Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 02 - 2007
---Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday received new Piraeus Mayor Panayiotis Fassoulas at his office, with talks reportedly touching on the major port city's tight fiscal condition and its budget deficits.
Fassoulas, who was supported by main opposition PASOK, won the Piraeus mayoral race last October, beating out Christos Agrapidis, whom he succeeded.
Other subjects discussed included the issue of a handful of state government-owned building sites left uncompleted for decades.
Finally, asked by reporters over the government's intent to privatize the services sector at Piraeus' commercial container port, Fassoulas - a towering former basketball international - said any privatization should proceed very carefully.
Source: Athens News Agency, 11 January 2007
Gov't foresees return to Greek ship register
---Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said on Wednesday that he expected tens of vessels to join the Greek shipping register for the first time, accompanied by a return of ships that previously left the flag.
"I am very optimistic due to the package of measures to boost competitiveness that the government took for elasticity in crew composition and subsidies for social insurance contributions, to which will Greek shipowners will respond favorably," the minister told the Shipping Chamber of Greece.
In addition, the government had set a priority on growth for the country's ports, and backing ventures between the public and private sectors.
Minister stays the course in dispute with dockers
Staggering investment in new tonnage... and it's rising
---Greek ship owners committed a staggering $16.65bn to newbuilding projects in 2006. According to data compiled by Piraeus-based shipbrokers George Moundreas & Co, the ordering spree involved 322 ships of 27.5m dwt, underlining a determination by Greeks not only to renew their fleets but also to show optimism in the future of the freight market, especially for the dry bulk trades.
As more orders continue to surface, the final investment is certain to be considerably larger and a massive leap on the $3.7bn invested in 2005 and the $4.9bn in 2004, especially considering no high cost passenger ships have been ordered. The previous record was set in 2003, when the Greek community signed orders for 202 vessels costing $6.9bn, the world seabourne trade exploded and freights and hires went through the ceiling.
According to Moundreas at the dawn of 2007, the Greek orderbook stood at 542 ships of 39.5m dwt.
Among reasons cited by Moundreas for the boom in ordering are the comparatively low newbuilding prices as shipowners realise existing tonnage is not sufficient to meet growing demand and secure high earnings. Further, secondhand ship values continue to rise encouraging shipowners to turn to the shipyards especially with the improved cash flow position though the price of steel, machinery and equipment are starting to create some uncertainty.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 12 January 2007 Vol. 8 / No. 1
Dry tonnage comes top of the league in 2006 statistics
SALE and purchase brokers get Christmas and the New Year off just like everyone else.
So the first S&P round-up of 2007 will be slightly shorter than usual, thanks to the relatively sparse volume of deals that are done over the festive season.
But this does give us the opportunity to look at the full statistics for the year by courtesy of figures provided by Allied Shipbroking.
According to the Greek shop a total of 807 dry vessels were sold in 2006, aggregating 37.3m dwt at a combined price tag of $13.94bn.
On the tanker side 482 ships worth $14.06bn changed hands, representing an aggregate deadweight tonnage of 32.4m dwt.
Greeks dominated the market, buying 179 dry and 96 wet units and spending $5.12bn and $3.38bn on each category respectively.
Let us consider such deals as were reached over the holidays, starting with bulk carriers.
Quintana has purchased Cape Veni (174,000 dwt, built 2007) at $92m on terms that include a five-year timecharter to BHP at $40,000 a day.
South Koreans paid $50m for Montego 2 , which is 149,391 dwt and was built in 1993, while Greek interests moved for Darya Geeth (73,119 dwt, built 1995) at $37m. DryShips secured the 1998 panamax Sea Epoch , of 72,495 dwt, for $38m.
Elsewhere, undisclosed buyers picked up Golden Nova (23,709 dwt, built 1996) at $21.5m.
