Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 14 - 2007

 

Proceedings against Sea Diamond captain

---A prosecutor on the Aegean island of Naxos on Saturday launched legal proceedings against the captain of the ill-fated Greek cruise ship Sea Diamond, that sank off the island of Santorini at dawn on Friday after striking a reef on the previous afternoon. Prosecution concerns causing a shipwreck through negligence, causing pollution to the sea through negligence and failing to apply international regulations on avoiding collisions.
The prosecutor will also refer the captain to an investigator as a result of the two French nationals who have been reported missing, a 45-year-old man and his 16-year-old daughter.
All the remaining senior officers of the ship who had been brought before the prosecutor have been released.
The 20-year old cruise ship, run by Louis Hellenic Cruise Lines, sank at the sea area of "Old Mines" of Athenios, Santorini's harbour, after water flooded its engine room and decks 2 and 3 during the night.
The rest of the passengers (1,170), mostly Americans and Germans, and 390 crew of the ship were successfully evacuated within a few hours after the ship run aground. The "Aegean 2" ship arrived in the port of Piraeus on Friday morning transporting 296 passengers and 38 member of the crew. Louis Hellenic Cruises sent sent another cruise ship "Perla" to Santorini to transport the remaining passengers.
The sinking of the vessel caused an oil spill of a radius of 100 metres.
Sea Diamond was launched in April 2006, operating on a seven-day sea cruise from Piraeus to the Aegean islands.
KKE calls for in-depth investigation
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Saturday called for an in-depth investigation of the sinking of the cruise ship.
"The investigation into the causes of the shipwreck of the Sea Diamond must proceed in depth and this is the responsibility of the government," KKE said in an announcement.
It further said that "the government has been exposed with its jubilating in the case of the Sea Diamond," adding that "responsibilities cannot be concealed because more people were not lost."
Source: http://www.ana.gr, 8 April 2007


Greeks lead renewal of the world's merchant fleet
---Having launched a massive fleet renewal programme, Greek shipowners are on course to contract almost 500 ships in 2007 for an investment of $26bn. While analysts are divided as to whether Greek interests will maintain the present pace of contracting, there is no doubt Greek shipping has taken a leading role in the renewal of the world fleet.
"Looking at those placing the orders it seems unlikely asset play is a key motive. Most of these owners will take the ships and trade them. Those that do not are, in any case, bringing new tonnage into the marketplace, a renewal process in itself," said Alexandros Hatzis, of newbuilding contractor George Moundreas & Co.
George Banos, senior consultant at Moundreas, believes the ordering will continue at least into the third and fourth quarters and "we will see an 60% increase this year on orders placed in 2006", itself a record year for Greek ordering.
According to Moundreas, and data kept by Newsfront, Greek owners placed contracts for over 130 ships worth almost $7bn in the first three months of this year. As reported in Newsfront last week, the 2007 activity has focused on dry cargo ships, with newbuilding projects for bulk carriers worth $2bn inked in just a few days. Leading from the front, Greece's largest shipowner, John Angelicoussis, reportedly firmed up orders for 12 capesize bulk carriers in shipyards in South Korea and Romania.
The role of Greeks in the fleet renewal process is evident when we look at the level of ordering overall in 2007. It is running below 2006 levels. However, broker Clarkson says the availability of shipbuilding berths is becoming less. The London broker says 2010 capacity at state-owned yards in China is becoming committed. "Early opportunities [are] limited to the private yards, which are often less experienced and require a cautious approach," Clarkson said. Some major Korean yards are now claiming that over 75% of 2010 capacity is committed, says Clarkson, adding it does not see any imminent downward pressure on pricing.
Source: Issue nr. 13 (6 April 2007) of Newsfront Greek Shipping Intelligence newsletter.


Shipping currency inflows top 14 bln
Shipping experts estimate that in 2007 currency imports will increase further, owing to the measures for the strengthening of the competitiveness of the Greek flag, taken recently by the Merchant Marine Ministry.
In January 2007, currency imports from shipping came to 1,216.7 million euros, from 1,154.3 million euros in January 2006, recording an annual rise of 62.4 million euros.
According to Bank of Greece data, the foreign currency imported by shipping over the whole of 2006 came to 14,324.7 million euros, against 13,871.4 million euros in 2005, an increase of 453.3 million euros or 3.2 percent year-on-year. The year before, the annual increase had come to 564.4 million euros, or 4.2 percent, compared with 2004.
The steady rising course of shipping currency inflows, according to data by the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping (NEE), began in 2000, when $7,914.2 million (5,950.5 million euros) came into the country. The following year, currency imports from shipping came to $8,165.7 million (6,139.6 million euros), in 2002 it reached $11,127.3 million (8,366.4 million euros) and in 2003 it rose to $12,493.4 million (9,393.5 million euros).
Bank of Greece data show that in August 2006 foreign currency inflows from shipping reached 1,304.6 million euros, from 1,212 million euros in August 2005.
Source: By Nikos Bardounias - Kathimerini


