Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 36 - 2006

 

Greece, South Korea ink wider shipping pact

---Greece and South Korea have agreements to boost bilateral cooperation in shipping and tourism. The pact to improve cooperation in the shipping field was signed by Marine minister, Manolis Kefaloyiannis and his South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-Jin during a landmark three-day visit to Athens by a Korean delegation led by the country's president, Roh Moo-hyun.
The second pact, aimed at drioving the tourism sectors of both countries, was signed by Greece's Tourism minister Fanni Palli-Petralia and South Korea's minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ban Ki-moon.
Prior to the signing of the marine agreement, September 4, which primarily deals with the freedom of trade and shipping movement, president Roh said South Korea and Greece could use their large shipping-related industries as a springboard to launch broader economic ties between the two countries.
"Greece is the greatest shipping power in the world while South Korea proudly holds first place in world shipbuilding," said Roh in an interview with Kathimerini. Roh acknowledged the development of South Korea's shipbuilding industry has been, to a great extent, linked with Greek shipping. With over half of the new ships, built by Greeks over the past decade contracted in Korean yards, the economic flow to now has been very much one-way.
In a second shipping-related agreement, September 1, Kefaloyiannis and Kim signed a memorandum of cooperation for the development of the port of Timbaki, south Crete. Under this agreement, the two countries are to set up a committee to jointly study programmes to promote the development, management and operation of the port of Timbaki, though it does not exclude the right of Greece to work with others in developing the port as a hub, something which also interests the Chinese.
With Roh also keen to boost cooperation "in new areas, such as technology", Greece's Economy minister, George Alogoskoufis presented businessmern in the delegation with potential investment prospects in Greece and the broader Balkan region.
Well aware of the role Greeks have had in developing South Korea's growth as an economic power, Greek president, Carolos Papoulias said after meeting with Roh: "We hope that Greece's polotical, economic and geographical advantages will motivate South Korean investment."
Papoulias said that "the signing of the two agreements covering shipping and tourism" meant the "legal frame for wider cooperation has been completed".
-- Filed: 2006-05-09
Source: www.newsfront.gr


Greek Gov't fields questions over stepped up efforts to build pipeline.
---The [Greek] government on Tuesday fielded several press questions related to a "mini-summit" a day earlier in Athens by the leaders of Greece, Russia and Bulgaria focusing on the finalization of plans and agreements for a long-delayed oil pipeline linking the Black Sea and the northern Aegean, billed as an auxiliary "energy corridor" for the busy Bosporus Strait.
In response to extensive press coverage here of the Karamanlis-Putin-Purvanov meeting, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos clarified that the exact level of each side's participation in the oil pipeline project remains to be decided, something expected to be cleared up at yet another meeting, in Athens, of relevant energy Ministers of the three countries and representatives of interested companies within the year.
On his part, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, who holds the energy portfolio, said Monday's joint commitment by the three leaders to sign a final inter-state agreement within the year upgrades Athens' international position.
"In March 2004 we (the government) found the plan in a state of complete inertia, while since the summer of 2004 all three governments have worked closely to promote the plan," he added, referring particularly to the development boost expected to be reaped by the Thrace province.
The 285-kilometre pipeline is expected to connect the Bulgarian port of Burgas, on the western shores of the Black Sea, with the Greek port of Alexandroupolis, in the north-eastern Aegean.
Source: http://www.hellenicnews.com, Athens, 06/09/2006 (ANA/MPA)


Plan B for Russian oil: route through Greece
Source: Newswatch, Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, 07 Sep 2006


