Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 09 - 2006

 

Port action makes Greek Tory government seasick

Islands were cut off from the rest of the country. Agricultural products were left rotting in warehouses and lorries waiting on the quaysides.
Unemployment is high in the ports. More than 3,000 seafarers were registered as unemployed at the end of January. Some 55 percent are not entitled to unemployment benefit. Living conditions are not much better for those who have a job.
The strikers decided to ignore the decree. In Pireus and Patra strikers clashed with the police. Thousands of workers gathered in Pireus to express their solidarity. The Labour Centre of Pireus, a powerful trade union confederation, called for a four-hour strike.
PNO decided to call off the strike last Friday. Formally the government and the bosses won. In reality even the right wing media realise that the government has been weakened by this fight.
Class polarisation has been rising in Greece. Bank workers and factory workers are engaged in struggles. The Greek TUC has called a general strike on 15 March.
Activists from all the major trade union federations of Greece recently attended a meeting called by the Stop The War Coalition to organise the anti-war protest in Athens on 18 March.
The POS union, remembered worldwide for its refusal to transport US military equipment to the former Yugoslavia during the 1999 war against Serbia, promised a special train to transport demonstrators from northern Greece to Athens.
Activists are also getting set for the European Social Forum, set for Athens on 4-7 May. by Sotiris Kontogiannis
Source: http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/article.php?article_id=8380, 4 March 2006 | issue 1990


19 years for Samina navigator
---The master of the 4,500-gt Greek ferry Express Samina (built 1966) and six others were sentenced today for a crash five and a half years ago that killed 80 passengers.
Wire service reports say two shoreside officials of Minoan Flying Dolphin will be able to avoid serving their four-year sentences by paying a fine. The reports do not name the two but Costas Klironomos and Nikolaos Vikatos have previously been reported as on trial alongside the five seafarers.
Appeals are expected in the case.
The Express Samina slammed into two reefs near the island of Paros in September 2000 with 532 on board. Yannakis had told the court he was in his cabin at the time. Witnesses had placed Psychogios in front of a television set watching a soccer match.
Source: www.tradewinds.no, By Bob Rust in Stamford, published: 20:20 GMT, 27 February 2006 | last updated: 20:25 GMT, 27 February 2006


Sailor shortage growing
Most seamen come from Asian states, and this is a solution for maritime countries like Greece, who find their nationals to be less and less interested in sea-based professions.
The European Union has drawn up extensive studies on attracting and training young people in the profession of merchant marine officer, stressing that experience is shifting from the European countries to Asia.
A European Commission statement to the European Council and the Parliament said that over the last couple of decades there has been a sharp decline in finding well-trained seamen, particularly officers. A recent study has shown a worldwide shortage of officers (some 16,000 fewer officers than required) and that this shortage will reach 12 percent (46,000 officers) by 2010.
Among other European Union states the problem is more acute: There was a shortage of 13,000 officers in 2001 and this shortfall is expected to rise to 36,000 officers this year.
The Commission further notes that the shortage of officers will grow unless corrective measures are immediately taken. It is a reminder that low-ranking seamen can also become officers with the appropriate training. Member states and social partners should keep this in mind when planning how to stop the decline in the numbers of seamen in the EU, and particularly officers.
The shortage of officers in the EU could have negative repercussions across the whole spectrum of associated sectors: There is a broad number of onshore activities where experience at sea is an advantage or a even prerequisite for people to be hired. Ports, shipping companies, monitoring organizations, insurance companies, shipyards, and maritime equipment constructors prefer, or are obliged, to hire former seamen.
For reasons related to general education, language and knowledge of local or national customs and regulations, positions in those companies are not easily taken by non-Europeans. It is therefore obvious that the growing shortage in seamen in the EU will, in the long run, lead to staff shortages in activities related to shipping. The know-how and the experience which EU seamen have obtained at sea should be maintained for the EU not to lose all its shipping sector.
The impact would then be that schools for maritime professions may close down and shipping know-how could vanish entirely, with dramatic effects on the safety of shipping and supply and the overall competitiveness of the sector.
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com, Dimitris Kapranos,27 Feb 2006