Oceanaut, Inc. Announces Separate Trading of Common Stock and Warrants
---ATHENS, GREECE -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 04, 2007 -- Oceanaut Inc., (AMEX: OKN.U) (the "Company") today announced that it has been notified by Citigroup Global Markets Inc., the sole book-running manager for its initial public offering which was consummated on March 1, 2007, that, commencing today, the holders of the Company's units may separately trade the common stock and warrants included in such units. The symbols for the common stock, warrants and units are OKN, OKN.WS and OKN.U, respectively.
About Oceanaut, Inc.
Oceanaut, Inc. (AMEX: OKN.U) is a blank check company formed for the purpose of acquiring, through a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase or other similar business combination, vessels or one or more operating businesses in the shipping industry.
Company: Oceanaut, Inc. Christopher Georgakis,
President & Chief Executive Officer, 17th Km National Road Athens-Lamia & Finikos Street145 64 Nea Kifisia, Athens, Greece, Tel: 011-30-210-62-09-520, Fax: 011-30-210-62-09-528, E-Mail: info@oceanautinc.com, www.oceanautinc.com
Source: www.oceanautinc.com


STEALTHGAS INC. Announces Agreement to Acquire Four LPG Carriers
---STEALTHGAS INC. Announces Agreement to Acquire Four LPG Carriers and Time Charter Extensions for Six Existing Vessels
ATHENS, GREECE -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 03, 2007 -- STEALTHGAS INC. (NASDAQ: GASS), a ship-owning company serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry, announced today that it has entered into agreements to acquire three second-hand and one new building LPG carriers for an aggregate purchase price of $51 million. Upon completion of these acquisitions and the delivery of a previously announced new building, the "Gas Haralambos," STEALTHGAS fleet will consist of 34 vessels in total with a carrying capacity of 150,769 cbm.
The "Gas Icon" is a 1994 built, 5,000 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") LPG carrier. Upon its expected delivery to STEALTHGAS in July 2007, it will be deployed under a 12-month time charter to an oil major.
The "Gas Sikousis" is a 2006 built, 3,500 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") LPG carrier. Upon its expected delivery to STEALTHGAS in July 2007, it will be deployed under a time charter for 22 months to an oil major. The charter for this vessel also includes, at the charterer's option, two one-year extensions, the first to be negotiated in May 2009 upon the expiration of the initial term of the charter.
The "Gas Kalogeros" is a 5,000 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") new building LPG carrier, delivered ex-yard to her original owners in March 2007 and expected to be delivered to STEALTHGAS around July 2007. The vessel will be delivered with a ten-month time charter to an oil major.
The "Gas Sophie" is a 1995 built 3,500 cbm, Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") LPG carrier and is expected to be delivered to STEALTHGAS around October 2007.
The "Gas Kalogeros" and the "Gas Sikousis" will be purchased from affiliated parties whereas the "Gas Icon" and the "Gas Sophie" will be purchased from non-affiliated parties.
New Time Charter Agreements:
STEALTHGAS INC. also announced that it has extended its time charters for 6 vessels, the "Gas Zael," the "Gas Nemesis," the "Gas Spirit," the "Gas Sincerity," the "Gas Legacy" and the "Gas Shanghai" each to an oil major as described below.
The "Gas Zael" has extended its time charter for an additional 12 months which commenced in March 2007 to an oil major.
Both the "Gas Nemesis" and the "Gas Spirit" have extended their time charters for 12 months, commencing from June 2007 to an oil major.
The "Gas Legacy" and the "Gas Sincerity" have extended their time charters for 12 months, commencing in April and July 2007, respectively, each to an oil major.
"The Gas Shanghai" has extended its time charter for 12 months commencing in September 2007 to an oil major.
The aggregate revenue per calendar month for the above six time charters is $1,413,250. In addition, the aggregate revenue per calendar month of the time charters for three of the new LPG carriers that STEALTHGAS has agreed to acquire is $713,250 per calendar month.
CEO Harry Vafias commented, "We are very pleased to announce both the new acquisitions to our fleet later in this year along with the previously announced 'Gas Haralambos.' With these acquisitions, we will bring our fleet to 34 ships in total, thus giving us approximately 13% market share of the handysize LPG sector of 3,000 to 8,000 cbm vessels while lowering the average age of our fleet to 10.3 years against the industry average of 17 years. We have also continued our policy of having the majority of our fleet on period employment and are pleased to announce the extensions of six charters plus three out of the four new vessels we are acquiring already have fixed employment arranged for them. As of today, we have 96% period coverage on our fleet and in excess of 85% of our fleet days for 2007 are now covered by fixed employment."
Updated Fleet Profile and Fleet Deployment, available at:
About STEALTHGAS INC.
Headquartered in Athens, Greece, STEALTHGAS INC. is a ship-owning company serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry. STEALTHGAS INC. currently has a fleet of 29 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 126,769 cubic meters (cbm). In addition, the company has agreed to acquire two new building LPG carriers expected to be delivered to STEALTHGAS INC. in July and October 2007 respectively. It has also entered into agreements to acquire three additional LPG carriers with expected delivery between July and October 2007. Once these acquisitions are complete, STEALTHGAS INC.'s fleet will be composed of 34 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 150,769 cubic meters (cbm). STEALTHGAS' shares are listed on NASDAQ and trade under the symbol "GASS."
Visit our website at www.stealthgas.com
Source: 04-04-2007 - http://www.stealthgas.com


