with an average age of 9.4 years.
Source: KATHIMERINI English Edition, Date: 11-26-2005, Category : ECONOMY


Greek shipping community underlines its love affair with the London market.
---Owners looking for equity are again finding the British capital attractive, writes Nigel Lowry
Moreover, it is unusual for much time to elapse between events that serve as a pointed reminder of the importance of maritime business connections between the Greek controlled fleet and what the UK can offer the wider shipping world.
Just recently, London seems to have re-emerged as an important point on the compass for Greek shipowners when it comes to raising equity funds.
In the last two years of increased public equity offerings for shipping, investment banks in the city have played a significant role in advising on and co-ordinating issues, but it has taken a couple of Greek shipping ventures to put the London stock market back on the map for shipping flotations.
The dry bulk and container operator, which is linked to Paris Dragnis-headed Goldenport Shipmanagement in Athens, currently has a fleet of 17 vessels, mainly panamax and handymax bulk carriers as well as feeder containerships.
After the offering, which is being lead-managed by HSBC, the company hopes to begin trading on the main exchange in the first week of December. If successful, it will become the only pure shipping company on the main board.
GO Carriers, led as chief executive by Vassilis Vintiadis of Piraeus-based Niva Shipping, was the first Greek-interest shipping company to list in London since venerable London & Overseas Freighters.
Most Greek firms are established as shipbrokers or agents rather than acting as principals in London, although the precise functions tend to differ from group to group.
Although the number of such agencies has declined somewhat from a tally of 160 a decade ago, it has remained steady at about 120 for a number of years according to figures provided by the community.
The main deficit has been in the occasional company disappearance or relocation of management back to Greece, while there has been a thin trickle of new offices opening to offset this, the Committee says.
Source: 24 November 2005, Lloyd's List


Athens bourse sets new rules to woo big owners
---The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) is hoping to woo larger Greek and foreign shipping companies with new regulations that will allow dual listings. Amended clauses in the ASE rules will allow any Greek or foreign shipping company to be listed on the exchange, provided it fulfils requirements including much higher capitalisation than previously called for.
The additional clauses mean candidate companies will no longer need to form a special-purpose oceangoing-shipping investment company (EEPN) under Greek law, as was previously necessary, although this format will continue to exist.
The changes will clear the way for companies already listed on foreign stock exchanges to also tap into the Greek market without getting enmeshed in the Greek legal system - previously a disincentive.
Companies will be required to have assets of EUR 15m ($17.5m), pre-tax profits over a three-year period of EUR 12m, with an annual minimum of EUR 3m, and earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) over a three-year period of at least EUR 16m and not less than EUR 4m annually. The applicant company will also be required to have a minimum total capitalisation of EUR 100m, a level financial analysts say will cut out small, opportunistic companies.
In the case of a dual listing on the ASE and another stock exchange, the Greek bourse will accept accounts prepared in accordance with the US General Accounting Principles (US-GAP).
Dual listings will also require the establishment of the necessary electronic communication between the Athens and the foreign stock exchange and a clearing system.
The Athens exchange has been tinkering with regulations concerning oceangoing-shipping companies for several years. It first issued rules in 2000 but has not yet succeeded in attracting a single company.
Observers have frequently commented that the ASE does not have the volume to accommodate large listings, which in the US can range up to $250m and more.
One analyst who has closely followed the ASE's effort to draw in shipping companies believes its first successes will probably be dual listings. He thinks that it is unlikely a company with the required numbers would go initially to the Geek market rather than to the US or UK markets.
However, he comments, if a boom similar to that experienced in 1999 were to reoccur, some owners of this magnitude might be attracted to Athens by the fact that the company's shares would sell at a significant premium over net-asset value.
Gillian Whittaker Athens published: 18 November 2005
Source: http://www.tradewinds.no


