Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 18 - 2006
Source: 10:17 - 04 May 2006 - The Union of Shipowners decided in its EGM yesterday to strike on May 16 in order to protest against the delay of the implementation of the liberalization in passenger shipping.
Liberalize coastal shipping
All signs indicate that this will be another good year for tourism in Greece. Terrorist attacks and political unrest in Turkey and Egypt will divert more visitors to Greek beaches and, above all, to the islands.
This favorable moment for Greek tourism will not be repeated if tourists do not have fast, easy and cheap transport to their destinations. Only greater competition can ensure that. Thus the full liberalization of coastal shipping is the next big developmental step.
Objections abound to the entry of foreign companies into the Greek market. However, such worries are largely groundless.
For a start, Greek ferry operators are large enough and have sufficient ships to compete with any foreign company that might choose to enter this particular market. Second, earlier liberalization in a related field, telecommunications, showed that various nationalist and populist arguments against freeing up markets were largely groundless.
To get perspective on the issue, one need only recall the numerous scares over national defense that were raised 15 years ago, when plans were first afoot to privatize state telecoms provider OTE. At the time, many feared that remote islands were being sidelined or would even lose their Greek character. In time, of course, such fears proved baseless.
Finally, prices that are determined by market forces tend to be lower in the long run than those that are set by government dictates.
The government should take immediate steps to free up coastal shipping in its entirety. It can still plan a support program (involving subsidies) for ferry lines that serve the remote islands, but it must leave the many other routes to private companies willing to compete for every customer in every sea and in every port.
Ferries to Greece back on schedule
By Jean Christou, Cyprus Mail, Cyprus - May 5, 2006
LOUIS YESTERDAY announced the resumption of ferry services to Greece for the summer season plus details of its 2006 cruise programme.
A statement from the company said that the cruise ship Princessa Marissa would be offering ferry services to Piraeus and Rhodes for the second year in a row following a hiatus of around five years.
Ferry services between Cyprus and Greece were suspended after violence flared in Israel during the second intifada. The service used to run from Piraeus to Limassol before ending in Haifa, and most of the demand for ferry services was from Israelis wanting to travel to Greece or take their cars to Europe.
However, when Israelis stopped travelling, demand from Cyprus was not enough to keep the services running.
Last year was the first time the Princessa Marissa resumed schedule under a pilot scheme that was to run until September.
This year services to Rhodes will leave every Friday from June 23, through to September 1, while services to Piraeus will operate every Monday from June 19 until September 11.
Louis also announced that it would be running cruises to 60 destinations this year covering almost the entire Mediterranean region.
The vessels Sapphire and Coral will operate to Genoa, while the Perla and Sea Diamond will operate 3, 4 and 5 days cruises from Piraeus. Special packages are available for these cruises that include air ticket and overnight stays at hotels in various destinations.
The Serenade and Ausonia will operate 140 cruises from Limassol to Greece and the Greek islands this year, and also to Rome, Naples, Sicily, Venice, Dubrovnik and Odessa, among other destinations. They will also operate to Syria and Egypt.
According to Louis research, travellers with the cruise line consistently report a 90 per cent satisfaction rate.
Three vow to rejuvenate Greek-Flag Cruising
Kefaloyiannis, said: "The Greek state will do all that is necessary, irrespective of the political cost to secure the future of Greek cruising." The minister said "the government is prepared to introduce new measures to re-inforce the position of Greek cruising".
Loizou spoke of his vision. "Our vision is to connect the development of the company with the rejuvenation of Greek cruising and the strengthening of Greek tourism and the national economy." He went on: "With the Sea Diamond we take another step in this direction."
The Greek-flag cruise fleet currently stands at just six ships, having dwindled from some 30 ships primarily because of the high cost of employing Greek seafarers under the Greek flag. Three of the ships now flying the flag are owned by the Louis group which has hammered out a working agreement with the government and the Panhellenic Seamens Federation (PNO) to ensure at least some Greeks work in the industry. Under Greek law only Greek flag ships can homeport in Greece; as a result, before Loizou appeared in the spring of 2005, the Greek cruise industry boasted just two ships, following the demise of Royal Olympic Cruises.
