Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 08 - 2007
---All sides are hoping that belated manning concessions will trigger a return of tonnage, writes Nigel Lowry in Athens - Monday 19 February 2007
HAVING waited well over a decade for even the slightest concession, it would have been churlish of Greek shipowners if they had not waxed enthusiastic at a softening of Greek flag manning requirements that has been quietly approved by the government.
Owners say the new rules will generally cut between two and four Greek jobs from the crew roster, with the largest vessels of more than 80,000 gt being obliged to use at least six Greeks and, when available, a cadet, while for ships of below 30,000 gt there should be four Greeks on board and one cadet.
With the exception of masters, who must be Greek, shipowners are free to decide whether the Greek or European contingent consists of officers, lower ranks or a combination of the two.
It is being suggested that the decision not to stipulate specific positions may prove a master stroke by the Ministry of Merchant Marine that helps to defuse anger among seafaring unions.
At the start of this year the Greek crew federation threatened to strike in protest but action no longer seems a foregone conclusion.
All sides are hoping that the belated concessions to owners triggers a return of tonnage to the Greek flag, which can at present only boast less than one-third of the vast 190m dwt Greek- controlled fleet.
Golden Union at present manages a fleet of 28 bulkers and says that for now it will be maintaining some vessels under other flags with which it has relations.
Political moves have sunk the private salvage industry
---Politicians determined to stay in power have played a leading role in creating the crisis now facing the salvage sector. Indeed, politicians came under heavy criticism from Greek shipowners over their treatment of shipping, seafarers, their approach to dealing with the environment and the impact they are having on the salvage industry.
Nicolas A Tsavliris, chairman of the Greek branch of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and ceo of the Tsavliris Salvage Group, spoke at a recent symposium on maritime salvage, of the eclipse of the private salvor. He said better telecommunications, and a change in attitude on the part of the insurance industry, which is "trying to find the cheapest solution to the problem" plus the advent of stateowned companies, especially from Eastern Europe, have been chipping away at the industry over the past 20 to 30 years. He said coastal states have created an infrastructure to "protect coastlines, not to save lives". He said politicians want "to prevent the political cost of sea pollution" and thus the "salvage industry has silently and methodically ended up in the sector of the public utilities".
"The situation is disappointing, and, I believe, irreversible," said Tsavliris. "Instead of giving private professional companies a reasonable fee so that they can survive they [politicians] have preferred to reduce the private sector and even tried to extinguish it."
Tsavliris said "fees are not as high as people believe them to be; certainly they have nothing to do with the levels of freights enjoyed by the shipping industry".
In answer to a question by shipowner, Antonis Mavrakakis, regarding the plight of the Prestige, Tsavliris said the International Salvage Union (ISU) and other shipping bodies pleaded with Spain to accept the tanker but to no avail, and, said Tsavliris, "the results show the Spanish government did not do the right thing". However, Tsavliris said, other officials, including those from the UK, said they may have followed the same course as Spain.Shipowner Nicky Pappadakis, chairman of Intermepa and Helmepa, recalled a discussion on ports of refuge which he was part of as a member of a Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) delegation meeting with a group of MPs from the European Union where the comment was made "not in my backyard, not where I'm getting my vote". Meanwhile, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will shortly launch a tender for "at-sea oil recovery services Atlantic, West Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea areas". This will be the third EMSA tendering round and is intended to "top-up" antipollution capabilities in Europe to "boost the capabilities of coastal states responding to a large spill." In December, EMSA contracted two bunker tankers to cover the Med area while O.W. Bunker has a pool of five bunker tankers for possible deployment in the Baltic.
The tender will be for 3-year renewable contracts for operators of commercial vessels that could be, in an emergency situation, "transformed rapidly into oil recovery vessels and to be made available for at-sea oil recovery activities during a major oil spill."
Vessels would be obliged to attend annual spill response exercises, for which EMSA will cover the cost, as well as be "obliged to respond positively to all requests for assistance to respond to an oil spill, regardless of the spill location", during the contract period.
The agency said that it would particularly like to encourage the "creativity" of the industry and wanted to "encourage companies/consortia to explore the possibilities of providing a comprehensive arrangement based around a 'pool' of pre-fitted vessels from which one or more could be mobilised when the agency receives a request for assistance from a member state."