General cargoship transactions include Maria A (9,000 dwt, built 1982), which went to Greek buyers at $856,000 at auction, and Meltemi (12,010 dwt, built 1977), sold again to Greek interests at just under $3m. Greek outfit Technomar is understood to have agreed an en bloc deal for four early 1980s boxship sisters at an undisclosed price on terms that include a five-year timecharter back at undisclosed rates.
Making up the package are Ever Giant , Ever Grade , Ever Guard and Ever Guide , all 2,728 teu and 1983 or 1984 built. There was also an en bloc reefer deal that saw Silver Sea of Norway acquire Cape Finisterre (6,807 dwt, built 1990) and Cape Palmas (6,830 dwt, built 1991) for $8m the pair.
On the tanker side Fearnleys gives Koenig as the purchased of Zemgale (68,400 dwt, built 2001) and Latgale (68,500 dwt, built 2001). It gives a price of $51m for each vessel. Avantis paid $22m for Panam Linda , which is 10,300 dwt and of 1998 year of build.
Other tanker sales include Montauk (5,789 dwt, built 1999), which has gone to Ocean Tankers of Cyprus at $10.8m, and Eastern Grace (3,600 dwt, built 2006), which fetched $12m from Far Eastern interests.
Piraeus band in fresh P&I effort
---A group of small Greek owners are reviving the push for a local club.
Moves to establish a Greek protection-and-indemnity (P&I) club have been resurrected in Piraeus with over 200 small Greek owners banding together.
They are joining forces to form the Hellenic Mutual P&I Association. No names have yet emerged but a group of initiating parties is being fronted by Piraeus insurance broker Nick Velliades.
Velliades says law firm Ince & Co has drawn up the club rules, along with a constitution and articles of association, which are the culmination of a two-year effort. Two London companies have also been earmarked for the management of the club, adds Velliades, to ensure neutrality towards its members.
The club has yet to be chartered as a legal entity in Piraeus. Its launch largely depends on overcoming a glitch in the Greek legal system.
According to Velliades, Greek law does not accommodate the formation of a maritime P&I legal entity. Such institutions, he adds, currently exist for Greece's bus-transport and agricultural sectors. However, this problem should be overcome with a bill now pending in the Greek parliament.
Velliades says the Greek shipping ministry and the initiating group have worked closely to draw up an approved legal document providing the necessary legal framework. He adds this process has circumvented years of delays in the Greek bureaucratic system. All that is needed is for the minister to push it through parliament, which he promised to do during the summer.
Velliades says this should not take so long and gives the first quarter of this year as the time frame.
He adds that the club's initiators have decided not to create an offshore legal entity registered outside the European Union as is the case with other P&I clubs active in Europe. The Greek legality clause has been decided in order to avoid other complications associated with foreign-company representation clauses.
The Greek P&I cause has been a long-standing one among the natives of Piraeus, who have seen a number of efforts result in quiet death during the past decades.
Some observers of the local insurance scene are in favour of the idea but others cast doubt on the practicalities of such a venture.
On the one hand, Piraeus has both the quantity of ships and enough local expertise to support such an organisation. If set up properly, some say it will work successfully.
However, one insurance broker says that unless some of Greece's bigger owners join the effort, this one will also fade away. Others point to the negative possibility of not being accepted by the International Group cartel of P&I clubs.
Velliades says the club is targeting small owners as a first step. Companies with two to five-ship fleets he adds, do not carry the clout or the contacts that bigger clubs have. Domestic owners with large fleets will only consider the Greek P&I alternative once they see one working, he says.
Yiota Gousas Athens, published: 12 January 2007
Sector Snap: Greek companies trade ahead
---NEW YORK Shares of Greek companies trading on the New York Stock Exchange moved higher Friday, despite fears of heightened terrorist activity in the country after a rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy in Athens.
Shares of Danaos Corp., which owns and operates ships that carry dry cargo, advanced 34 cents to $24.17. Shares of Diana Shipping Inc., which also ships dry cargo, added 25 cents to $16.72. Shares of Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA, a telecommunications provider, gained 16 cents to $15.75, while Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company S.A., which produces and distributes Coca-Cola products across Europe, rose 16 cents to $39.19.