Loading Halts as Ship's Crew Strikes in Long Beach Port
---Crew members of a cargo ship berthed in the Port of Long Beach struck for a second day Friday, saying they are owed more than $325,000 in back wages.
The action, which began Thursday evening, brought work to a halt aboard the Endless, a Greek-owned bulk carrier that was being loaded with petroleum coke bound for Asia.
Dockworkers have honored the crew's picket line and refused to load the Panama-registered vessel, which is berthed at Pier G. On Friday evening, an arbitrator ordered the longshore workers to resume loading the ship.
Officials for the International Transport Workers Federation, a global union that represents seafarers, said the 18-member crew went on strike several days after the federation began investigating the wage dispute. The seafarers, who are paid monthly, say they were repeatedly shorted in their wages.
"It looks like the owners breached their agreement with the crew, and we are trying to get to the bottom of it," said Stefan Mueller-Dombois, a federation inspector.
Mueller-Dombois said a review of the ship's books uncovered accounting irregularities and evidence that the crew was getting paid about half of what it was owed.
Under current federation agreements, an able-bodied seaman should make about $1,550 a month, including wages, overtime and vacation allowances.
The federation is seeking about $362,000 from Sea Justice S.A., which operates the Endless and four other cargo ships. The amount includes back wages, penalties and travel expenses to return crew members to the Philippines, a large supplier of seafarers for the global merchant fleet.
Frank Brucculeri, an attorney for the ship owner, said the crew worked under a Philippine union contract required by the Philippine government and supplemental transport federation agreements obtained through a Greek seafarers union.
The owner, Brucculeri said, thought he could pay the crew under the Philippine contract, which offered wages that were considerably less than the federation agreements.
Brucculeri contends that the amount in back wages sought by the transport federation is inflated.
He estimates that the company owes something in the "high $100,000s to low $200,000s." An accountant is trying to determine the amount, he said.
Kevin Schroeder, vice president of Local 13 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said dockworkers refused to load the ship as a sign of support for the strike.
"The owner has threatened to fire the crew, take the ship out to anchor and hire a new crew," Schroeder said. "This is a basic human rights deal. They are standing up for their rights."
Brucculeri contends that crew members have violated their own grievance procedures in the wage dispute. If they continue to do so, he said, the owner has a right to fire them.
Source: http://www.latimes.com, By Dan Weikel, Times Staff Writer, September 9, 2006


UK investors consider entering Greek coastal shipping market
---A well-known English investment consortium with high cash flow is examining possible entry into the Greek coastal shipping market. Reports suggest that first contacts have already taken place with the shareholders of listed coastal shipping companies to acquire their stakes.
Industry sources believe that this development is the outcome of a general restructuring aimed at the creation of new schemes either through acquisitions or partnerships.
This was also noted in the annual report by XRTC, the shipping consultancy of Natexis Banques Populaires, on Greek coastal shipping and its prospects. It stressed that within the next months there would be activity for cooperation with or acquisition of companies in coastal shipping, instead of building new vessels whose costs would have been very high.
At any rate, developments in the industry are on the way and are connected to three factors:
- The opening of the domestic market regarding fares and the expected further liberalization of the institutional framework, as determined by European regulations. These institutional developments create new prospects and opportunities for the domestic market in line with commercial interest.
- The reduction of yields in capital invested in the Adriatic Sea lines, particularly by the major companies. The listed firms that are active in the Adriatic (Attica, Blue Star, Minoan and ANEK) effectively recorded losses in the first half of the year: Attica had 10.9 million euros of losses, while Blue Star doubled its losses in this line from 1.8 to 3.6 million euros. The other two companies do not break down their figures according to routes, but their negative picture is obvious compared with the same period last year.
Consequently, coastal shipping companies seem to be more interested in domestic routes, where the returns are higher, and any activity now will be aimed at the creation of larger groups that will increase market shares and achieve economies of scale.
Source: By Nikos Bardounias - Kathimerini, http://www.ekathimerini.com