The fix is on
The world of shiprepair is almost unrecognisable from the picture of panic driven by an overcapacity crisis four years ago.
Today, instead of a global overcapacity, many yards can pick and choose jobs they prefer: the most lucrative ones. And owners, no matter where they operate, are flocking to China to queue up for cut-price repair. The past year has been particularly busy from a surge in repair contracts. This increase in demand has shifted the balance of power from owner to yard.
Most Chinese yards, which win most repair jobs these days, are fully booked for next two months for the first time ever. Owners find that work is sometimes delayed by weeks, which means that less organised companies struggle against more agile competitors to secure any suitable slot.
Yards have never been able to charge prices as high as those today, leading some to accuse the repair industry of being greedy.
For shipowners, these changes all add up to more delays and higher prices.
The OpCost 2005 report, which compiles costs of more than 1,200 ships from Moor Stephens data, shows substantial increases in repair costs in 2004 for all ships except two tanker types and feeders. Furthermore, these repair cost increases are hitting the wallets of owners at a time when their operating costs are going up across the board.
But analysts of the repair industry tell Fairplay that greed is hardly the only thing motivating yards to push up prices. In general, yards in China and Dubai are making more money, but their material costs have gone up, too.
Steel prices, a major overhead item for yards, have risen by about four-fifths over the past three years; ultimately, yards pass these costs on to shipowners.
And labour costs have also ratcheted higher, adding greatly to overhead expenses at the yards. Although repair prices have gone up worldwide, China has seen less inflation in the past two years. Further, Southeast Asia can still undercut Europe by as much as 80%.
In Asia, China is undoubtedly still the cheapest and most popular country for repair. Its steel costs are still only about $1.50 per kg, or even $1 a kg at the more remote yards. Most yards outside China pay closer to $2.5-4.5 per kg.
Singapore perceived as dear
Singapore is now considered to be relatively expensive, even though the island nation remains about half as dear as European repair yards in the Mediterranean.
Still, Singapore has carved itself a niche in Asia for high-value, quality repairs completed on schedule. It now focuses on LNG carriers and drilling rigs.
China has meantime cornered the market on blasting, painting and steel jobs. Owners are willing to go out of their way to cash in on low Chinese prices.
But worldwide, rising prices have not really affected the appetite of owners for repair. Further, recent high freight rates mean that companies have plenty of cash to spend. Now is the first time in years that many yards have had orderbooks stretching weeks ahead, even months. This gives yards more control of the global market.
This situation gives them more clout in negotiations: yards do not need to cave in to owner demands on price, as has happened in the past.
Full orderbooks cause another problem for shipowners: a lot of jobs are finished late, and owners lose money as ships are laid up for longer than expected.
When it comes to this issue, owners clearly are none too pleased to pay extra charges for something that is not their responsibility.
As demand for repair increases and yards get booked up, owners and managers must plan dry-docking schedules well in advance, or they will not get the slot they want and their ships will not be ready on schedule, Fairplay is told.
Source: Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, 24 Nov 2005


2004 oil spill still resonates
Residents, officials still worry about effects, costs
Cindy Pierson remembers the scene on this beach a year ago, after a massive oil spill dumped thousands of gallons of crude into the Delaware River.
"This was not something that was happening in Alaska. This was in our backyard," said Pierson, who lives about a half-mile from the Delaware on Pompeston Creek.
These days, the river shows little evidence of the spill. But environmentalists and government officials say they're worried about the long-term effects of the oil on birds, fish and organisms that call the river home. They also want to figure out who will pay for the spill's damage.
The spill occurred Nov. 26, 2004, when the Athos I, an oil tanker carrying crude from Venezuela to a Citgo refinery in Paulsboro, south of Camden, was being pulled into port by tugboats.
A year later, many experts say that one of the biggest risks is assuming that because the oil isn't immediately visible, it's gone.
"It quickly becomes very invisible unless you look, but the oil gets down in the sediment," said Joanna Burger, a biology professor at Rutgers who has written two books about oil spills. "There's still oil on the rocks where the Exxon Valdez happened, and that was 15 years ago."
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, along with local agencies including New Jersey's environmental protection department, is gauging environmental damage caused by the spill. The study won't be finished until the end of 2006.
That raises concerns for environmentalists and government officials who worry about the oil spill's effect on fish and other organisms that feed on the river bed.
So far there is only anecdotal information to go on. Pierson, a volunteer who has been tracking the snapping turtle population in the area for years, says she's noticed far fewer turtles laying eggs along the shore.
One of the most shocking images of any spill is the birds whose feathers are drenched in oil. Erica Miller, from the Delaware-based Tri-State Bird Rescue, said there were two factors that tempered the spill's effect on the birds.
Slightly more than 450 oiled birds were brought in to the rescue center for cleaning, said Miller and the vast majority survived and were later released back into the wild. But Miller added that no one knows exactly how many birds died, because most dead birds probably sunk.
Tsakos Shipping and Trading SA, the company that operates the Athos I, paid $121 million, although by law they were only required to pay $45 million. The rest of the money came from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, a federal fund into which oil companies must pay to cover the costs of spills.
NOAA's report will quantify how much it will cost to pay for the environmental damage done by the oil spill. And then the question arises: Who will pay for that damage?
Jim Lawrence, spokesman for Tsakos, said the company shouldn't be held responsible, saying "the vessel was the victim" because it hit objects on the river floor that weren't marked or listed on charts.
But some environmental organizations, like the Delaware Riverkeeper, are pushing for Tsakos to shoulder more of the costs.
The U.S. Coast Guard is completing its own study determining who is responsible for the spill.
Environmental Commissioner Campbell said the spill highlighted the need for Congress to increase the oil companies' liability for future spills and the need for more preventative measures.
"Even a perfect response is not going to be able to prevent significant damage," Campbell said.
Source: http://www.app.com, Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 11/25/05, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


