Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 39 - 2006

 

Ship Finance, World Coal, conferences, summits - taking place in Athens

 Marine Money Greek Ship Finance Forum: 12 October 2006, Ledra Marriott - http://www.marinemoney.com/forums/GR06/index.htm
 TMSA in Tanker Operations conference: 18 October, 2006, Athens, www.tankeroperator.com
 4th Ann. Digital Ship Athens - October 19-20, 2006, www.thedigitalship.com
 26th Coaltrans - World Coal Conference: 22-25 October 2006, Athens Hilton, www.coaltrans.com
 Greek Shipping Summit 2006: 3 November 2006, Grand Bretagne, Athens, www.greekshippingsummit.com
Source: Compiled from Internet and Press releases sent to news.desk@marine-marketing.gr


Call for shipping reform
---27 Sep 2006, By Nikos Bardounias - Kathimerini
Already two-thirds of the Greek-owned fleet belong to foreign registers today, and the worry is that more ships will meet the same fate, warned the representatives of the Greek Union of Shipowners (EEE) and the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee of London, who met this week in Piraeus.
However it was noted that over the last six months, Greek-owned shipping has grown even stronger, continuing its high rate of quality renewal on the basis of a wide-ranging construction program for the building of new, state-of-the-art ships.
The construction program, ordered by Greek shipowners and set to wrap up in 2010, includes more than 400 vessels, to a total capacity of about 30 million dwt. The Greek-managed fleet of over-100-gt ships today numbers 1,491 vessels.
The Merchant Marine Ministry data about the state of the Greek-flagged fleet is positive regarding its qualitative features. There is a clear improvement in the quality of the Greek register, both in the size of vessels and the age of the fleet (further drop of average ship age).
Nevertheless, shipping sources suggest that the Greek register is clearly losing in competitiveness against its European rivals, and that dynamic measures are required that will contribute in Greek shipping maintaining its global lead.
Shipowners argued in the meeting that the unjustified delay in preparing the appropriate and sufficient workforce for an ever-increasing shipping industry has created greater gaps in manning the technologically advanced ships. In the long term this is certain to affect office needs, too, regarding shipping management.
Ministry data shows that the balance between entries and exits from the register of ocean-going ships in the period from August 1, 2005, to the same date in 2006 has been positive, both in ship numbers (a 4 percent rise) and in total capacity (an 8 percent rise), which should have a positive impact on the market and the national economy.
The Greek register had 56 new entries of ocean-going ships, totaling 3,182,646 register tons, while in the same period 54 ships were written off the register, totaling 1,799,097 register tons. The average age of the vessels that entered the register was just four years, against 21 years which was the age of the outgoing ships.
The overall average age of the Greek-owned fleet in 2006 stands at 11.7 years, down from 11.9 years in 2005. Even smaller is the average age of the Greek-flagged fleet, which stands at 6.9 years, against 9.8 years that is the global average. This reflects the renewal trend of the Greek fleet.
The national naval workforce employed today at the Greek-flagged and Greek-owned ships exceeds 25,000.
Finally, ministry data shows that in August 2006 1,021 foreign shipping companies had offices or branches in Greece, down from 1,155 companies in August 2005. The staff employed in those companies came to 11,764 people, against 11,041 people last year. They consisted of 10,383 Greeks (from 9,753 Greeks last year) and 1,381 foreigners (up from 1,288 in 2005).
Greek-owned shipping companies have increased their presence in Piraeus, leading to a much-needed rise in foreign currency inflows and an increase in employment at high salaries.
Source: Kathimerini