The 1986 Finnish built 22,412gt, 1,250-passenger Sea Diamond, was purchased by Louis earlier in the year for $35m. Another $5m was spent on refurbishing her. Sea Diamond joins the Perla and the Emerald under the Piraeus-based Louis Hellenic Cruises banner to operate three and four-day programmes out of Piraeus.
In the presence of PNO leadership, Kefaloyiannis the re-establishment of Greek cruising would attract other cruise operators to sail in the Greek islands. He said he is in contact with Stelios Haji-Ioannou about easyCruise using the flag and operating in the islands.
Kefaloyiannis noted that "the number of Greek seafarers working on one cruise ship is equal to the number working on 10 to 15 oceangoing ships". All told, the ships using the Greek flag employ some 230 Greek seafarers and about 400 work on the 12-ship Louis fleet.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, Issue nr. 17 (05/05/2006) of Newsfront Greek Shipping Intelligence newsletter.
Greek shipping firms plan ferry services in the Persian Gulf
Source ::: The Peninsula
Peter Doucas with Mohamed Khalid Al Mana before a formal meeting of Qatari and Greek businessmen at the Ritz-Carlton in Doha yesterday.
Doha: Greek shipping companies have plans to introduce superfast ferry services between Qatar and various countries such as India, Pakistan and Iran.
The ferry services will also carry trucks and cars aside from passengers, according to the visiting Deputy Finance Minister of Greece, Peter Doucos.
Ferry services between Greece and Italy are doing extremely well, disclosed Doucas in talks with the chairman of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI), Mohamed Khalid Al Mana.
The Greek Minister for Development, Demetri Sioufas, and Doucas are leading a high-level delegation of Greek businessmen to Qatar. The 19-member mission includes some shipping industry magnates.
Al Mana in his brief address gave an overview of the economic progress in Qatar and outlined areas where foreign investors were allowed 100 per cent ownership.
Due to construction boom being witnessed in Qatar, local building industry players are overloaded, struggling to cope up with soaring demand. Greek construction companies can either set up their offices here or enter into partnership with local companies, said Al Mana.
Source: http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com, Web posted at: 5/2/2006 2:5:25
Agreement on maritime transport with the Hellenic republic and Bahrain
Bahrain News Agency, date: 03 05, 2006
Manama, May. 3 (BNA) An agreement on Maritime Transport was signed today at the premises of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) between the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Government of the Hellenic Republic.
The signing ceremony took place during the official visit of President of Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias to the Kingdom of Bahrain. Signing the agreement were the Minister of Finance Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa and the Greek minister of Merchant Marine Manolis Kefaloyannis. The agreement reflects the desire of the two countries to develop cooperation in the field of merchant shipping , with a view to contributing to the development of international shipping on the basis of the principles of the freedom of merchant navigation. It also underlines their commitment to the principles laid down in international law, particularly in international shipping conventions to which both parties are members. The contracting parties will base the development of their shipping relations on the principles of free and fair competition and freedom of navigation. They will also continue their efforts to maintain and develop permanent cooperation between the competent authorities of their countries.
Hellenic Shipyards hunts naval work
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) is to slim down the operations of Hellenic Shipyards (HSY) Skaramanga while at the same time trying to boost its naval shipbuilding contracts in Greece.
President of TKMS Klaus Borgschulte and HSY president and managing director Reinhard Kuhlmann told Greek media the yard's industrial rolling-stock activities will be spun off into a 100% owned subsidiary that will live on 1 October.
The group plans to sell the company at a later date provided that prospective buyers undertake to maintain jobs for at least two years. Rolling-stock construction is not a core activity for the group.
The two executives met with Greek transport minister Michael Liapis this week seeking to extend HSY's contracts with Greek state railways for the construction of a further 20 trains worth some EUR 130m ($164m).
They were also due to meet with defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis to push for the award of contracts to build six frigates for the Hellenic Navy worth an estimated EUR 2.5bn. Plans to build the ships have been announced but not finalised.
HSY currently has a Navy project for the modernisation of six S-Class frigates running to 2009, while the yard's major naval contract is building three of a series of four submarines due for completion in around 2010.
Borgschulte and Kuhlmann gave the impression that winning the additional naval building work was vital to the survival of Hellenic, which has been bleeding red ink. In its balance sheet for the financial year ending on 30 September 2005, HSY posted a EUR 707m loss. Cumulative losses, according to the balance sheet, stood at EUR 309m.