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 23 February 2007 Vol. 8 / No. 7
ARBITRATION: Level of expertise in London is challenged
---Arbitration in Piraeus continues to gain momentum as pressure grows for the Greek shipping community to deal with disputes locally
The lack of shipbuilding and contracting expertise in London, the traditional place where Greek disputes are resolved, is being presented as a key issue in the campaign to establish arbitration in Piraeus.
London arbitrator Brian Williamson agrees with Kapaitzis, noting technical experts in London are mainly directed towards litigation rather than arbitration hearings.
However, Williamson says for a dispute to be heard in Piraeus, a Greek owner will first have to overcome the hurdle of getting a Far Eastern shipyard to agree to a hearing in Greece.
Nevertheless, support is growing for efforts to create a Piraeus-based arbitration mechanism. The Hellenic Shipbrokers Association (HSA) is among the more recent organisations to join the drive to market the idea.
The arbitration issue was highlighted at a seminar organised by the Greek branch of the Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (Wista) and attended by some 200 members of the Piraeus shipping community.
A panel of speakers, including HSA member Heleni Vogli and mediator Jenny Pournara-Vardavilia, along with two current members of the Piraeus Association of Maritime Arbitration
(Pama), lawyer Paul Avrameas and Kapaitzis. Vogli contends arbitration hearings in Piraeus have been long awaited by local chartering and S&P brokers, noting that for over 15 years the HSA has been resolving small disputes outside London arbitration through ad-hoc committees. She said these committees were the result of a market need for cost and timeeffective resolutions.
Avrameas says the legal framework now exists for arbitration in the Greek port. The rules have set a maximum of 18 months for cases to be heard, in stark contrast, he says, with London, where the process can take years. The lawyer, who is Pama president, said fees are to be capped at 10% of the dispute's monetary value so the cost is known from the outset. He also says Pama wants to begin with small cases and Piraeus has no ambition to challenge London but rather wants to offer local shipping another service.
The concerted drive to establish arbitration in Piraeus was launched in 2005 and though office space has been allocated a hearing has yet to be chaired.
A major revamping project in western Piraeus takes a step closer to realization
---Photo: Following the example of Lisbon, the area stretching from Keratsini to Drapetsona on the Piraeus coastline will be revamped for housing development along with the creation of a shipping business center, tourism installations, a sea entertainment park, cultural venues and spaces for a variety of commercial uses. The timetable provides for the full development of this ambitious project to be complete in at least 10 years.)
By Makis Theodoratos - Kathimerini
A significant step of progress for the revamping of the seaside area between Drapetsona and Keratsini, in western Piraeus, was the meeting last week between Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias and Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis, the local mayors and the owners of properties in the area.
The 640,000-square-meter area is owned by four companies: National Bank of Greece (NBG), the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), British Petroleum (BP) and AGET Heracles.
The whole area under study consists of four properties, along with some public spaces and utility installations covering 140,000 sq.m. Protypos, an NBG subsidiary, owns 296,390 sq.m., BP Hellas has 83,250 sq.m., Heracles owns 123,000 sq.m. and 80,000 sq.m. belongs to the state and are managed by OLP.
The final plans are not ready yet, but it is estimated that the buildings erected will cover 320,000 sq.m. while public spaces will reach 300,000 sq.m. including 88,000 sq.m. by the sea. Nevertheless, Drapetsona Municipality proposes that buildings should be reduced by 130,000 sq.m. The existing timetable provides for the rapid completion of talks between parties concerned for the final study to be tabled and the international tender to start in the next 12-18 months.
The study argues that buildings will eventually total 352,000 sq.m., distributed in the following uses: a shipping business center (70,000 sq.m.), a mild housing development covering 100,000 sq.m., professional uses of various forms and sizes, tourism installations, a sea entertainment park and cultural spaces.
More jobs await Pinoy seamen in Greece
More jobs await Filipino seamen in the Greek shipping industry with the opening of the first embassy of Greece in the Philippines.
Philippine Ambassador to Greece Rigoberto Tiglao said that Greek ship owners expect that further strengthening of ties between the two countries could result in the increase of the number of trained Filipino officers and seamen to fill up the huge demand for such specialized skills.
H. E. George-Chrysostomos Nicoiaidis, Ambassador-designate of the Hellenic Republic to the Philippines, arrived on 10 February 2007 in Manila to open Greece's first Embassy in the country.
Tiglao said that the move is significant since some 7,000 Filipino officers and staff man Greek ships, the biggest nationality group constituting the biggest merchant marine fleet in the world today.