Danaos' analysis of the international shipping industry
---Everything You Wanted To Know About Shipping And Were Afraid To Ask --- Evelyn Rubin submits: Danaos Corporation (DAC) filed for a NYSE IPO last week. As part of the prospectus they included an exceptionally thorough analysis of the international shipping industry. The full text is a must read for investors in Seaspan (SSW), General Maritime Carriers (GMR) and Tsakos Energy Navigation (TNP) among many others. Full text is available at: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1369241/000104746906011911/a2173189zf-1.htm#toc_dw5057_1
Source: http://transport.seekingalpha.com/article/17556, Posted on Sep 28th, 2006 with stocks: DAC, GMR, SSW, TNP


Clarification on USCG payment to Tsakos
Source: Fairplay Daily News, 29 Sep 2006


Watson Farley launches Greek practice and doubles energy
---Watson Farley & Williams has launched a Greek law practice with the appointment of Efstratios Paschalidis as a partner in its Piraeus office.
Highly rated Greek lawyer Paschalidis joined Watson Farley from Vgenopoulos & Partners, where he has been for 20 years. Paschalidis has experience of advising Greek banks in regard to shipping and corporate matters.
Watson Farley managing partner Michael Greville told The Lawyer: "We've been in Piraeus since 1984. Over that time we've seen that the Greek economy has developed. There have been more and more reasons to do Greek law work.
"What we'll be doing in Piraeus is supporting our English law ship finance practice. If you don't offer local law advice you're constrained in what you can do."
The appointment takes the number of partners in Watson Farley's Piraeus office to two.
In a separate move, Watson Farley has expanded its energy practice with the appointment of Michael Wachtel, who is joining the firm's London office as a partner. Wachtel was previously an of counsel at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Greville said: "What Mike brings is expertise in doing acquisitions and commercial work for oil companies."
Source: www.thelawyer.com, 25-Sep-2006


M2M Management launch shipping hedge fund
GMI is designed to provide an important investment opportunity to the established investment community. With the initial funding now in place M2M are confident of the ability to accommodate up to $200m of assets under management with this strategy.
The Fund will be managed by M2M from offices in London and Greece. These offices employ a dedicated team of specialist freight traders, ship financiers, analysts, risk managers and hedge fund professionals. The investment managers include Mr Steve Rodley (ex Panamax manager of BHP Billiton) and Mr Stuart Rae (ex Freight portfolio manager for Euro-Maritime Chartering Limited, a leading independent freight trading company), both of whom are highly experienced shipping professionals with solid reputations and excellent track records.
M2M Management Ltd is authorised and regulated by the FSA.
For further information please contact Paul Barbour, M2M Management Ltd +44 20 7936 9390 or Email : investors@m2mship.com or Website : www.m2mship.com
Source: http://www.hedgeco.net, September 25 2006


