Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 27 - 2007

 

Athens closes in on cargo hub status

---Progress towards gaining cargo hub status for Athens Airport has been boosted by another series of sea-air shipments arriving at the port of Piraeus for onward distribution to the US.
The recent shipment from Jordan, of four FEUs with some 215 cubic metres of garments, arrived at Piraeus from Haifa within 48 hours on Tuesday evening. The goods were unloaded, Customs cleared and trucked to the airport on Wednesday morning and were then flown out to Toronto with Olympic Airways, to Atlanta and New York with Delta and British Airways to Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Lefteris Kaltsas, president of Greek Air Cargo which managed the shipment, feels pleased that the process is working so well.
Dionysia Triantafyllou manages the Piraeus container Terminal where the fast turn around of the incoming containers is achieved.
The Cargo community at Athens International airport is working closely as a unit as could be seen at the recent Air Cargo Europe event in Munich. On this occasion, more than a dozen representatives from the handlers, airlines, forwarders as well as the Piraeus seaport authority exhibited under the umbrella of the airport cargo team headed by Alexis Sioris.
Source: Cargonews Asia, Hong Kong - Jul 5, 2007, http://www.cargonewsasia.com/secured/article.aspx?id=15&article=13452


Greeks commit $24BN to fleet renewal
---Greek interests committed $16.7bn to ship newbuilding projects in the first six months of the year. In all, 307 ships were ordered, a staggering 12 ships and an investment of $642m a week.
During the first 26 weeks of 2007, Greeks invested over $7.3bn on some 228 ships in the secondhand market.
In comparison, in the January/June period in 2006, some 118 new ships were contracted for an investment of $6.6bn. It's interesting to note that an average $54.397m was invested per ship in 2007 compared to the $55.9m invested on average in each ship in 2006, reflecting perhaps that in 2007 bulk carriers dominate the ordering whereas in 2006 energy ships were being ordered.
Moundreas says that "despite the uncertainty of the freight market up ahead", $1.193bn was committed to 25 energy carrying ships in June, indicating Greek owners, at least, "believe in the market's future" though the broker notes most of the investment was made in product and chemical tankers. Six LPG carriers were ordered, worth $344m.
The investment in dry bulk ships seems, says Moundreas, to point to owners believing the present boom in freights will continue "despite the looming inbalance between supply and demand".
The Piraeus-based broker maintains its belief that secondhand ships are expensive though they are immediately available, and says "newbuilding still represent the cheapest solution".
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 6 July 2007 Vol. 8 / No. 26


Greek island pollution from sunken cruise ship is negligible, says company
---Pollution around the shores of the Greek island of Santorini in April from a cruise ship that sank there is "nearly minimal," the ship's owners said on Wednesday.
A study conducted by the state Hellenic Centre for Marine Research based on water samples taken shortly after the shipwreck showed that "the effects on the area's marine environment are nearly minimal," Cyprus-based Louis Hellenic Cruises said in a statement.
The study was commissioned by Louis Hellenic Cruises, which has been accused by Santorini authorities of polluting the island just ahead of the busy tourist season that draws thousands of visitors every year.
The Greek government has imposed a 1.174 million euro ($A1.863 million) fine on Cyprus's largest tourism and leisure firm, saying "large sections" of the coast near the site were stricken with pollutants and that rare marine species are at risk.
The 143-metre (472-foot) Sea Diamond sank to a depth of 140 metres (450 feet) after hitting a charted reef on April 5.
The port authority of Santorini has levelled a separate fine of 9-17,000 euros per day, totalling over 560,000 euros ($A889,000) so far.
The company counters that the fine is "entirely unfair and unfounded" and will contest it, arguing that it had already spent more than over four million euros on cleanup operations and another 4.3 million to create a fund for plaintiffs of the shipwreck.
The Sea Diamond originally had 500 tonnes of fuel on board and more than two thirds have since been collected from the surface according to the merchant marine ministry.
The ministry insists that the situation is "under complete control" but has itself come under criticism for failing to quickly organise a fuel removal operation.
Louis last month said that pumping out oil remaining in the wreck would be "extremely dangerous" given the depth and condition of the ship and that salvaging the cruiser is also viewed as a non-starter.
Some 1600 passengers and crew were safely evacuated but two French tourists -- a 45-year-old man and his 16-year-old daughter -- disappeared and are presumed dead.
The Sea Diamond's captain and five officers have been charged with negligence, breaching international shipping safety regulations and polluting the environment.
Source: July 5, 2007 - 11:27AM http://www.theage.com.au/news/news/pollution-row-over-sunken-cruise-ship/2007/07/05/1183351340736.html