On Friday morning, a rocket struck the U.S. Embassy, exploding inside the building but causing no injuries. U.S. Ambassador Charles Ries told reporters outside the embassy that damage from the small anti-tank missile was minimal, but added, "We're treating it as a very serious attack."
Terrorists also hit the embassy 10 years ago, causing minor damage and no injuries.
Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras called it a symbolic act by a domestic group attempting to disrupt the country's international relations. His comments raised fears of resurgent violence by far-left Greek militants. In May 2006 militants attacked Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis without causing injury.
Commenting on the development in a regular morning note to clients, Merrill Lynch analyst David A. Rosenberg said it would take more than an event like the rocket attack to upset investor confidence in investing abroad.
Elsewhere on the NYSE, shares of shipping companies Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. added 31 cents to $44.31 and Excel Maritime Carries rose 2 cents to $14.95. Shares of Aegean Marine Petrol Network Inc. bucked the trend by retreating 20 cents to $15.40.
Euroseas charts move to Nasdaq in $35 mln stock offering
---NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Greek shipping firm Euroseas Ltd. said Wednesday in a filing with regulators it'll float a 5 million share stock offering as it charts a move to the Nasdaq under the proposed symbol ESEA. The company had been trading on the OTC bulletin board. Based on its closing price of $7 a share on Tuesday, the Euroseas offering will raise about $35 million. The company plans to use the proceeds to pay back $7 million in debt and to buy additional vessels.
Source: http://www.marketwatch.com, By Steve Gelsi, Last Update: 8:21 AM ET Jan 10, 2007
FreeSeas Inc. Under New Structure and Leadership
---PIRAEUS, GREECE--(MARKET WIRE)--Jan 8, 2007 -- FreeSeas Inc. (NASDAQ:FREE - News) (NASDAQ:FREEW - News) and (NASDAQ:FREEZ - News), a provider of seaborne transportation for dry bulk cargoes, announced today the closing of the previously announced transaction pursuant to which an entity owned by Mr. Ion Varouxakis acquired an aggregate of 2,812,500 shares of FreeSeas from affiliates of two former principals of FreeSeas and Mr. Ion Varouxakis assumed management control. Simultaneously, Mr. Varouxakis sold and transferred 70,600 shares to family members and 2,108,782 shares to FS Holdings Limited, an entity controlled by members of the Restis family. Mr. Varouxakis agreed to sell 305,921 shares to an institutional investor. As a result of these transactions, Mr. Varouxakis together with his family and FS Holding Limited will each own approximately 33% of the issued and outstanding common stock of FreeSeas.
Immediately following the closing, the Board of Directors met, and appointed Mr. Ion Varouxakis Chairman of the Board, President and interim Chief Financial Officer and elected two new directors to fill the vacancies created by the transaction. The two new directors are Mr. Kostas Koutsoubelis who is the Group Financial Director of the Restis interests and Mr. Dimitrios Panagiotopoulos who is Head of Shipping and Corporate Banking of Proton Bank. The Board of Directors now consists of Messrs. Ion Varouxakis, Kostas Koutsoubelis, Focko Nauta, Matthew McCleery, and Dimitrios Panagiotopoulos. The size of the Board of Directors was also reduced from seven members to five members.
Mr. Varouxakis stated: "I believe that today's changes will streamline and strengthen FreeSeas' management and its ability to formulate and execute an optimal growth strategy for our company. Furthermore, the addition of Messrs. Koutsoubelis and Panagiotopoulos to the Board will add significant depth as they bring a broad range of business and financial experience to FreeSeas.
"We are pleased to have the Restis family, through an affiliate, as a 33% shareholder of FreeSeas given their prominent position and leadership in international shipping. Their interests include ownership and operation of a substantial number of vessels along several segments of the shipping industry as well as cargo and chartering interests.