Aegean cruise contenders emerge
---Andreas Potamianos and Elysian Cruises team up with Kollakis for 2007 launch of new cruise line brand, writes Nigel Lowry in Athens- Friday September 08 2006
FORMER Greek cruise kingpin Andreas Potamianos and Elysian Cruises have emerged as partners of the Kollakis shipping group in a new cruise brand established to start Aegean cruising next year.
Monarch Classical Cruises (MCC) was a name first floated a few weeks ago as a marketing and sales entity for European Classical Cruises, a new cruise line launched by the Kollakis group, which has previously run its cruise ship-chartering operations under Majestic International Cruises.
The 450-berth vessel has operated cruises out of Piraeus this season under charter for another company and was the first ship announced for the new line, to perform three- and four-day cruises of the Greek islands and Turkey starting in late March 2007.
It will be partnered by Blue Monarch, the new name for the former Royal Olympic Cruises (ROC) vessel World Renaissance, which has been refurbished this year as Grand Victoria by Elysian, the cruise operation started two years ago as an affiliate of Latin American tanker operator Ultrapetrol.
It is understood the participation of Blue Monarch is not based on any charter but on a joint marketing agreement that leaves the Kollakis camp and Elysian each free to operate their own vessels at their own risk.
Mr Lambros confirmed European Classical Cruises is effectively the largest shareholder in Monarch but both Elysian and Mr Potamianos, who is officially involved as a consultant, are also stakeholders in the marketing company.
The emergence of Monarch also marks a comeback for Mr Potamianos, seen as the former strongman of both Epirotiki Cruise Lines and its successor, ROC, which collapsed in early 2004.
Source: www.lloydslist.com


Byzantine Maritime in talks with yards for products tankers
---Byzantine Maritime of Greece is expanding its fleet with newbuildings and is in talks with shipyards in South Korea for long-range-one (LR1) products tankers.
Informed sources say Byzantine has approached STX Shipbuilding, SungDong Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering and SPP Shipbuilding for two coated panamax tankers.
A newbuilding source close to the shipbuilders confirms the talk and says the owner has not decided which yard will build its vessels.
However, other newbuilding sources say Byzantine has already signed a letter of intent (LOI) with SPP Shipbuilding to build the two tankers for delivery in 2010.
"A LOI may have been signed between Byzantine and SPPbut we are not sure if thedeal will materialise as SPP isbuilding medium-range (MR) tankers only," said one market observer.
An SPP official declines to comment on the Byzantine deal but confirms the yard wants to get into the LR1 business.
"We are starting to marketthe LR1 ships and we haveberth spaces for end-2009 delivery," said the SPP official. "We are targeting to deliver 25 MR tankers and four to five LR1s per year."
Meanwhile, some brokers have gone so far as to claim Byzantine has already firmed up a pair of 74,000-dwt coated tankers at SungDong for delivery in the middle of 2009.
A SungDong official says the Athens-based owner has not ordered any LR1s but has one long-range-two (LR2) 115,000-dwt coated aframax tanker on order at the yard for delivery in 2009. The order was placed in March ahead of the 1 April common structural rules (CSR) deadline. Byzantine is believed to hold options for two more ships and has until the end of the year to exercise them.
A bulker and tanker owner, Byzantine is listed as owning seven handymax bulkers and 10 tankers between 47,000 dwt and 102,000 dwt. The tankers are all double-hullers.
In July, Byzantine was said to have sold its 14-year-old, 43,500-dwt handymax bulker Zenovia (built 1992) for $20m, more than double what it paid for the ship four years ago.
Byzantine purchased it as the Orient River II in February 2002 for just $8.9m.
By Irene Ang, Singapore, published: 08 September 2006
Source: www.tradewinds.no


