Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 05 - 2006
Posidonia represents a 140 million ton shipping fleet of 4,000 vessels capable of ordering US$ 14 billion of 350 newbuilding and with an annual US$ 8 billion budget for modernization, maintenance and supply for existing units.
Posidonia 2006 is sponsored by the Greek Ministry of Mercantile Marine, the Greek Ministry of the Aegean, the Municipality of Piraeus, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, the Union of Greek Shipowners, the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee, the Union of Shipowners of Mediterranean Cargo Vessels, the Greek Association of Passenger Ship Companies and the Union of Coastal Passenger Ship Owners.
Source: http://www.posidonia-events.com, 31/1/2006
Gov't announces plan to build a new airport in Heraclion
Greek Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis and Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis on Friday announced an ambitious plan to build a new international airport in Heraclion, Crete, and stressed the government aimed to promote the island of Crete as an air transport hub in eastern Mediterranean.
The plan, budgetted at around 1.1 billion euros, is expected to be completed in 8-10 years. The new airport at Kasteli, will be build in joint venture with private companies and will contribute effectively in the developing of the region of the country's economy in general, Liapis said.
The two ministers visited the "N.Kazantzakis" airport in Heraclion and were briefed by airport authorities over the problems facing the airport. Later on they visited the site of the new airport in Kasteli.
Speaking to reporters, Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said the project would substantially contribute in the economic growth of Crete.
Liapis said the government was creating the necessary environment to attract new investments and to create new job positions in the region. "I have already ordered the Civil Aviation Agency to proceed with all preparatory actions for drafting a survey on the project," he told reporters.
The Greek minister said the ministry has earmarked 2.1 billion euros for projects to upgrade and modernise the country's regional airports. Liapis said the new airport in Heraclion Crete would have a runway with a length of 3 km, a two-direction ILS, parking slots for 44 aircraft and a terminal able to service 5,000 passengers in peak times.
Source: http://www.ana.gr/, 2 Feb 2006
---Getting a more positive image of the industry into the public domain is vital, writes Efthimios E Mitropoulos- Friday February 03 2006
In the weeks leading up to the festive season, for example, we are all cheered by the fact that the shops on the high street are full of merchandise of all kinds. The good news is that the vast majority of this cornucopia is carried by sea, in ships. Moreover, it is carried safely and efficiently, without undue damage to the environment and at a financial cost that represents just a fraction of the prices we pay in the shops.
But good news, as we are forced to acknowledge, is no news. Out of sight is out of mind. We may tip the postman who hefts the greetings cards to our door or thank the delivery driver who represents the physical fulfilment of dot.com promise.
In 2005, the year in which we launched the campaign to raise the profile of shipping, I put a great deal of energy into trying to enlist people within the industry and all its ancillary disciplines to turn their attention to its image. I felt, and still feel, that the best way to succeed in raising the profile of shipping is to attempt to do it among ordinary members of the public.
More than that, I thought we needed to turn round what is often a negative image into something altogether more positive.
I was under no illusion that this would be either quick or easy, a view shared by nearly everyone I consulted. It seems almost inevitable that, if a news story containing references to ships is big enough to find its way into the general media it almost always seems to have negative connotations.
Nevertheless, there is cause for optimism because a great deal was done last year to get the ball rolling on improving the image of shipping. We may still have to push the ball uphill for a little while but forces are mobilising behind the effort and I am confident that very soon forward momentum will begin. The road is long and we are still at the beginning. The campaign goes on.
Elsewhere, Det Norske Veritas has also made public its desire to move forward with promoting the image of shipping. In the Uk, the commendable Sea Vision campaign has been effective in getting ships and the sea in the news and the International Maritime Pilots Association had the imaginative idea of inviting local media, all around the world, to join maritime pilots as they carried out their duties onboard ships and to publish or broadcast the results. All these events will certainly contribute to the campaign to make shipping more widely known.