LLoyd's List Greek Shipping Awards & Dinner 2005
- a night devoted to a celebration of the world's premier national shipping industry. Launched last year with great success, the Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards have instantly established themselves as one of the most important events in the maritime calendar. The venue was Athenaeum InterContinental, Athens on Friday, 25th November 2005
Nominations for the 2nd annual Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards, was expanded to embrace 12 different categories of excellence.
The independent judging panel for 2005 had a tough task selecting the worthiest winners among Greek companies and personalities, as well as in key service sectors.
The judging panel (In alphabetical order):-
Vasso Armogeni, Managing Editor of Efoplistis ('Shipowner') magazine
Nicos Efthymiou, President of the Union of Greek Shipowners
Dinos Caroussis, Vice Chairman of the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee
Markos Foros, Chairman, the Propeller Club, International Port of Piraeus
George Gratsos, President of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping
Capt. John Halas, General Secretary of the Panhellenic Seaman's Federation
Nigel Lowry, Athens Correspondent of Lloyd's List
Prof. Apostolos Papanikolaou, Director of the Ship Design Laboratory, National Technical University of Athens
Vicky Roussos, President of WISTA Hellas
John A. Xylas, President of the Piraeus Marine Club
And the winners ..... visit these pages next week or go to www.lloydslist.com
Source: www.lloydslist.com, November 2005


Quality also concerns well-trained seamen, Kefaloyannis tells IMO Assembly
---London (ANA/L. Tsirigotakis) -- Quality in merchant shipping does not concern only ships and engines, but also well-trained seamen in an upgraded profession and working conditions, Greece's merchant marine minister Manolis Kefaloyannis said Tuesday, addressing the 24th Assembly of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which is being held at IMO's London headquarters from November 21 to December 2.
Kefaloyannis said that the present Assembly session was taken place at a time when important developments were taking place on a global level and protection of the sea environment was arising as the most fundamental investment by the present generation for future generations.
Today, he said, "shipping is a much safer industry than in the past, and its environmental credentials have improved significantly".
Kefaloyannis said that IMO and its member countries, in the framework of their authorities and their influence, have an equally important role to play in this respect as well. The international safety standards must in now way create areas of commercial competition among the flags. The disreputable factors involved in shipping must comprehend that the credentials of maritime are not negotiable, but applied in a uniform way on a global basis," he said.
The Greek minister, who was one of the keynote speakers at the Assembly session, also stressed the "need for investment in the human potential".
"Quality in merchant shipping does not concern only the ships and engines. It also concerns well-trained seamen with an upgraded professional status and working conditions," he explained. "Prospective measures of a regional extent must be avoided at all cost", Kefaloyannis said, stressing that any measures should "reflect the international activity of maritime".
IMO is the United Nations agency concerned with maritime safety and security and the prevention of marine pollution from ships. Piraeus-born Efthymios Mitropoulos is currently at the helm of the IMO, after being elected as the organisation's 7th secretary general by IMO's 90th Council meeting in June 2003 and the approval of his appointment by the 23rd regular session of the IMO Assembly on November 2003. He will serve as IMO chief for an initial four-year term which started on January 1, 2004.
Urgent priority is being placed by the Assembly on the rising incidents of piracy against merchant ships, ship safety, and protection of the sea environment.
Also, the final phase in the development of the new voluntary IMO Member State audit scheme is set to be launched at the present Assembly.
The adoption of the Scheme will herald a new era for IMO, in which the Organization will have at its disposal a tool to achieve harmonized, standardized global implementation of IMO standards, which is key to realizing the IMO objectives of safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans.
The Scheme will address issues such as a Member State's conformance in enacting appropriate legislation for the IMO instruments to which it is a Party; the administration and enforcement of the applicable laws and regulations of the Member State; the delegation of authority by a Member State in terms of the implementation of convention requirements; and the control and monitoring mechanism of the Member State's survey and certification processes and of its recognized organizations.
It will help to identify where capacity-building activities would have the greatest effect and it will also enable appropriate action to be much more precisely focused. Individual Member States which volunteer to be audited will receive valuable feedback and, on a wider scale, generic lessons learnt from audits could be provided to all Member States so that the benefits may be shared. The regulatory process at IMO may also benefit from the results of this learning experience.
Alongside the audit scheme framework, the Assembly is expected to adopt a Code for the Implementation of Mandatory IMO Instruments, which will provide the audit standard.
Source: Athens News Agency, 11/27/2005