Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 20 - 2006

 

Piraeus as arbitration centre wins industry backing

---Plans to develop Piraeus as a centre for arbitrating marine disputes have been officially launched and have won government backing and backing from sections of the shipowning community. Welcoming the advent of the Piraeus Association of Maritime Arbitration (PAMA), Marineminister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said the government appreciates the importance of supporting growth in the Piraeus service sector and this type of initiative. The minister was speaking at the presentation of the governing rules and membership, of the PAMA at the Piraeus Marine Club, May 12. The event was the culmination of a three-yearprocess led by the Piraeus maritime law community.PAMA produced a list of 13 full members and 26 supporting members, among them the Hellenic Marine Technical Consultants Association and shipowners, Thanassis Martinos of Eastern Mediterranean, Simon Palios of New York-listed Diana Shipping, Marios Stafilopatis of Byzantine Maritime, Panayiotis Tsakos of Tsakos Group and Nicholas Moundreas of NGMoundreas Shipping. A leader of the move, lawyer Paul Avrameas, said Piraeus does not seek to compete against the bigger arbitration centres of London and New York, but wants to provide the Greek communitywith faster and cheaper arbitration rulings. This is especially so in the less complicated cases,though everyone involved agrees winning market confidence will take time and effort.PAMA said about 70% of arbitrations are heard in London, 20% in New York with the remaining 10% in other places like Singapore and South Africa. Indeed, international arbitrators see the develop of arbitration in Piraeus as inevitable and one that will stir up the marketplace generally as established centres access why they are losing ground.
Source: www.newsfront.gr 19 May 2006 Vol. 7 / No. 19


Ferry fares deregulated
---Measures affect popular routes; operators glad but want all restrictions off
The government yesterday announced that it would lift controls on ferry prices on routes from six ports to the Aegean Islands and Corfu. In response, ferry operators, who still feel that market liberalization has not gone far enough, immediately announced discount packages.
A circular signed by Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis and Aegean and Island Policy Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis lifts restrictions on ferry fees on the following routes:
- From Piraeus to Agios Nikolaos (Crete), Agistri, Aegina, Iraklion, Santorini, Icaria, Ios, Kalymnos, Kos, Milos, Myconos, Lesvos, Naxos, Paros, Poros, Rethymnon, Rhodes, Salamina, Samos, Siteia, Sifnos, Spetses, Syros, Tinos, Hydra, Hania and Chios.
- From Rafina to Andros, Tinos and Myconos.
- From Lavrion to all destinations except Kea.
- From Kymi, on the island of Evia, to all destinations except Skyros.
- From Elefsina to all destinations (vehicle tariffs only).
- From Patras to Corfu.
The liberalization is conditional on at least two companies being active on each route and a minimum annual traffic of 300,000 passengers. Subsidized routes remain regulated.
The move follows recent protests by ferry operators who have criticized the government for dragging its feet on liberalization and have threatened to moor their ships if the government does not fully implement EU law.
Ferry operators responded yesterday by saying that, while a positive development, the circular does not go far enough in adopting the EU Directive 3577/1992.
They said they would also like to see the abolition of charges in favor of third parties, which account for over 20 percent of fares, and the obligation for ferries to operate 10 months each year.
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com/


Attica Group divident at 0,08 DPS
Source: www.reporter.gr


Angelicoussis in Malta flag move
---A Greek owner is ready to make a significant move from its much-touted national flag to the Maltese ensign.
John Angelicoussis will fire a warning shot across the bows of the Greek shipping authorities when for the first time ever he hoists the Maltese flag on his latest capesize newbuilding later this month.
The 170,000-dwt Anangel Sailor is due to be delivered on 29 May from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.
Angelicoussis has always been a strong supporter of the Greek flag. The group flies the national banner on 55 of its vessels.
It currently controls 24 bulkers, with a further six under construction, 33 tankers, with two more under construction, two LNG carriers, with two more under construction and also has four LPG carriers being built. Only six tankers that are bareboat chartered out are under the Bahamas flag.
The group has not been talking much about its decision but it seems to have tired of hearing the same promises from the Greek flag's administration under various governments over the past years.
A spokesman for the group confirmed the move, saying briefly: "Taking into consideration what we have been hearing for years - and the fact that the Greek flag is not very competitive - we decided on [the] Maltese flag."
For a number of years, Greek shipowning associations have been pressing the ministry of merchant marine to implement measures to make the home flag more competitive. In his address to the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS)'s annual general meeting in February, president Nikos Efthymiou noted that because of the state's failure to take action, two-thirds of Greek-controlled vessels are under foreign flag today.
The Greek flag showed a 11.22% slippage of deadweight tonnage up to March this year, with just 910 ships of 59.6 million dwt remaining under home colours out of a total Greek-controlled fleet of 3,397 vessels of over 190 million dwt.
Estimates vary as to how much more economical it is to operate vessels under foreign flag. The costs depend on the owner's manning choices.
It is believed that despite his decision to switch to Maltese flag, Angelicoussis will employ at least six Greek officers onboard the new capesize, indicating the shift is not purely a cost-cutting exercise.
The owner has invested heavily in maritime education and spends substantially on offering training at sea for students at Greece's maritime academies. On average, during a year some four students serve each vessel in the fleet. At one point, the group was believed to be absorbing around 10% of the first-year students during the sea-going phase of their training.
It has just been announced that Malta has been put onto the Paris MOU white list, which could prove an additional attraction to owners - and because it is a European flag, Greek seafarers onboard Maltese flag ships can retain their pension rights.
Gillian Whittaker Athens published: 19 May 2006
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Prestige: digging up the truth
TIMELINE:
Cleaning up the Prestige sinking
14 November 2002: The tanker Prestige, carrying at least 77,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, sinks off Galicia, northwest Spain, after breaking apart
29 December 2004: Court handling the Prestige case at Corcubion, Galicia, accepts petition from United Left for head of ship inspections Fernando Balbas to testify
5 February 2004: Merchant marine authority DGMM announces disciplinary procedings against Balbas
July 2004: Balbas testifies in a Corcubion court
June 2005: Balbas testifies in Madrid following a petition from class society ABS
Source: Newswatch, Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, 18 May 2006