Aries Maritime Provides Update on the Bora
---ATHENS, Greece, September 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Aries Maritime Transport Limited [RAMS] today announced that it expects to complete repairs to the Bora, a 2000-built double-hull products tanker, before the end of the second week of October 2006 at a total cost of approximately $1.3 million. Following the completion of repairs, Aries plans to initially employ the vessel in the spot market prior to securing a period charter. The Company's previous time charter arrangement with FR8 PTE has been voided with no claim on either party as a result of passing the cancellation date under the charter terms. Mons S. Bolin, President and Chief Executive Officer commented, "We look forward to having the Bora return to service after the completion of works, which include dry-docking the vessel for repairs as well as upgrades to improve vessel performance and enhance the vessel's marketability. The products tanker sector remains firm and with the winter season approaching, we believe the best approach is to initially trade the Bora in the spot market while exploring various period charter opportunities that best serve our shareholders. All our remaining fleet, consisting of nine double-hulled products tankers and five container vessels, continue to operate on contracts with an average duration of approximately two years."
Aries also announced that the Company currently estimates between 140 to 145 off-hire days for the third quarter ending September 30, 2006, reducing revenue for the quarter by approximately $2.8 million, excluding the Bora. The majority of off-hire days are comprised of recent dry-docking time for periodic surveys. Vessels currently out of service include the Bora and the Force, a container ship expected to return to service by September 30, 2006.
Under the Company's management contracts with Magnus Carriers for 12 of Aries' vessel-owning subsidiaries, if actual operating expenses exceed the set budgeted amount, Magnus is responsible for 50% of the excesses. The costs related to the repairs for the Bora, as well as recent dry-docking for periodic surveys in the quarter, will be included in any such calculation of operating expenses excesses. Aries has already received approximately $5 million in the fiscal 2006 third quarter under its excess cost sharing agreement with Magnus by way of a one-time accelerated payment in respect of the Citius, now named the Arius.
Bolin concluded, "Our ability to expand the fleet by 47% on a deadweight tonnage basis in just over a year, combined with our strong existing charter coverage and profit-sharing arrangements, position us well for the future. We are determined to secure our vessels on long-term charters and provide our shareholders with a stable revenue stream and dividend payout over the long-term. At the same time, we are committed to improving our cost structure and our commercial performance over the long-term."
Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call
The Company announced that it will hold a conference call on November 7, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss earnings for the quarter ended September 30, 2006. To access the conference call, dial 800-500-0311 for domestic callers, or +1-719-457-2698 for international callers, and use the reservation number 4494804. Following the teleconference, a replay of the call may be accessed by dialing 888-203-1112 for domestic callers, or +1-719-457-0820 for international callers, and using the reservation number 4494804. The replay will be available from November 7, 2006 to November 21, 2006. The conference call will also be webcast live on the Company's website: www.ariesmaritime.com. A replay of the webcast will be available immediately following the call through November 21, 2006.
Company Contacts: Richard J.H. Coxall, Chief Financial Officer, Aries Maritime Transport Limited, +30-210-8983787; Leon Berman, Principal, The IGB Group, +1-212-477-8438
Source: www.ariesmaritime.com


DryShips Contracts to Buy New Ships
The company said it agreed to sell its 1995-built panamax bulk carrier for about $35 million, with delivery scheduled for the end of the year. The company will buy a larger panamax bulk carrier, built in 2000, for about $40.8 million for delivery in the fourth quarter. The newer ship has deadweight tonnage of 74,716 compared with the 71,747 deadweight tonnage for the older vessel.
In addition, DryShips arranged contracts to build two panamax dry bulk vessels at a China shipyard for roughly $33.3 million each. The ships are slated for delivery in the last quarter of 2009 and first quarter of 2010.
Panamax vessels have the maximum dimensions required to pass through the locks of the Panama Canal.
DryShips currently owns a fleet of 32 dry bulk carriers.
Shares of DryShips fell 19 cents to $13.53 in morning trading on the Nasdaq.
Source: Sept. 25, 2006, 9:28AM, http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/4212129.html, The Associated Press


