Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 24 - 2006
---Greek shipowners have again expressed serious concern in relation to the International Group of P&I Club's overspill layer which exposes owners to massive additional calls.
Indeed, owners claim they could be called upon to pay another $4bn.
The overspill is the liability cover which exceeds the reinsurance purchased. Currently IG clubs cover up to around $6bn, whereas only $2bn is re-insured. According to the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) and the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee (GSCC), in case of a very large claim, shipowners, who are members of IG Clubs, will have to meet the difference between $2bn and $6bn.
Commenting in the GSCC report for 2005/2006, Embiricos said the Athens Convention, which covers passenger shipping, "compounds our concerns". He said: "It provides for very high limits of liability per passenger carried. It also provides for strict, no fault, liability on the part of the shipowner and for certification by the P&I clubs, which will give rise to the right of direct action by the claimants against the clubs."
Noting passenger ships now carry 4,375 passengers and ships of 6,500 passenger capacity are on order, Embiricos said the Athens Convention passenger liability for the big ship would be in the order of $4bn plus liabilities of crew and for potential pollution.
"These figures are truly frightening," said the GSCC chairman.
Furthermore, it is clear that in the light of cruise ships currently being able to carry in excess of 4,300 passengers, this solvency danger already exists."
The ever increasing risks and the ever increasing concentration of risk mean the likelihood of a very large overspill claim is growing. The IG must decide whether they are willing to accept to underwrite any risk that comes along or whether there is a limit to the risks and concentration of risk they can accept. "In the final analysis, it is the club members who are the underwriters and are thus responsible for responding to any claim," he said.
Furthermore, it should be kept in mind that the apportionment of the overspill layer among club members is viewed by many as being unfair, since ships would have to contribute according to GRT, rather than according to the risk of generating an overspill claim.
For example, tankers, whose oil pollution liabilities are capped at $1bn, and bulkcarriers, which pose a low risk to the overspill layer, would have to respond to an overspill claim in accordance with the GRT of each vessel, in exactly the same way as high risk vessels would respond.
Embiricos calls for steps to improve the system and obviate some of the dangers. "IG clubs should not agree to provide direct action certification under the Athens Convention, unless either the overall limit of cover is substantially reduced or alternatively a limit is imposed on the cover provided to passenger ships/cruise ships/ferries," said Embiricos.
Greek shipowners still in revolt over common structural rules
---GREEK shipowners have confirmed they remain dissatisfied with the newly developed common structural rules for tankers and bulkers despite protestations last week by senior figures from the world of class who hinted that the controversy might be on the point of evaporating.
The remarks at an end-of-Posidonia press conference by the UGS at the weekend poured cold water on reports circulating last week that class societies and Greeks might be close to a merger of views on the rules, at least those regarding tankers.
There were also suggestions made in private by class executives that at the very least the sting had been drawn from the clash by a gagging agreement between the two sides.
Among other issues addressed by the UGS leader were recent discussions with US politicians and agencies.
Mr Efthymiou said that Greek owners were responsible for about a quarter of oil and petroleum product imports into the US and a similar proportion of dry cargo exports.
He added that owners were ready to co-operate in voluntary US security initiatives similar to previous schemes to counter the drug trade.
Source: www.tradewinds.co.uk, By Nigel Lowry in Athens- Monday June 12 2006
All parties should assist shipping, owners suggest
---By Nikos Bardounias - Kathimerini, 14 Jun 2006
The EEE annual report suggests that the shipping sector brings multiple benefits to the Greek economy, headed by the influx of foreign currency amounting to 13.871 billion euros in 2005 (an increase of 4.2 percent, or 564 million euros from 2004) with prospects for a further rise if the state decides to take measures to strengthen the competitiveness of the Greek flag.
Despite international pressures, such as the rise in oil prices by 46.3 percent in 2005 after another 33.6 percent in 2004, Greek shipping continues to contribute to the country and to maintain its leading position worldwide with 16.1 percent of global capacity, recording a 4.1 percent rise from 2004.
All this activity has brought down the average age of the Greek-owned fleet from 15.9 years in 2004 to 15.3 years in 2005, while the average age of Greek-flagged ships stands at 11.7 years.
More than 1,000 shipping companies operate in Greece managing this fleet, employing over 11,000 people, the vast majority of whom are Greek citizens.
Leaking ship granted refuge in False Bay
---A leaking ship with 1000 tons of fuel oil on board has limped into False Bay to have the damage to its hull assessed.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) allowed the ship to enter False Bay as a "port of refuge", but has given the owners a deadline of midday today to come up with a plan of what they intend doing to sort out the ageing ship's problems.
If Samsa is not satisfied with the ship owners' proposal, it will order the vessel to leave.
The 21-year-old bulk carrier, the Setsuyo Star, carrying a cargo of iron ore from Brazil to China, is registered in the Bahamas, which does not have strict maritime regulations.
Samsa's chief, Captain Saleem Modak, said yesterday that a surveyor sent to investigate had found that some of the metal plating (of the hull) had become separated from the frames.
Water wasn't pouring but was seeping in. A storm was approaching and it was decided to allow the vessel to come into False Bay as it was too big to enter Table Bay, which was also too exposed.
Modak said the ship had to have a tug from an approved salvor on standby at all times and the Smit Amandla tug had been on standby in False Bay since the weekend.
"There is no danger of the ship sinking at the moment, or we would not have allowed her in," Modak said.
"There is no risk of pollution at the moment. It is a very small crack and the water is seeping in, but if subjected to the dynamics of the sea, it will eventually become a big crack.
"The most prudent thing was to let her come in."
Samsa is waiting for the Greek owners to present a proposal for repairs and appoint salvors approved by Samsa.