He Said that there about 20,000 Filipinos in Greece, mainly in the capital Athens and in Greek luxury ships and yachts docked in the adjacent port city of Piraeus. Both are dominantly Christian countries, with many observers saying that Filipinos and Greeks are strikingly similar in their Christian, family-centered, and life-loving values.
Source: 02/20/2007 | 04:21 PM, http://www.gmanews.tv/story/31379/More-jobs-await-Pinoy-seamen-in-Greece
Greek CEOs in Invest in International Shipping Forum
---CEOs of Hellenic-based listed companies, to Participate (among others) in the Invest in International Shipping Forum. The Capital Link Forum Invest in International Shipping will take place on Friday, March 23, 2007 at the Metropolitan Club in New York City located at 1 East 60th Street -- corner of Fifth Avenue.
The objective of the Forum is to provide investors with a comprehensive review and outlook of the various shipping markets right after the companies' annual results. Also, to generate maximum publicity about shipping as an industry and the shipping companies to a wide audience of investors.
There will be four panels in total, on Containers, Gas (LNG/LPG), Tankers (Crude Oil and Products) and Dry Bulk with each panel lasting around one hour.
For the first time, each panel will include CEOs of listed shipping companies, charterers and shipbrokers. The panels will focus on industry trends rather than individual company characteristics as the objective is to present the point of view of key participants in each shipping sector. The Forum's attendees will have the opportunity to address their questions to each panel participant and to schedule one-on-one meetings with them.
The Forum is organized by Capital Link, a New York-based Investor Relations and Financial Communications Firm, which among other services, specializes in shipping. It is organized in cooperation with Fortis Bank, which is the main sponsor of the event, as well as with NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange.
The CEOs of Danaos Corporation, DryShips, Excel Maritime Carriers, Euroseas, MC Shipping, Omega Navigation, Quintana Maritime, TBS International, Tsakos Energy Navigation and other companies will participate in the Forum's panels, which will be moderated by Fortis analysts Dan Barrett and Gregory Lewis. Analysts from Jefferies, JPMorgan and Morgan Keegan will participate in several panels, along with Clarkson Hellas and Mallory, Jones, Lynch, Flynn and Associates (MJLF).
The Forum's target audience includes institutional investors and analysts; financial media; financial advisors and financial planners; registered representatives and brokers. The event will be open to the whole sell side brokerage community. (Source: Capital Link)
Blue STAR MARITIME S.A. - ANNUAL RESULTS 2006
As a result of the improvement in Company and Group results, the Board of Directors will propose to the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders the distribution of dividend of Euro 0.09 per share, increased by 28.5% compared to the dividend distributed in 2005 (Euro 0.07 per share). Total suggested dividend payable stands at Euro 9.45 mln.
In Euro thousand (except sailings)
Sailings: 4,139 in 2006, 4,745 in 2005, Change -12.8%
Revenue: 141,160 in 2006, 133,379 in 2005, Change +5.8%
Earnings before Taxes, Investing & Financial Results,
Depreciation & Amortization (EBITDA): 40,834 in 2006, 37,641 in 2005, Change +8.5%
Profit after Tax & Minority interests: 21,763 in 2006, 17,500 in 2005, Change +24.4%
Contributing to the growth in revenue was the marked improvement in load factors across the Cyclades and Dodecanese routes, where, despite 15.7% fewer sailings, volumes carried per sailing increased significantly in the freight traffic segment as well as in the passenger and private vehicle traffic segments. Contributing to the increase in revenue was also the increase in yield obtained per passenger and vehicle carried following the partial liberalization of the pricing policy in the Greek domestic market routes in May 2006.
Despite the increase in the price of fuel oil, the operational profitability for the Group improved considerably. Total fuel and lubricants expenses for the Group rose by 20.4% compared to 2005, despite the fewer sailings performed, and stood at Euro 33.13 mln in 2006 against Euro 27.51 mln in 2005. Factors contributing to the improved operational profitability (EBITDA) and the growth in the EBITDA margin from 28.1% to 28.9% compared to the previous year are:
The significant increase in Profit after Taxes and Minority Interests was due, in addition to the above, to the improvement in financial expenses, despite the increase in interest rates which took the place in the course of the year and the approximately Euro 1.3 mln profit booked from the sale of vessels Seajet 2, Patmos and Rodos. The net profit margin grew from 13.1% in 2005 to 15.4% in 2006.