Transmed plans Hanjin dry series
---Transmed Shipping's appetite for newbuildings continues unabated.
The Greek bulker operator has signed a letter of intent for a series of capesizes bulkers at Hanjin Heavy Industries.
A Hanjin official confirms Transmed is planning to order four 175,000-dwt newbuildings with delivery from the second quarter of 2010 to the end of that year.
"A letter of intent for the four newbuildings has been signed but it does not mean that the order has been firmed up," said a Hanjin official. "We are still discussing the price of the newbuildings with the owner."
Hanjin says that if the deal is firmed up, it will be constructing the bulkers at its new Subic Bay facility in the Philippines.
The order would also mark the entry of Hanjin into the capesize-bulker sector.
Hanjin did not disclose the price for the four vessels but newbuilding brokers say the South Korean shipbuilder is targeting close to $81m per ship as the vessels will be built to the new enhanced coating rules known as the performance standards for protective coatings (PSPC).
Transmed is an active player on the newbuilding front. In November, it was reported to have booked a further eight 175,000-dwt capesize bulkers at Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industries in China for delivery in 2010 at $63m per ship, bringing its total order at the yard to 16 units.
However, a Bohai official denies the order. It said: "Transmed has placed a total of 10 capesize units at our yard since its first order in 2003."
Transmed was also reported to have made close to $200m in total profits on the sale of seven of the Bohai-built capesize bulkers.
London broker Clarkson lists the company as having three more units on order at the Chinese yard.
Meanwhile, Hanjin says it did not contract any capesize bulkers from Transman Shipping of Greece. Hanjin says the industry must have confused Transmed with Transman.
Irene Ang Singapore published: 05 April 2007
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Greeks reject Barrot's IMO stance
Source: www.fairplay.co.uk, Daily News 02 Apr 2007


Hellenic Shipping News interviews CEO of Go Carriers
The new management headed by Mr. Tartsinis took control of Go Carriers last year, through Antares Shipmanagement and after resolving a possible battle with an affiliated company of the Fidakis Group, also after Go Carriers. Since then, they have implemented a restructuring programme, which not only returned the company into profitability, but also is on track to almost doubling its gross revenues during 2007.
How did you gain control of Go Carriers?
If, hypothetically, you had the chance to move the company in the New York Stock Exchange overnight, would you go ahead?
Could you highlight a couple of routes that are considered very profitable today?
Well, at the current high market conditions, all routes are traded with high prices. But, capesize routes are a bit higher than the rest of the market, with an example being the route Barau-China. Another example is the panamax route for grains from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe.
Does this quantity and sophistication of ship types and sizes make things more difficult for a ship owner, in order to make the right investment choices?
Kamsarmaxes are mainly used for loadings from the port of Kamsar in New Guinea of West Africa, which has the necessary drought to accommodate such sizes. But now, an even newer type is arising, the post-panamaxes, whose width will be larger than 32 meters and they shall have a dwt of about 90,000. Their appearance has to do with the expansion of the Panama Canal.
Do you believe that at present Go Carriers has the strength to fend off potential hostile bids (especially with the recent return to profitability), or would you say that the management is always open in new investment opportunities and strategic partnerships?
The company announced a rather attractive and aggressive dividend policy by distributing 50% of net income. Do you believe that this move will help bring new shareholders?
Source: 04-04-2007 - (Nikos Skenderoglou, Hellenic Shipping News)