Quintana buys 17 ships
---MARSHALL Islands-registered, NASDAQ-listed company Quintana Maritime is buying 17 ships from Greek owner Metrobulk for about US$735m.
The newly acquired fleet comprises three 76,000-dwt 2004-built panamaxes and fourteen 83,000-dwt kamsarmax bulkers, six of which were built between February 2005 and May 2006, and the remaining eight to be delivered between July 2006 and May 2007. The deal will make Quintana the youngest U.S.-listed fleet. All the vessels are sister ships built at Tsuneishi, a Japanese shipyard. Kamsarmaxes are a panamax sub-class that have more carrying capacity than typical Panamax designs.
All the vessels are on long-term time charter to global agribusiness Bunge. Sixteen of the vessels are fixed until the end of 2010 under an agreement that provides for variable charter hire within floor and ceiling rates. The remaining vessel is on charter with Bunge until August 2009 at a fixed rate.
Source: www.mgn.com, Tuesday, 16 May 2006


Theodore Angelopoulos: Millionaire Maker, or Market Magician?
The Deal in Detail is available in: "Freshly Minted" weekly online at www.marinemoney.com
Source: Freshly Minted" weekly online Thursday, May 18, 2006, at www.marinemoney.com


Major shipping deals on way
---Athens. The world's shipping industry is heading for consolidation and this year the sector could see several record-breaking, billion-dollar acquisitions, a leading financier to the industry said.
The highly fragmented industry -- in which Greek interests control about a fifth of the world's fleet -- has seen a raft of new listings and acquisitions in the past two years.
'Going forward in 2006, we will see some billion dollar transactions taking place,' Simon Rose, chief executive officer of boutique investment bank Dahlman Rose said in a telephone interview.
'We are seeing a gradual consolidation in the shipping market,' he added. 'But it will be a five-year process.'
Earlier this month, Athens-based and US-listed Quintana Maritime acquired a 17-vessel dry-bulk fleet from private Greek shipper Metrobulk for $735 million dollars -- one of the largest acquisitions in shipping history.
Dahlman Rose, which helped arrange financing for the deal, has raised $1.5 billion in equity for shipping companies in the past 12 months -- most of that in initial public offerings.
Generally strong shipping rates in the past two years -- partly thanks to import demand from China's fast-growing economy -- have helped lift industry profits and fuelled new interest from investors in the US and worldwide.
'This year, we will see half a dozen or so shipping IPOs and another half-a-dozen other kinds of capital-raising exercises in US markets,' Rose said.
'In general, we will see fewer deals to raise capital, but they will be bigger in size. In other words, fewer companies, but more dollars involved,' he added.
In 2005, some two dozen shipping companies listed on US markets, including Greek-controlled DryShips, Diana Shipping, Quintana, Aries Maritime and StealthGas raising $1 billion in equity among them.
'I think there has been a paucity of offerings in the US this year, but my expectation is that the number will increase,' Rose said.
The world's ocean-going shipping market is made up of two major segments -- dry-bulk carriers and oil tankers representing about 10,000 vessels and about 700 million deadweight tonnes.
But new environmental regulations on double-hulled tankers will require as much as a third of the 4,000 vessel tanker fleet to be replaced in the next four years.
That will require further investment in new ships which, in turn, will lead to more equity being raised and further consolidation as only the bigger shippers will be able to raise the required finance, Rose said.
'I am very positive on the tanker sector,' Rose said.Reuters
Source: http://www.tradearabia.com, Posted: Saturday, May 20, 2006


Melissa Lines - Mediterranean Feeder Service
Update of our current services:
ORYX EXPRESS: Damietta, Port Said, Benghazi, Tripoli, Tunis - every 12 days
ATLAS EXPRESS: Damietta, Port Said, Benghazi, Misurata, Annaba - every 15 days
Further service linking Egyptian Med, Syria, Turkey, Greece & Libya will be announced in the near future.
For more information, contact: Melissa Lines SA, 9 Afentouli St, Piraeus 185 36 GREECE, Info@melissalines.com www.melissalines.com
Source: press release