At IMO, we have, in partnership with other stakeholders, set raising the profile of the safety, security and environmental records of shipping in the eyes of civil society as one of the objectives in our Strategic Plan. Last year, we took the opportunity to focus attention on shipping as the carrier of world trade in our theme for World Maritime Day, an event which was celebrated by IMO not only in London and Portugal but literally all over the world.
I could cite many such celebrations and ceremonies but the point is that, all over the world, a groundswell is beginning.
Shipping needs to establish a kind of virtuous circle. High calibre people will naturally gravitate towards industries that appear to be challenging, rewarding, relevant and which speak to them of quality. They want to find a career they can feel proud to tell their friends about and proud to be associated with.
These are exactly the kind of people shipping needs, both aboard and ashore, and exactly the kind of people who, in turn, will create, promote and accentuate a culture of quality.
Shipping has always been a cyclical business. Most of its sectors have recently enjoyed a period of good fortune and, while I would not presume to tell shipowners how to run their businesses, I would urge them at such good times to invest in quality today to reap dividends in the future.
For my part, I would like to see a situation in which the quality operators receive incentives and, by the same token, those who cut corners, operate substandard ships, show little or no social responsibility, heartlessly abandon seafarers to an unknown future and try to shirk their overall responsibilities are marginalised until they are eliminated.
Shipping itself can, of course, do a great deal to promote and encourage quality operators. But, ultimately, much of the responsibility lies with those from other industries, those with goods to move, with fuel, commodities or raw materials to transport and those who buy, sell and fix the cargoes that international shipping carries on their behalf. Should they not be prepared to pay a little extra to those who make the investment to offer a quality service?
To all involved in the business of shipping, I would also invite you to play your part on a larger stage, individually or collectively, in responding to the challenges, among others, presented by the fact that hundreds of millions are defenceless against hunger, disease and environmental degradation even though the means to protect them are available.
The Millennium Development Goals agreed by the 2000 Millennium Summit and reaffirmed last September by the World Summit are achievable, but only if we work together, each within his or her area of competence and responsibility.
In adopting such a positive attitude, they should recognise the contribution of seafarers and on the one hand take measures to boost the morale of those already in service and on the other encourage youngsters to join the ranks.
Consulting and listening to people who may be in a better position to assist them to make balanced decisions, while proving them wise, will more significantly help them enhance the good services they render to the community.
Through the collaborative efforts of all with an interest in shipping we can raise its profile sufficiently to start building the necessary reserve of goodwill that the industry needs on those unfortunate, but thankfully relatively rare, occasions when a shipping accident occurs and the industry does hit the media headlines. We can do it, but only if all our efforts are supported by a foundation of genuine quality.
The stakes are high. The impact goes far beyond the shipping industry itself. Global trade and, with it, the livelihoods and prosperity of us all depend on ships and on the maritime industries.
People who take for granted that their homes will be heated and their daily bread will arrive without pausing to consider how the fuel and grain that make this possible were delivered from their places of origin through inhospitable seas, often from the other side of the world, should be made to see what really happens, what they owe to whom. We need to change the indifferent or, worse, negative attitude about shipping and together I believe we can.
Let the new year see the beginning of a new phase in the campaign to promote quality shipping. The world needs it and we all benefit from it.
Efthimios E Mitropoulos is secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization.
Source: http://www.lloydslist.com, Opinion
Investor Interest: Drying Up?
Source: Freshly Minted - Marine finance weekly by Marine Money, VOLUME 2, ISSUE 5, February 2, 2006
More big tankers will mean lower profits for shipping
---The abundance of big tankers, the so-called very large crude carriers (VLCCs) of some 300,000 deadweight tons, makes several analysts express reservations about the projected revenues of the category this year.
Furthermore, there are some positive factors such as the good prospects of the big economies of the US, Europe and Japan, combined with the continuing growth of China. Yet nobody can predict the impact of unforeseeable events such as the hurricanes that hit the US in 2005.