Shipowners: time for government to show it means business
---Prime minister Costas Karamanlis' mid-term cabinet reshuffle indicates the government is ready to tackle the question of the competitiveness of the Greek flag. Shipowners believe the decision to leave Manolis Kefaloyiannis at the Marine ministry, together with the new cabinet's promise to accelerate reforms in the economy and the public sector, reinforces the view the government means business.
In welcoming the cabinet's comments, the London-based Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee says implementation of a realistic shipping policy, along the lines of the relevant European Union guidelines, "would not come a moment too soon". "Flight from the flag is gaining momentum and after exhaustive, but so far fruitless discussions, patience is running out," said the GSCC.
The GSCC believes the view the new Cabinet means business has been reinforced by the submission of the new Marine Training Bill, "which is a step in the right direction", to the Parliament. The owners say recent statements by deputy minister of Finance, Petros G. Doukas, emphasising the contribution of Greek shipping to the national economy and advocating measures to protect and nurture its development, are encouraging.
As other European Union member states and Asian registries move to improve their competitiveness, the non-competitiveness of the Greek flag is becoming a major issue. At last month's AGM Union of Greek Shipowners president, Nicos Efthymiou, stressed: "The Greek register has not followed the impressive development of the fleet. The state has to move quickly to cover, to the best possible extent, the ground lost in the past years, when the Greek register became non-competitive compared to others".
The GSCC notes the same message was delivered "in no uncertain terms" by Hellenic Chamber of Shipping president, George Gratsos, who in a letter to Kefaloyiannis, accompanying a study on the competitiveness of the Greek fleet, prepared by the University of Piraeus, warns, "for the Greek register to regain competitiveness, it is necessary to introduce more flexible laws on crewing as provided for by the European Union. Whatever the cost of taking the necessary measures, it is going to be smaller than the losses to the Greek economy if the issue of the competitiveness of Greek shipping is not resolved". Inevitably, given the facts, the study advocates, "a more flexible legislative approach to crew composition, otherwise the fleet will decrease and more Greek jobs will be lost".
The GSCC says the situation was already well known, but "what is lacking is for the public conscience to realise that there is a compelling need for our country to be guided by logic and realism in the formation of its shipping policy".
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 3 March 2006 Vol. 7 / No. 8


Lembesis speaks up for Greek shipping
---Traditionalist shipowners are seen as setting an example in compliance, while striving to meet business goals, writes James Brewer- Thursday March 02 2006
So says Irene Lembesis, who divides her time between London and Greece and is a key part of the newly-formed insurance broking company in Greece, Golden Destiny, which is an associated company of Piraeus shipbrokers Golden Destiny SA.
Ms Lembesis brings a special perspective to analysing the impact of the extensive regulatory regime, which all owners and operators face as they attempt to minimise the risks to which any vessel is exposed.
In her dialogues with members of the Greek shipping community, the topic is so often the consequences that compliance with strict industry conditions have on their business, how this affects conditions on board their vessels and how these efforts are viewed by insurers.
Ms Lembesis is a rare representative of the London market who is perfectly at home with the unique community of Greek shipowners and operators clustered in Piraeus and surrounding areas.
Born on the beautiful island of Andros, which has long been the launching pad for successful maritime undertakings by its native shipowners and captains, she is in tune with that special Greek business philosophy.
Apart from insurance management, her previous roles included operations, chartering, new projects and finance, particularly in her earlier position as director of a London Greek shipping company.
Now, while remaining close to the London insurance market, she travels to Greece about seven times a year to visit the offices of owners and shipmanagers to help them identify their marine insurance needs.
She admits that the insurance sector is among those interests that will have to strive harder to understand the intricacies.
Source: www.lloydslist.com


Consolidated Marine Management first to meet ABS expanded HSQE notation
These new standards expand upon the previous Safety, Quality and Environmental standards by adding management system criteria specifically tailored to the marine industry that are based upon the Specification for Occupational Health and Safety management systems (OHSAS 18001:1999). The standards require the company to establish, implement and maintain documented occupational health and safety objectives at each relevant function and level within the organization.
In doing so the company is required to establish and maintain procedures for the ongoing identification of hazards, the assessment of risks and the implementation of necessary control measures for routine and non-routine activities, for the activities of all personnel having access to the workplace, including subcontractors, and for the workplace facilities themselves.
When presenting the HSQE certificate to CMM Managing Director Dimitrios Dragatsis, ABS Europe President and Chief Operating Officer Christopher J. Wiernicki expressed his admiration for the commitment made by CMM management and staff to embracing the highest standards of ship operations.
Founded in 1862, ABS is a leading international classification society devoted to promoting the security of life, property and the marine environment through the development and verification of standards for the design, construction and operational maintenance of marine-related facilities.
For more information, contact: Stewart Wade (ABS-Houston) Tel: 1 281 877 5850 swade@eagle.org or Capt Steve Blair (ABS-Piraeus) Tel: 30-210-429-3215
Source: ABS Press Releases February 28, 2006 , www.eagle.org


New Training Centre of Excellence in Piraeus
Ends.
For more information contact, John Iakovou, Lloyd's Register Piraeus - EMEA, T +30 210 4580 850, F +30 210 4528 958, E ioannis.iakovou@lr.org
Source: Press Release, 1 March 2006, www.lr.org


Star Maritime announces separate trading of Common Stock & Warrants
Star Maritime Acquisition Corporation is a blank check company recently formed for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition or other business combination with an operating business in the shipping industry.
For Further Information please contact: Company: Star Maritime Acquisition Corp., Prokopios (Akis) Tsirigakis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer , c/o Schwartz & Weiss, P.C., 457 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022, Tel. 212-752-3100, E-Mail: info@starmaritimecorp.com , www.starmaritimecorp.com
Source: Press Release,


TEN Limited enters agreement for purchase of nine ice class product tankers
Source: www.tenn.gr