FreeSeas Inc. Reports Six Months 2006 Results
---September 5, 2006 Piraeus, Greece ? FreeSeas Inc. (Nasdaq: FREE, FREEW and FREEZ), a provider of seaborne transportation for dry bulk cargoes, announced today unaudited operating results for the six months ended June 30, 2006. The Company was incorporated on April 23, 2004 and became public on December 16, 2005.
For the six months ended June 30, 2006, the Company reported operating revenues of $5.19 million and a net loss of ($2.51) million, or ($0.40) per share, based on 6,282,600 shares outstanding during the period as compared to operating revenue of $4.45 million and net income of $534,000 during the comparable period in 2005. During the six months ended June 30, 2006, the Company was operating three vessels as compared to two vessels in the comparable period in 2005. EBITDA, adjusted for certain non-cash compensation expenses, for the six months ended June 30, 2006 was $948,000. A reconciliation of EBITDA to net income is provided below. An average of three vessels were owned and operated during the six months ended June 30, 2006 earning an average Time Charter Equivalent rate of $7,918 per day during the period.
The Company reported operating revenues of $2.72 million and a net loss of ($0.72) million, or ($0.11) per share for the second quarter ended June 30, 2006, compared to operating revenues of $2.47 million and a net loss of ($1.79) million, or ($0.29) per share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2006, based on 6,282,600 shares outstanding during the period. EBITDA, adjusted for certain non-cash compensation expenses, for the second quarter was $1.03 million as compared to ($79,000) for the first quarter of 2006. An average of three vessels were owned and operated during the second quarter of 2006 earning an average Time Charter Equivalent rate of $9,984 per day during the second quarter as compared to $5,852 per day during the first quarter.
Management Commentary:
George D. Gourdomichalis, Chairman and President of FreeSeas commented, "The first six months of 2006 were our first as a public company. We incurred additional costs during that six month period for being a public company and expect that as we continue to grow they will be a smaller percentage of our total revenues. Additionally, during the first quarter of 2006, the dry bulk shipping market experienced a softening in rates, which were at their lowest levels in the past three years and impacted all companies in the industry.
Our operations during the first six months of 2006 were affected by these weak market conditions and lower charter rates during the first quarter, which resulted in lower operating revenue. Additionally, in the first quarter, we experienced extraordinary repairs and expenses during a voyage charter, which further decreased earnings and EBITDA. Our operations in the second quarter rebounded significantly as we experienced stronger market conditions and a strengthening in charter rates as evidenced by an average Time Charter Equivalent rate of $9,984 per day per vessel in the second quarter of 2006 compared to $5,852 during the first quarter of 2006. Charter rates have continued to strengthen in the third quarter and given that our vessels operate primarily in the spot market, we are taking advantage of the strong market conditions and believe it will translate into increasing revenues in the third quarter."
Efstathios D. Gourdomichalis, Chief Financial Officer of FreeSeas remarked, "In addition to the weak market conditions of the first quarter of 2006, our results during the first six months of 2006 were also affected by the drydocking of the M/V Free Envoy in the second quarter, which accounted for our lower fleet utilization ratio. Even with the drydocking of the M/V Free Envoy, the results of the second quarter of 2006 were significantly improved. As we seek to expand our fleet, we believe that the per vessel operating expenses would decrease with additional vessel acquisitions."
Ion G. Varouxakis, Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of FreeSeas, continued, "The significant rebound of second quarter of 2006 earnings and EBITDA reflects the Company's ability to take advantage of improving market conditions and increased charter rates after a depressed first quarter. We believe that this should result in improved operating results. Our Company's objective is to grow by expanding our fleet and capitalizing on current favorable market conditions. FreeSeas is actively seeking strategic opportunities focusing on the handysize segment of the market, which we believe has the strongest growth potential, given the operational versatility of handysize vessels, combined with the low orderbook and high percentage of over-age vessels in this segment."
To view Financial Data, Fleet Data go to > http://www.freeseas.gr/main.html?irp=pr2&relid=41955
Source: http://www.freeseas.gr


Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. Announces Four (4) Favorable Long-Term Time Charters
- Strong Rate Environment Leads To New Charter Contracts -
PIRAEUS, Greece, Sept. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. ("Navios") (Nasdaq: BULK, BULKU, BULKW), a vertically integrated global shipping company specializing in the dry-bulk shipping industry, announced today that it has secured favorable time charter contracts for four (4) of its vessels. As a result, Navios has extended the coverage of its Long Term Fleet to 98.4% for 2006 and 59.2% for 2007.
The time charters encompass two vessels for two years and two vessels for three year at daily rates creating approximately $59.8 million of EBITDA over the charter periods. The details of these vessels and the related charters are in the press release available at: http://www.navios.com/Newsroom/default.asp
"We are very pleased to execute on our strategy of leveraging the strong rate environment to secure favorable cash flow," said Ms. Angeliki Frangou, Chairman and CEO of Navios. "In light of the recent momentum of the market, we feel that long-term contracts are beneficial, and, during the past month, we have secured 8 long-term charters to quality charterers for favorable rates."
Public & Investor Relations Contact: Navios Maritime Holdings Inc., Investor Relations, 212-279-8820, investors@navios.com
Source: http://www.navios.com/Newsroom/default.asp


Source: Press Release, Germanischer Lloyd Presse und Information


DNV Piraeus conference: "Human Element in Shipping", 26 Sep. 2006
DNV Piraeus will organize on the 26th September a half day -conference at the Athens Ledra Marriott Hotel with main Theme "Human Element in Shipping"
This conference will address some of the critical issues as seen from different players who all have vested interests in attracting/maintaining high caliber/well educated seafarers. Prominent speakers from Greek Authorities, P&I clubs, Shipowners association,Training Institutions, ITF, Human resource specialists will present their views followed by panel discussions. The conference will be opened by the President of UGS Nikos Efthymiou .
For more information contact Mrs. Vicky Karaoulani or Mrs. Georgia Panagopoulou at tel: 210 41 00 200 / fax: 210 42 26 708 and 210 42 23 059.
Source: DNV Piraeus


Marine Money Greek Ship Finance Forum - 12 October 2006, Athens
On Thursday, 12 October 2006, Marine Money will host its eighth annual Greek Ship Finance Forum in Athens. One of the most venerable homes of the global shipping industry and one of the most active venues for ship finance, this symposium is not to be missed.
Agenda: 09:00 - 18:00 hours
 Economic Outlook - Interest rates and oil price: Is there a nasty shock ahead? - Mr. Guy Verberne, Head of Economic Research, Fortis Bank
 Market Outlook: Understanding the opportunities and threats - * Towards a comprehensive understanding of shipbuilding capacity / Mr. Matthew Flynn, Managing Director, Worldyards.com Pte. Ltd. * Tanker Futures and thier applications / Mr. Vassilis Karakoulakis, Clarkson Securities Limited
 Debt Finance: * Rising interest rates * Vintage tonnage * Investment Banking vs Commercial Banking / Panel: Mr. Gust Biesbroeck, Director Global Shipping Group, Fortis Bank (Nederland) N.V. - Mr. Ulf B. Andersson, Head of Shipping, Offshore & Oil Services, Nordea Bank London - Mr. Vassilis Mantzavinos, Director, Head of Piraeus Shipping Unit, Global Shipping, HypoVereinsbank AG ...and more.... Moderator: Mr. Kevin Oates, Marine Money Greece
 The Public Image of Shipping: Do we portray ourselves well to the outside world ? Panel: Mr. Michael Jolliffe, Deputy Chairman, Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited - Mr. George D. Gourdomichalis, Chairman & President, FreeSeas Inc - Mr. David Glass, Managing Director/ Managing Editor, Newsfront / Naftiliaki - Mr. Robert Lustrin, Partner, Capital Markets Group, Seward & Kissel LLP - Moderator: Mr. Jim Lawrence, Partner, MTI Network and Chairman, Marine Money International
 Lunch Party co-hosted by TEN Limited
 Valuing Ships and cash flows: * What is a ship really worth * Are EBITDA multiples consistent in a cyclical industry ? - Panel: Mr. Christopher Georgakis, President & CEO, Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd. - Mr. John Sinders, Managing Director, Jefferies & Company, Inc. - Mrs Angeliki Frangou, Chairman & C.E.O., Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. - Mr. Stamatis Molaris, President & CEO, Quintana Maritime Ltd. - Mr. D. John Stavropoulos, Chairman, Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited - Moderator: Mr. Christos Megalou, Managing Director - Regional Office Greece/Cyprus, Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Limited
 The Next Hot Source of Finance: Private Equity - Mr. Gregory Martin, Managing Director, Dahlman Rose & Co. LLC
 The London AIM Market for Shipping Companies - Mr. David Davies, Head of Corporate Finance, KBC Peel Hunt Ltd
 Going Public - Is it worthwhile: * Benefits and drawbacks * What about research * Is the US still best? Panel: Mr. Loli Wu, Managing Director, Citigroup Global Markets Inc. - Mr. Mark S. Johnson, Managing Director, DVB Capital Markets - Mr. John Dragnis, Commercial Director, Goldenport Holdings Inc. - Ms. Charlotte Crosswell, Head of Nasdaq International - Mr. Stamatis N. Tsantanis, CFO, TOP Tankers Inc. - Moderator: Mr. Gary Wolfe, Partner & Head of Capital Markets Group, Seward & Kissel LLP
Anchor Sponsor: Fortis Bank Greece
Prime Sponsors: Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking. * Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Limited * Jefferies & Company, Inc. * Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. * Quintana Maritime Ltd. * Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited
Corporate Sponsors: Aries Maritime Transport Limited * Dahlman Rose & Co. LLC * DVB Capital Markets * EDB Business Partners AS * Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd. * First Ship Lease (S) Pte. Ltd. * Golden Destiny SA * Goldenport Holdings Inc. * HypoVereinsbank AG * KBC Peel Hunt Ltd * NASDAQ International * Nordea Bank Finland PLC. * Omega Navigation Enterprises, Inc. * Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP * Seward & Kissel LLP * TOP Tankers Ltd. * Watson, Farley & Williams LLP * Worldyards.com Pte. Ltd.
For more informations and bookings, please contact Conference Organiser: Mia Jensen and Kevin Oates, Marine Money Greece, Tel 0030 210 9858 809, mia@marine-marketing.gr
Source: www.marinemoney.com