At present, there are but a few chartering deals for VLCCs, as shipowners are not willing to allow prices to drop, while the market is not risking chartering with the current prices, waiting for them to fall. According to shipping companies, there could be problems after the ships are delivered from the shipyards in the second quarter of 2007, having been chartered in 2005 at rates of $120-130 million. The question is where the market will be at that time, since if it should decline significantly then investment in those vessels may not offer sufficient returns.
VLCCs are among the most expensive ships in the market. The cost of constructing such a tanker reached $128-130 million last year, but has now fallen to $118-120 million. TradeWinds has stated that Kristen Navigation of Yiannis Angelikousis paid $120 million for the purchase (in fact, resale) from Tai Chong Cheang of a VLCC under construction ordered at the Daewoo Shipbuilding shipyards to be delivered next year.
Source: By Nikos Roussanoglou - Kathimerini, http://www.ekathimerini.com, 1 Feb 2006
NEL'S Ventouris set to shake up ferry marketplace
Should the deal go ahead, it will have a major impact on Greece's passenger ship sector.
Cross-shareholdings in other companies and the expected participation of at least two more ferry fleets in the new grouping will add additional complications for the operation of the domestic seatransportation network.
Initially, shareholder backing for Nel's board will see its five ships and the six units operated by C-Link merged into one fleet. Another two prominent ferry operators, George Ventouris and Costas Agapitos are expected to participate in the 'new' Nel, with another seven ro/ropax ships plus taking on key roles in the company's management, Ventouris in operations and Agapitos in the commercial side.
Nel ceo Ventouris said: "Realisation of the deal will mean the danger for the company is over." He also said there "are more surprises to come which will be to the benefit of the shareholders".
Compensation is also being sought for damage suffered to the company's reputation with its customers, associates and shareholders and two of its three fast ferries out of action for the whole of the summer season and the Aeolos Kenteristaken out of service in September.
Indeed, Nel's planning appears to lie in its winning its claim, though legal experts point out any ruling is likely to be years off after SEMT Pielstick rejected initial approaches for a settlement.
While the growth of Nel will have an impact on the make-up of fleets in the highly competitive marketplace, it could also influence management. A combination of Nel, George Ventouris and Agapitos will see this camp owning 9% of Hellenic Seaways. Minoan Lines has a 32.6% stake in HS, Attica Group/Blue Star Ferries has 11% and shipowner Panos Laskaridis, 5%.
Nel is already in direct strong competition with HS on Dodecannese routes and the new make-up of HS' share base is certain to further complicate relations between Nel and Hellenic Seaways.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 3 February 2006 Vol. 7 / No. 4
Ince partners facing fraud action in Blue Strim case
---Ince & Co's battle with former client Blue Strim Maritime has taken a dramatic turn following the indictment of seven partners for fraud by the Greek authorities.
A hearing was set down for 18 January but has been postponed until 8 May. In the meantime, Blue Strim said the director of public prosecutions in Athens has launched prosecution proceedings against seven Ince partners after investigating a complaint of fraud brought by the company in February 2005.
If found guilty of fraud, the partners would face a mandatory prison sentence. In a statement, Blue Strim said: "We are now contemplating further criminal complaints concerning others."
Another criminal complaint, of lawyer infidelity, has already been thrown out by the Greek courts.
Source: http://www.thelawyer.com, Section: National News Date: 30-Jan-2006
TOP Tankers Reports on M/T Flawless
---ATHENS, Greece, Feb. 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- TOP Tankers Inc (Nasdaq: TOPT), the owner of the double hull 154,970 dwt M/T Flawless, today announced that on January 23, 2006, the vessel reported a minor fuel oil overflow on the vessel's deck to the Estonian Environmental Inspectorate. The incident occurred when the vessel was in international waters having departing Tallinn, Estonia, and after loading a cargo of fuel oil. The overflow occurred when bunker fuel was being transferred between tanks, and was estimated at between 1.5 and 2.0 cubic meters. The overflow was contained on deck and the crew immediately began clean-up procedures.