Frangou deeper in Greek banking
---A special-purpose acquisition company chaired by Angeliki Frangou has acquired a minority stake in Piraeus Bank.
Angeliki Frangou is continuing her moves in the Greek banking sector through IRF European Finance Investment Ltd, the special investment vehicle she chairs that is listed on the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
IRF has now acquired a minority position in Piraeus Bank, one of Greece's fast-expanding commercial banks with a growing international presence.
IRF says it has acquired approximately 7.3 million shares on the open market, representing 2.8% of Piraeus Bank's outstanding shares as of 30 June. This includes a 2% position purchased by IRF in a block transaction on 21 September. IRF did not announce the cost of the purchase.
On 21 September, Piraeus Bank's share was priced at EUR 20.54 ($26.2), which would suggest a cost for the block of shares in the region of EUR 150m ($190.7m).
The acquisition was funded partly through IRF's cash balances and a credit facility arranged with an unnamed commercial bank.
"This acquisition is consistent with IRF's objectives of taking advantage of the consolidation within the Greek banking market," said Frangou.
IRF's current intention, the company says, is to retain the minority stake as an investment.
This is the second foray IRF has made into Greek banking. Frangou now chairs Athens Stock Exchange-listed Proton Bank after buying a 28% interest in June for EUR 120m-plus ($153.6m at the time). Since then, a merger between Proton Bank, Omega Bank and Proton securities has been announced, with it due to become effective this week.
IRF raised $275m when it listed on AIM in November and raised a further $420m through the issue of warrants, bringing the equity capacity of the company's investment programme to a total of $695m.
Piraeus Bank has a market capitalisation of some EUR 5.3bn and announced net first-half profits of EUR 260.6m (after minority interest).
The bank has a strategic alliance agreement in the Greek market with ING group, mainly focused on the bancassurance sector. In early 2005, Piraeus Bank group acquired Bulgarian Eurobank (renamed Piraeus Bank Bulgaria) and later in the year, entered the Serbian market, acquiring Atlas Bank (renamed Piraeus Bank Beograd), and into the Egyptian market, acquiring Egyptian Commercial Bank (Renamed Piraeus Bank Egypt).
The moves seem to follow IRF's plans. The company's stated intention is "to invest in the financial-services industry in Europe but with primary focus on institutions and insurance companies in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey".
Gillian Whittaker Athens, published: 29 September 2006
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Alagoskufis: NBG takeover of Finansbank heralds new era for Turkey and Greece
Greek Economy and Finance Minister Yorgo Alagoskufis heralded a new era of better cooperation and development between Greece and Turkey, as indicated by the completion of the handover of Finansbank shares to the National Bank of Greece (NBG).
The NBG bought a 46 percent stake in Turkey's Finansbank for 2.3 billion euros ($2.77 billion) in April this year.
In his statement, Arapoglu stressed Turkey's size, potential and modern banking system. He also welcomed the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency's (BDDK) recent tighter control over the countries banks, which he said had removed many problems form the Turkish banking system.
Source: Tuesday, September 26, 2006, http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr


New Poseidon Challenge Publication launched in Greece
---The Poseidon Challenge publication, launched this week in Athens with a media gathering on board the schooner Mania in the lee of Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon, is a summary of the expressions of support, enthusiasm and commitment of leading influential and authoritative figures of the maritime world, who met earlier this year in Singapore for the first Poseidon Challenge Day, to express their own ideas and add their individual stamp as we:
On board the schooner Mania (by courtesy of Capt. Panagiotis and Mr. Nikos Tsakos) to support and explain the Poseidon Challenge and answer questions from the media, were:
> Stephen Van Dyck, Chairman of the Poseidon Challenge (and Chairman of INTERTANKO); Emmanouel Vordonis, Vice Chairman of Poseidon Challenge (and > Executive Director of Thenamaris Ships Management);
> Nicky Pappadakis of AG Pappadakis & Co Ltd, Chairman of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA) and Chairman of INTERCARGO;
> Yiannis Andreopoulos, Technical Adviser to the Union of Greek Shipowners;
> Levent Ballar, General Manager of the Turkish Marine Environment Protection Association (TURMEPA);
> Representatives from the Ministry of Greek Mercantile Marine.
The Poseidon Challenge is a long-term part of the work programmes of all those who adopt what it stands for, as they aspire to achieve continuous improvement, and set (and achieve) new goals of excellence - includingstriving to achieve zero fatalities, zero pollution, zero detentions.
The Poseidon Challenge encourages people to work together, and to work effectively together with other sectors. Participants have in common the desire to make a difference in the way they, their company and their sector work, like ripples spreading from a drop of water. This includes the ambition of encouraging spiritual motivation.
- Stephen Van Dyck, Chairman Poseidon Challenge, Chairman INTERTANKO.
- Emmanouel Vordonis, Vice Chairman Poseidon Challenge, Executive Director, Thenamaris Ships Management Inc.
- Graham Westgarth, President, Teekay Marine Services, Teekay Shipping (Canada) Ltd.
Source: www.intertanko.com