Greek press reports say HSY approached rival Neorion Shipyards proposing a joint company to undertake the frigate contracts based on a 50-50 ownership splitbut with 60% of the profits going to HSY in view of its technology input. But Neorion is said to have cold-shouldered the idea.
By Gillian Whittaker Athens, published: 05 May 2006
Alexandros T: search continues
---12:39, 5 May 2006
Filipino survivors of Greek ship mishap to get aid
FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo has ordered Philippine ambassador to Pretoria Virgilio Reyes Jr. to assist the six Filipino seafarers who survived a Greek-owned bulk carrier MV Alexandros T that sank last off South Africa last May 3.
Romulo has instructed Reyes to intensify the embassy's coordination with the South African Maritime Search and Rescue authorities, the Greek Embassy in Pretoria and the manning agent of the Greek-owned vessel to recover the remaining 18 Filipinos in the 33-man crew of the ship.
"I wish to inform the public that based on the report by Ambassador Reyes, six Filipino seamen have so far been rescued by the South African maritime authorities and I pray that more will be saved from this accident," Romulo said upon receiving an initial report of the embassy.
MV Alexandros sank some 300 nautical miles off the east coast harbor city of Port Elizabeth in South Africa. The ship, which was sailing from Brazil to China with a load of steel, broke up at around 8:00 pm Wednesday in stormy weather.
Romulo instructed Reyes to send embassy officials near the site of the ship accident "so that the department and the embassy will have a hands-on involvement in the delivery of services to the Filipinos in distress."
Reyes reported that he has made arrangements for Consul General Renato Villapando and Eduardo Vinuya Jr., assistant-to-national officer, to travel to Port Elizabeth and/or Durban and remain there for at least three days to assist the Filipino survivors and directly coordinate with the rescue authorities and the ship's manning agent for further assistance for the Filipino crewmembers as well as obtain information on the accident from the authorities themselves.
"The embassy will forward the additional information to the department upon receipt from the authorities," Reyes said.
Reyes also said he has requested the Philippine embassy in Athens, Greece to coordinate with the Greek Ministry of Merchant Marine in Athens to obtain further information about the accident involving the St. Vincent and Grenadine-registered MV Alexandros T.
In his report, Reyes said Inter-Orient Agency, the ship's manning agent, listed 33 crewmembers of the MV Alexandros T, 24 of whom are Filipinos.
The Greek Embassy in Pretoria confirmed the list of initial survivors in a fax message to the Philippine embassy.
Reyes further said the embassy has also been in contact with Des Vaubell of the Mission of Seafarers in Durban, who said the survivors are in a rescue ship still at sea.
While the department has the names of the six Filipino seafarers who were saved from the accident, it would not be releasing their names to the public to respect the right to privacy to the families of the 24 Filipino crewmembers.
In the meantime, the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) is communicating with the relatives of the six survivors and the other crewmembers of the MV Alexandros T.
The DFA requested the relatives of the Filipino crewmembers to coordinate with the ship's manning agent, Inter-Orient Agency, on the agency's assistance for its Filipino seafarers deployed aboard MV Alexandros T.
The agency's contact person in Manila is Captain Jimmy Milano with telephone 631-1226 or mobile 0919-6698778, and Barbara Voreakou in Greece, operation manager of Inter-Orient Maritime Enterprises, Inc., with telephone 00-30-210-8986310/13, fax 8986314/15 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org. (ECV/Sunnex)
Source: Sunday, May 07, 2006, http://www.sunstar.com.ph
POSIDONIA 2006: Map shows access to the Hellenikon Exhibition Centre
Access to the Hellenikon Exhibition Centre, see Map at http://www.posidonia-events.com/online/content.asp?PID=68&MID=131
From PIRAEUS/GLYFADA follow signage on Posidonos Avenue which guides you to the HEC main entrance (opposite Golf entrance)
From ATHENS/ E.VENIZELOS AIRPORT follow signage on Vouliagmenis Avenue, which guides you to the secondary entrance
The Shuttle bus timetable will be announced closer to the exhibition date.
FROM: Monday, 05 June 2006
TO: Friday, 09 June 2006
LOCATION: Piraeus Exhibition Centre, Piraeus, Greece
CONTACT: CMP Princeton, Inc.
WEB SITE: http://www.posidonia-events.com
PHONE: +1 609 452 2800
FAX: +1 609 452 2875