Developments in the Sector
The most important developments in the sector in 2006 were:
Recent Developments for the Group
Also in December 2005, the Board of Directors decided to redeploy Blue Star 1 to the Scotland-Belgium route as of the end of January 2007. Based on the performance of the route, Blue Star Ferries Management expects that the redeployment of Blue Star 1, from the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Bari route to the Rosyth-Zeebrugge in the North Sea, will further enhance the financial results of the Group. Blue Star 1 commenced its service on the route on 29th January, 2007.
Outlook for the Group
The Group exceeded the targets set for the previous year as regards financial performance, market shares and overall presence in the Passenger Shipping sector.
The main factors guiding the development of the Group in the current year are the positive developments in the institutional framework governing the operation of the Greek domestic market due to the partial application of Regulation 3577/92 of the European Union which provides, among other matters, for the liberalization of fares, in tandem with the downward trend observed in the price of fuel oil in recent months, the full year operation of vessel Diagoras and the redeployment of vessel Blue Star 1 to the North Sea route, where operating margins are expected to be higher than those of its previous employment.
Golden Flame targets capes
A small Greek panamax player has its eye on bigger bulkers.
---Greek dry-bulk owner Golden Flame Shipping is planning a move into the capesize market after many years of being a pure panamax operator.
The company is said to be booking orders for up to four 180,000-dwt ships but boss Dimitris Samonas is not yet revealing further details.
Golden Flame is also said to be selling the oldest ship in its fleet, the 65,000-dwt Samjohn Captain (built 1985).
Samonas would neither confirm nor deny reports that the 22-year-old panamax bulker has gone to a Vietnamese buyer for $20m the same as what it cost to order a new panamax in 2001.
The price compares also favourably to the $14.5m reported for the one-year-older but larger, 71,000-dwt Miho Pracat (built 1984), which has just been dry docked.
The NKK-built Samjohn Captain was also reported sold in January 2004, then for $15m, but the deal did not materialise.
There have been no changes in Golden Flame's fleet for many years. It does not buy secondhand vessels so all five ships in the fleet have been with the company since they were ordered.
In addition to the Samjohn Captain , Golden Flame also has two panamaxes built at Hitachi Zosen in 1994 and two panamaxes built in 1998 at NKK. The Samjohn Captain and one of the other ships were earlier operated in the Torvald Klaveness-run Baumarine pool but no vessels from Golden Flame are currently listed in the Baumarine fleet.
Samonas says there were no specific negative reasons for the company's tonnage to leave the Baumarine pool but added: "We think we can make more money trading our own ships."
His son, John, who is based in London, handles Golden Flame's chartering.
"We still do a lot of business with Klaveness but the pool scenario is for someone with a big fleet," Samonas said.
By Gillian Whittaker and Trond Lillestolen, Athens and Oslo, published: 23 February 2007
Navios Maritime Celebrates Its Transfer From Nasdaq To NYSE
Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. joins NYSE-listed leaders in the shipping industry including: General Maritime Corporation (NYSE: GMR), Frontline Ltd. (NYSE: FRO), Danaos Corporation (NYSE: DAC) and Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited (NYSE: TNP).
"We welcome Navios Maritime Holdings to our family of NYSE-listed companies and look forward to providing the highest levels of service and visibility to the company and its shareholders," said NYSE Group, Inc. CEO John A. Thain. "We look forward to a productive, long-term relationship with the company."
About Navios Maritime Holdings Inc.
Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. is a large, global, vertically integrated seaborne shipping company transporting a wide range of drybulk commodities including iron ore, coal and grain. For over 50 years, Navios has worked with raw materials producers, agricultural traders and exporters, industrial end-users, ship owners, and charterers. Navios also owns and operates a port/storage facility in Uruguay and has in-house technical ship management expertise. Navios maintains offices in Piraeus, Greece, South Norwalk, Connecticut and Montevideo, Uruguay. -- www.nyse.com
Quintana Management joins ShipServ TradeNet
---Quintana Management, is one of the first Greek ship managers to join ShipServ TradeNet. In addition they are the first user of the Greek built Danaos ship management system to integrate to TradeNet, allowing users to work within their well-known interface.
The addition of Danaos brings the number of different marine purchasing systems which have an MTML integration (Marine Trading Mark-up Language) with ShipServ TradeNet, to 16. It will now be easy for any subsequent Danaos users to link with ShipServ's e-commerce platform.
Quintana Management manages today 28 large bulk carriers.
Source: ShipServ NewsFlash <ShipServ_NewsFlash@mail.vresp.com>