Greek coastguards help in rare joint rescue operation
---Greek coastguard units assisted their Turkish counterparts Thursday in locating an unspecified number of people believed missing in the sea near the Greek Aegean island of Kos, the merchant marine ministry said.
"We received a request of assistance from the Turkish side and have sent a patrol boat and a rescue helicopter to help," a ministry press officer said.
"It is not the sort of operation that happens often," the officer added.
A Palestinian drowned after a speedboat carrying illegal immigrants to Greece capsized. The coastguard rescued the nine others on board -- eight Palestinians and a Somali. The survivors were taken to the police for questioning.The unidentified group of people is believed to be missing in the waters between Kos and the Turkish port of Bodrum.
The Aegean is a source of tension between the two NATO allies, with Greece maintaining that its airspace extends 10 miles around its coastline but Turkey recognizing only six miles. Greece and Turkey often accuse each other of territorial water and airspace violations. Mock dogfights regularly occur between Greek and Turkish warplanes in the area, and a Greek pilot was killed last year when his jet collided with a Turkish fighter.
Source: Saturday, July 7, 2007 http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=77760


Diana Shipping shares hit high after it completes sale of capesize carrier
The company said it first signed a sale agreement for the vessel with an unnamed third party on Feb. 16.
Proceeds from the sale will be used to repay debt under the company's revolving credit facility, Diana said.
This brings the company's fleet to 16 vessels, including 13 Panamax and 3 Capesize vessels.
The company also announced the planned arrival of one additional newly built Capesize carrier in November, and two others expected in the second quarter of 2010.
Diana shares rose 36 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $23.27 in morning trading and traded as high as $23.43. The stock has traded between $10.00 and $23.15 in the past year.
Source: The Associated Press Published: July 5, 2007 http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/07/05/business/NA-FIN-COM-US-Diana-Shipping-Stock.php


DryShips sets pace
---The three top performing participants in TradeWinds' stock picking competition are all benefiting from the inclusion of DryShips in their portfolio.
The share price of the George Economou headed company is 17.4% up over the first two weeks of the contest helping ship finance specialist, Hansruedi Winter of Bayside Services of Switzerland, take a strong lead.
Winter also picked Golden Ocean and Jaya Holdings, both about 13% up, with a further selection, Top Tankers some 6.7% ahead, resulting in his overall portfolio of six shares showing an average rise of almost 8.4%.
Jon Rossing of Golar LNG is in second position with an average gain of 7.8% as a result of an almost equally stellar portfolio that includes DryShips, STX Pan Ocean, almost 18% ahead and Golden Ocean.
Kristian Rasberg also picked DryShips, STX Pan Ocean and Golden Ocean but is showing a loss on Solstad Offshore and Torm which reduced the average gain of his selection to 7.6%.
Erik Schmidt of the Oslo shipbroking company, Erima Shipping, who was in the lead last week drops to fourth position. Chuan Hup showing a gain of over 19% and STX Pan Ocean continue to drive his portfolio but apart from Stolt-Nielsen some 4.3% ahead his other picks are currently going nowhere.
In fifth position is Joey Keasberry, market intelligence manager of SigmaKalon, the Dutch marine coatings group, showing a near 5.5% average gain on the back of the share performance of DryShips and Navios, whose stock is some 13.2% up over the last couple of weeks.
In sixth position is Paul Donaldson of Chevron with a portfolio showing a 3.1% gain. He missed out on all the spectacular performers but still has a well performing selection that includes Eitzen Maritime Services some 7% up, Irish Continental Group 5.7% up and Tsakos Energy Navigation over 3% up.
It has been a good week for shipping stocks with the average portfolio of contestants now showing a 2.6% gain, twice that of just a week ago.
An even sharper change has been that only 11% of contestants have a portfolio showing a loss instead of 47% just a week ago.
By the TradeWinds team published: 13:52 GMT, 02 July 2007 | last updated: 08:33 GMT, 06 July 2007
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Christian von Olderhausen joins Hellespont
---Basil Ph Papachristidis, Group Chairman of Hellespont, announced Monday that Christian Freiherr von Olderhausen has joined Hellespont as CEO, with effect from July 1, 2007.
Source: h t t p : / /www.ma r i n emo n e y . c om  Ma r i n e Mo n e y F r e s h l y Mi n t e d  T h u r s d a y , J u l y 5 , 2 0 0 7  P a g e 2