Tanker Operator magazine will hold its fifth TMSA conference, in the Metropolitan Hotel, Athens, on October 18, 2006, as a forum for tanker operators to talk about how they are approaching TMSA, which aspects they find hardest and easiest, what business benefits they expect and what they think of the scheme.
More > http://www.tankeroperator.com/conferences/athens/tanker_introduction.shtml
Source: http://www.tankeroperator.com


4th Ann. Digital Ship Athens - October 19-20, 2006
Digital Ship - in association with AMMITEC - are holding the fourth annual Digital Ship Athens on October 19-20 2006 at the Metropolitan Hotel, Athens.
More > http://www.thedigitalship.com/conferences/athens
Source: http://www.thedigitalship.com


26th Coaltrans - World Coal Conference: 22-25 October 2006, Athens Hilton
A 4-day event inclusive of the Coaltrans 2006 Golf Classic which is complimentary for conference participants.
Examples of some of the many topics that will be addressed at Coaltrans 2006:-
The agenda for Coaltrans 2006 is available at http://www.coaltrans.com
Source: http://www.coaltrans.com


Greek Shipping Summit 2006: 3 November 2006, Hotel Grand Bretagne, Athens
Co-organised by Seatrade and TradeWinds, the inaugural Greek Shipping Summit is for Greek and international shipowners, charterers, bankers and financiers, lawyers and lawmakers, regulators, port authorities and coast guards, shipbuilders and representatives of class societies from all major world maritime centres.
The program includes presentations and discussion on:
*What do charterers expect from Greek shipowners and where do they expect them to go?
* What do the regulators expect from Greek shipping and where do they expect things to move?
For more information, see: http://www.greekshippingsummit.com
Source: http://www.greekshippingsummit.com