"They cannot simply carry out any repairs they want. We have to see what they intend doing first," Modak said.
He said the surveyors thought the damage had probably been caused by a combination of the ship's age, the effects of pounding seas and possible mechanical damage to the metal plating.
The ship was at anchor two miles off Cape Town at the weekend when it asked for a port of refuge. It is now anchored about two miles offshore in False Bay.
Source: www.capetimes.co.za, June 14, 2006, By Melanie Gosling
Peraticos may be on the comeback
---Former shipowner Nicos Peraticos may be on the comeback trail with Wall Street IPO-hopeful Ultrapetrol of Bahamas.
Among the hundreds of pages filed by the South American company with US securities regulators is an organisational chart of employees listing Nicholas Peraticos as a financial analyst.
Peraticos is former managing director of Pegasus Ocean Services, which ran a fleet of early-1980s-built panamax tankers before encountering financial trouble between 1999 and 2003.
Ultrapetrol representative Leonard Hoskinson, whose name appears beside Peraticos on the same chart, said: "That sounds odd to me" before adding that he would investigate.
Peraticos's Pegasus Shipping was one of several companies to float junk bonds to US investors only to later default in the late 1990s. Pegasus restructured its $150m issue at 50 cents on the dollar in 1999. However, its troubles did not end there as its lending banks moved against the fleet and sold off the vessels in 2003.
At the time, there was an indirect connection between Peraticos and Miami-based ship manager Ravenscroft Shipping, which is headed by Hoskinson. Ravenscroft assumed management of some of the Pegasus vessels on behalf of the lenders.
At the time there was also word the London-based Peraticos was considering moving to Miami.
Earlier this year, Peraticos emerged as a director and head of the compensation committee for the interestingly named Pegasus Wireless Corp in preparation for its listing on the Nasdaq.
By Joe Brady Stamford, published: 16 June 2006
Diana to buy dry bulk tanker for $39.6M
---ATHENS, Greece, June 13 (UPI) -- Diana Shipping Inc. of Athens is paying $39.6 million for a 73,546-ton dry bulk cargo ship.
The Greek company said Tuesday it would take delivery of the ship next month. Upon delivery the vessel will be chartered to Bocimar Belgium NV of Antwerp, Belgium, for 11 to 13 months at $21,000 per day net.
Upon completion of this purchase, Diana's fleet will consist of 13 Panamax dry bulk carriers and one Capesize dry bulk carrier.
Omega Navigation Announces Delivery of Its Second Panamax Product Tanker
---PIREAUS, GREECE -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 06/16/2006 -- Omega Navigation Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: ONAV), a provider of global marine transportation services (the "Company"), announced today that it has taken delivery of its second Panamax (LR1) double hull product tanker, the "Everhard Schulte," to be renamed the "Omega King."
The "Omega King" is a Panamax (LR1) double hull product tanker of 74,999 deadweight tons ("dwt"), built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, South Korea in 2004. The acquisition was funded by in part from the net proceeds of the Company's initial public offering and debt under a senior secured credit facility provided by HSH-Nordbank AG.
The "Omega King" is employed under a long-term time charter to A/S Dampskibsselskabet TORM ("Torm") until June 2009 at a daily time charter hire rate of $26,500. The Company has granted Torm an option to extend the charter for an additional period of 24 months at a minimum daily time charter hire rate of $28,500. The Company has selected Singapore-based Eurasia International as the vessel's technical manager. Eurasia International has managed the "Omega King" since its original delivery from the shipyard and it is also managing the "Omega Queen" which was delivered to Omega on May 29, 2006 as previously announced.
The Company has agreements to acquire four additional double hull product tankers with deliveries expected by the end of July 2006.
George Kassiotis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Omega Navigation, commented, "We are very pleased to take delivery of 'Omega King,' the second of six product tankers that we have agreed to acquire, which will complement our current fleet of two dry bulk carriers and one product tanker. Once all deliveries are completed, we will have a young, modern and diversified fleet, primarily oriented towards product tankers.
Furthermore, we believe that the addition of the Omega King to our current fleet enhances our ability to generate cash flow and reinforces the growth prospects of our company as well as our ability to implement our quarterly dividend policy, with the first dividend payment of $0.50 per share expected in August 2006."
Founder of easyJet joins the nation's top flight
---Two flamboyant tycoons join stars from the worlds of entertainment and sport on the Queen's 80th Birthday Honours list
He is joined by Sir Philip Green, another flamboyant entrepreneur, who turned round Top Shop and BhS and is behind several other high street successes, and Charles Sir Wheeler, the doyen of foreign correspondents.
There are also many awards for figures in the world of fashion and design.
Sir Stelios, 39, was born in Greece but studied in London before setting up his first company, Stelmar Shipping, at the age of 25.
He went on to start more than 16 ventures including, in 1995, the hugely successful easyJet. That spawned the easyGroup that covers personal finance, online recruitment, pizza delivery, music downloads, mobile telephony, hotels, a cruise line and wrist watches.
Source: www.timesonline.co.uk, By Rosemary Bennett
Out of court on court
An altogether gentler atmosphere prevailed in the lite tournament, where coffee and socialising were occasionally interrupted by the odd game of tennis. The oddest tennis was played by co-organiser Louise Glover of Davies Johnson with Bruce Trentham, resulting in this pair winning the lite amidst numerous allegations of rigging.
The event was highly political. Not only were participants striving to prevent Tsaviliris from walking away with his own trophy, but some were involved in commercial disputes against each other and it is rumoured that at leastone piece of litigation culminated in an out-of-court settlement -- on court. The only losers were the lawyers in an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable day for shipping.
Source: The Maritime Advocate online--Issue 257, 13 June 2006