As the vessel is presently in transit, the Company's superintendents have not been able to inspect the vessel since the overflow incident. However, the Company believes that reports received from the vessel to date make it appear highly unlikely that this minor overflow could have caused any of the pollution that has been recently found on the Estonian shoreline. The Company has also received Estonian media reports to the effect that the pollution there appears to have been caused by oil sludge, which has very different characteristics from the bunker fuel of the Flawless.
The vessel's technical manager has also advised the Company of a report that on January 23, an Estonian Coastguard helicopter flying over the area where the Flawless was steaming did not report any pollution in the water.
TOP Tankers takes all matters concerning pollution extremely seriously and, together with the vessel's technical manager, Hanseatic Shipping of Cyprus, has established strong and effective controls as well as procedures designed to ensure that the Company's vessels operate to the highest standards to avoid pollution. The Company stated that it will continue to work closely with the Estonian authorities in this matter and will assist in identifying the cause of this pollution incident, which the Company firmly believes was not connected with the Flawless.
Source: Press Release
Ancient Greek Merchant Ship Found
The images represent a breakthrough in underwater technology since the exploration of the Titanic; the robot photographer in this case was fully autonomous, according to a recent MIT press release.
Scientists program the robot, called "SeaBED," with missions that can be changed via an acoustic modem once the robot is launched.
The project, which brought together research teams from MIT, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Greek Ministry of Culture and the Hellenic Center for Marine Research, is also providing clues about ancient vessels and early trade routes.
Brendan Foley, one of the project's leaders and a researcher in WHOI's Deep Submergence Laboratory, told Discovery News that the single-masted ship was about 55 feet long and 16 feet wide. He believes some of its wooden hull is still intact beneath sea floor sediments.
Strewn across the eastern Aegean Sea floor below 200 feet of water lies what's left of the ship's cargo.
Since the remains are tightly contained within the dimensions of the wreckage site, the researchers theorize wind might have violently heeled the ship, shifted the cargo and then made the ship unstable before it capsized.
Foley and his colleagues think the vessel once carried around 1,000 ceramic jars called amphorae, several of which have survived.
"The amphorae from Chios are slightly less than 39 inches tall, and contained approximately five gallons," Foley said. He explained that chemical analysis, along with other evidence, suggests many contained wine.
He added, "As far as olive oil, sometimes olive pits are found in amphoras. Occasionally amphoras show sign of re-use, with resin-lined amphoras containing olive pits. So, we surmise based on previous archaeological evidence and texts that the amphoras on the Chios Classical wreck carried wine and also possibly olive oil."
Since the containers came from Chios, the researchers suspect that if the shipment was intended for a single market, the vessel likely was headed for Corinth or Athens before it capsized.
"However," Foley said, "in 356-354 B.C., just before we think this ship sank, Athens fought a war against Chios and other former allies in the eastern Aegean, called the 'Social War.' Questions we have are, 'What was the nature of Chios' economy after the Social War? Did Chios and Athens resume their trade upon the conclusion of that war? Did Chios find new markets instead?'"
Another unsolved mystery is the fate of the men who manned the vessel. The scientists think there were three or four, and they might have survived.
"The ship wrecked less than a mile from shore, so it is possible that the crew and any passengers might have made their way to shore by swimming or by clinging to bits of floating wreckage," Foley said.
Jonathan Adams, a specialist in maritime archaeology at the University of Southampton in England, told Discovery News that while this vessel is not the oldest shipwreck, a distinction that goes to a 3,300-year-old boat that sunk off the coast of Turkey, it "is interesting due to its well-organized cargo, which suggests the Greeks were already quite industrialized."
Adams also said the research is noteworthy because it could enhance our understanding of trade in the classical world, and because the exploration utilized such high-tech equipment.
This June, Foley and his colleagues plan to return to the Aegean to study an underwater volcano and two other ancient shipwrecks.
Source: By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News, http://dsc.discovery.com/news