---Elin is finding cleaner and safer ways to supply lubricants, fuel to the Greek islands
By Nikos Bardounias - Kathimerini
What is the current standing of Elin in the Greek island fuel supply market?
What are your weapons in dealing with competition in the marina fuel supply market which you recently entered?
What exactly is Elin Yachting?
What is your current business, services and future plans in foreign markets?
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/news/content.asp?aid=85185


Excel Maritime Enters Into Charter Agreements for Two Vessels
The M/V Powerful has been chartered for a period of about 23 up to about 25 months at US $39,000 per day to a first class European charterer. The vessel will be delivered into charter within July 2007. M/V Powerful is a Panamax dry bulk carrier of 70,083 dwt, built in 1994, which the company acquired in March 2005.
The M/V Princess I has been chartered for a period of minimum 22 to about 24 months at US $30,000 per day to a first-class European charterer. The vessel will be delivered into charter on July 17, 2007. M/V Princess is a Handymax dry bulk carrier of 38,858 dwt, built in 1994, which the company acquired in February 2005.
CEO Christopher Georgakis commented, "Consistent with our strategy of employing the majority of our vessels on long term time charters, we have continued to take advantage of the strong freight rate environment, and in this respect we are pleased to announce that we have secured M/V Powerful and M/V Princess I at profitable long term employment to first class charterers. Following these time charter agreements, 53% of our fleet operating days for the second half of 2007 63% for the full year 2007 and 40% for the full year 2008 are fixed under short- and long-term time charters. This fleet deployment strategy enables us to generate strong and predictable cash flows for the longer term, while also taking advantage of market opportunities as they arise, thereby maximizing our performance for the long term."
Source: Jul 06, 2007 09:12 ET http://www.excelmaritime.com/


StealthGas Inc. takes delivery of four LPG carriers
---July 6, 2007 ATHENS, GREECE, STEALTHGAS INC. (NASDAQ: GASS) (the "Company"), a ship-owning company serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry, announced today that it took delivery of the M/V "Sea Bird II" on May 18, 2007, the M/V "Gas Renovatio" on May 29, 2007, the M/V "Gas Icon" on June 27, 2007, and the M/V "Chiltern" on June 28, 2007, four LPG carriers that it had previously announced its agreement to acquire, thereby expanding its current fleet to 33 vessels, with a carrying capacity of 141,912 cbm.
The M/V "Sea Bird II" is a 1996 built, 3,518 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") LPG carrier and is employed under a two-year bareboat charter until May 2009 to an international gas trader.
The M/V "Gas Renovatio" is a 1997 built, 3,313 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") LPG carrier. Upon its delivery to the Company, it was deployed under a 7-month time charter until January 2008 to an international gas trader.
The M/V "Gas Icon" is a 1994 built, 5,000 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") LPG carrier and is employed under a 12-month time charter until July 2008 to an oil major.
The M/V "Chiltern", is a 1997 built 3,312 cbm, Fully Pressurized ("F.P.") LPG carrier and is employed under an 11-month bareboat charter until May 2008 to an international ship operator.
The aggregate purchase price for the above four delivered vessels was $37.65 million.
In addition, as previously announced, the Company has agreed to acquire two LPG carriers the M/V "Gas Kalogeros," a 2007 built 5,000 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P."), and the M/V "Gas Sikousis," a 2006 built 3,500 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P."), which are expected to be delivered to the Company in July 2007. Also as previously announced, the Company has entered into agreements to acquire three additional second-hand LPG carriers the M/V "Gas Evoluzione," a 1996 built 3,517 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P.), with expected delivery in July 2007, the M/V "Gas Haralambos," a 2007 built new building resale 7,000 cbm Fully Pressurized ("F.P."), and the M/V "Gas Sophie," a 1995 built 3,500 Fully Pressurized ("F.P."), both with expected delivery in October 2007. Once these acquisitions are complete, the Company's fleet will be composed of 38 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 164,429 cubic meters (cbm).
Time and Bareboat Charter Agreements:
The Company also announced that it has entered into new time charter arrangements for the M/V "Gas Crystal" and the M/V "Gas Evoluzione". In addition, the Company has extended the respective charters for the M/V "Gas Amazon" and the M/V "Gas Marathon".
The M/V "Gas Crystal" has entered into a new time charter for 12 months which commenced in July 2007 to an oil major with an option for the charter to be extended for a further 12 month period commencing July 2008.
The M/V "Gas Evoluzione", upon delivery to the Company scheduled for July 2007, will be deployed on a time charter for 12 months to an oil major.
The M/V "Gas Amazon" has extended its existing time charter for an additional 12 months, commencing in November 2007, to an international gas trader.
The M/V "Gas Marathon" has extended its existing bareboat charter for an additional 24 months, commencing in October 2007, to an international gas trader.
The aggregate revenue per calendar month for the above mentioned five time charters is $1,295,250. In addition, the aggregate revenue per calendar month for the above mentioned three bareboat charters is $410,750.
Following the above arrangements and based on the current fleet, 95% of the Company's fleet days for the remainder of 2007 and 55% of its fleet days for 2008 are covered by fixed employment.
Source: http://www.irwebpage.com/stealthgas/index.html?irp=pr2&relid=46509