"FreeSeas' management is presently exploring ways to enhance commercially the operations of our fleet using the resources of Safbulk, an entity controlled by the Restis family. FreeSeas is currently enjoying the industry's robust start to the New Year.
"The M/V 'Free Fighter' was delivered to the new charterers last week, upon completion of her scheduled Special Survey and upgrading, at a gross daily rate of US $23,500 until the beginning of February; the M/V 'Free Destiny' is chartered at a gross rate of US $13,000 until the beginning of February, and the M/V 'Free Envoy' is chartered at a gross rate of US$16,000 until March/April.
"Our next objective is to acquire additional tonnage to significantly expand our operation in a company transforming exercise."
About FreeSeas Inc.
FreeSeas Inc. is a Marshall Islands corporation with principal offices in Piraeus, Greece. FreeSeas is engaged in the transportation of dry bulk cargoes through the ownership and operation of dry-bulk vessels. Currently, it has a fleet of three Handy-size vessels. FreeSeas' common stock and warrants trade on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbols FREE, FREEW and FREEZ, respectively. Risks and uncertainties are described in reports filed by FreeSeas Inc. with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which can be obtained free of charge on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. For more information about FreeSeas Inc. please go to our corporate website www.freeseas.gr.
Source: Press Release, Monday January 8, 9:10 am ET
TEN Ltd Announces Delivery and Immediate Charter of the 1A Ice-Class Suezmax Tanker Arctic
First of Eleven Vessels to Be Delivered to TEN in 2007
ATHENS, Greece, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. ("TEN") (NYSE: TNP) today announced the delivery of the 1A ice-class 162,400 dwt Suezmax tanker Arctic from South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries. The introduction of the Arctic raises the company's Suezmaxes to nine of which five are of ice-class design. With the Arctic, the fleet's total ice-class capacity in the water now stands at 18 vessels.
Upon delivery, the Arctic will enter a forty-day repositioning charter with a major end-user at an attractive rate.
"The beginning of the year finds us in the pleasant position to take delivery of another state-of-the-art vessel, the first of eleven we expect this year," stated Mr. Nikolas P. Tsakos, Chief Executive Officer of TEN.
"The commencement of this latest round of deliveries will not only grow our fleet in absolute numbers and deadweight tons, but will further augment the fleet's versatility and reach, aspects we are confident will make our vessels even more attractive to major charterers worldwide," Mr. Tsakos concluded.
ABOUT TSAKOS ENERGY NAVIGATION
TEN's proforma fleet consists of 51 vessels of 5.4 million dwt. Today, TEN operates a fleet of 37 vessels. Additionally, its newbuilding program has 14 vessels including six Aframax crude carriers, one Suezmax, two Panamax tankers, four Handysize product carriers, and one LNG representing 1.2 million dwt.
The strategy of a balanced diverse fleet is reflected in 26 crude transporters ranging from VLCCs to Aframaxes and 24 product carriers ranging from Handysize to Aframaxes; complemented by one LNG.
Source: Press Release
Piraeus Marine Club seminars - January 2007
Annual International P&I Conference, 25 January 2007. Chaire by Lou Kollakis of Chartworld Shipping Corp . Main focus: Passenger limitation to $2bn; Club retentions; Solvency; Financial analysis and IG club comparisons; and Why do clubs quote uneconomical rates for newbuildings and new business?
An attendance fee of E65 a person includes lunch. For further information: Ketty Vienna, the Piraeus Marine Club, Tel: 210 4293 606 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Limitation of Liability, 26 January 2007. Presented by University of Wales professor Richard Williams, former partner with Ince & Co. Event will be followed by a buffet lunch at 14:00 hours. Cost E50. For further information: Ketty Vienna, the Piraeus Marine Club, Tel: 210 4293 606 E-mail: email@example.com
Source: Email Announcement