Quintana Maritime in Sale Lease-Back of Seven Vessels for $250 Million, Net
---ATHENS, GREECE--(Marketwire - July 2, 2007) - Quintana Maritime Limited (NASDAQ: QMAR) announced today that it has agreed to a transaction with Glitnir Finance AS, subject to negotiation of final documentation and satisfaction of closing conditions, involving the sale and lease-back of seven of its oldest Panamax ships: Coal Glory, built in 1995, and Iron Man, Linda Leah, Barbara, Coal Age, Fearless I, and King Coal, all built in 1997. The sale and lease-back transaction is expected to produce net proceeds of approximately $250 million, and the Company expects to operate the ships for eight years, paying an average daily bareboat charter rate of approximately $12,700 for each vessel. The transaction is expected to close before the end of July 2007.
Quintana will retain commercial and technical control of these seven vessels, which will remain in the Company's fleet over the next eight years. If the transaction is completed as currently contemplated, Quintana intends to allocate $185 million of the net proceeds to the repayment of debt outstanding under its revolving credit facility. In connection with this repayment, the Company expects to renegotiate its mandatory annual capital repayments of debt in order to reduce the payments by $9.0 million in the last six months of 2007, $17.0 million in 2008 and $11.5 million each year from 2009 through the maturity of the revolving credit facility in September 2014. Quintana expects to retain the remaining proceeds from the sale and lease-back transaction of approximately $65 million in cash.
The sale transaction is expected to produce a non-operating book loss of approximately $10.0 million, after write-offs of unamortized dry docking costs and expenses of approximately $7.0 million, which will be amortized over the eight-year lives of the bareboat charters.
Stamatis Molaris, Chief Executive Officer and President, stated, "This transaction is consistent with our strategy to reduce the average age of our fully owned fleet and mitigate the residual value risk from the Company's pre-2000 built fleet. We intend to achieve this objective by exploiting the current positive market valuations of secondhand assets. We expect that the transaction will strengthen our balance sheet and liquidity capability. We believe that the combination of our decreasing leverage and significant time charter coverage will provide the Company with the financial flexibility to take advantage of opportunities as they arise and to continue to reward our shareholders with a consistently growing dividend. We are very excited about this transaction, and we are looking forward to its successful completion."
Paul Cornell, Chief Financial Officer, commented, "We are very pleased to have agreed to sell and lease back these seven vessels at a competitive bareboat rate of approximately $12,700 per ship per day on average. Assuming we pay down $185 million of outstanding debt and retain the balance of the proceeds, the insignificant dilution resulting from this use of proceeds is not expected to have a material impact on earnings per share over the remaining half of the year."
Because the completion of this transaction and the subsequent use of proceeds are subject to the execution of final documentation with the buyer of the vessels and our lenders, as well as the satisfaction of closing conditions, we cannot assure you that we will complete the transaction on the terms described in this release or at all.
Fleet Table as of July 2, 2007 available at http://www.marketwire.com/2.0/release.do?id=747751&sourceType=1
Source: Jul 02, 2007 09:00 ET http://www.quintanamaritime.com