Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 33 - 2007

 

Accident leaves bulker stranded off Gibraltar

---A CARGOSHIP lay half-submerged off Europa Point yesterday after sustaining serious hull damage following a collision with a laden double-hull tanker, writes Brian Reyes.
The incident prompted a major joint emergency operation by authorities in Gibraltar and Spain.
The 23 crewmen on the stricken Panamanian bulk carrier New Flame were brought to shore and checked by medical authorities in Gibraltar, but there were no injuries.
Curious bystanders flocked to Europa Point throughout the day to watch the drama unfold just a few hundred metres from the lighthouse.
The collision occurred close to an area protected under nature conservation laws and will again renew concerns about the density and safety of shipping in the Bay of Gibraltar.
The New Flame foundered in almost exactly the same spot where the tanker Samothraki ran aground earlier this year.
The collision occurred at around 0600 hrs on Sunday morning less than a mile from Europa Point.
The New Flame had taken on fuel in the Bay of Gibraltar and was sailing into the Strait of Gibraltar when it collided with the Danish product tanker Torm Gertrud, which was sailing into Algeciras to carry out a crew change.
Officials in Gibraltar and Algeciras were last night checking communications records and vessel tracking data to piece together the sequence of events. The Gibraltar Maritime Administration has opened a formal investigation.
Among the issues under investigation is why the New Flame sailed from Gibraltar without first obtaining the necessary clearance from the Port Authority.
The Torm Gertrude was carrying 37,000 tonnes of gasoline and was able to make its own way to Algeciras, where it remained at anchorage yesterday.
The New Flame, which was carrying scrap iron, suffered serious damage to its bow and took on water in two of its cargo holds. Yesterday morning it lay half-sinking in 23 m of water below Europa Point, held in position in high winds by tugs from Gibraltar and Spain.
Source: Brian Reyes - Tuesday 14 August 2007, www.lloydslist.com


Captain of New Flame cargo boat released on bail
---The ship collided with a tanker after leaving port in Gibraltar on Sunday without permission
The Gibraltar government has meanwhile approved a plan to salvage the Panamanian cargo boat, which is lying with its prow submerged on the sea bed half a mile off Europa Point. A specialised company will first remove the 750 tons of fuel on board before attempting to refloat the New Flame.
The Verdemar-Ecologistas en Accion environmental organisation has meanwhile called on the Gibraltarian authorities for an in-depth investigation into how the port control tower failed to detect the ship leaving port.
Source: By m.p - Aug 15, 2007 - 9:09 AM, http://www.typicallyspanish.com/news/publish/article_12005.shtml


Source: Fairplay Daily News, 15 Aug 2007


Genco buys six more
---Genco Shipping & Trading Limited (NYSE: GNK) has agreed to acquire six drybulk vessels with an average age of approximately two years from affiliates of Evalend Shipping Co. S.A. for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $336 million. Genco plans to finance the acquisition through borrowings under its $1.4 billion revolving credit facility.
The six vessels-- three Supramax vessels and three Handysize vessels-- are expected to be delivered to Genco during the fourth quarter of 2007. On completion of the acquisition, and including the nine Capesize vessels to be acquired from companies within the Metrostar Management Corporation group announced on July 18, 2007, Genco's fleet will consist of nine Capesize, seven Panamax, three Supramax, seven Handymax, and eight Handysize drybulk carriers, with a total carrying capacity of approximately 2,814,000 dwt and an average age of approximately eight years.
Genco President Robert Gerald Buchanan commented, "Once again, Genco has capitalized on an attractive opportunity to consolidate the drybulk industry and expand its modern, high-quality fleet. This latest acquisition further strengthens Genco's leading industry position and increases Genco's earnings power. We plan to continue to utilize management's expertise in taking advantage of the strong fundamentals for drybulk shipping and to secure the vessels in our expanded fleet on long-term time charters at favorable rates prior to their delivery. In accomplishing this important goal, we remain dedicated to providing leading international charterers with the highest quality vessels that adhere to stringent operational standards."
Source: August 14, 2007, http://www.marinelog.com/DOCS/NEWSMMVII/2007aug00142.html


Globus Maritime Launch Corporate Website
---Globus Maritime Announces the Launching of its Corporate Website and its Compliance with AIM Rule 26.
ATHENS, Greece--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Globus Maritime Limited ("Globus" or "the Company") (LSE:GLBS), a marine transportation company that owns and operates Handymax and Panamax dry bulk ocean-going vessels, today announces the launching of its corporate website which is in compliance and contains all information required to be disclosed in accordance with AIM Rule 26. The site can be accessed at www.globusmaritime.gr
About Globus Maritime Limited
Globus is a global provider of seaborne transportation services for dry bulk cargoes, including among others iron ore, coal, grain, cement, and fertilizers, along worldwide shipping routes. It owns and operates five sister-ship geared Handymax vessels, and one Panamax vessel. Globus has also entered into an agreement to acquire a newbulding Handymax vessel scheduled for delivery in December 2007. When this acquisition is completed, Globus' fleet expands to a total of seven dry bulk carriers, consisting of six Handymax vessels and one Panamax, with a weighted average age of approximately 10.9 years as at December 31, 2007 and with a total carrying capacity of 342,629 dwt.
All six vessels in Globus' current fleet are on medium to long term time charters to reputable charterers, which is expected to provide a stable revenue and earnings base.
Globus is listed on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange under ticker GLBS. Jefferies International Limited is acting as nominated adviser and broker to the Company.
Source: www.globusmaritime.gr , August 14, 2007


Vardakis joins Greek owner pack
---A software top gun with a rich CV is taking his family into shipowning.
Danad Shipping is another new name on the Greek scene. The company took delivery of its first ship in January and is a classic example of a shipping venture set up by someone jumping the fence from one area of the industry to another.
Or is it?
Founder Achilles Vardakis is chairman and chief executive of successful software company Shipmanagement Expert Systems (SES) but a look at his background also shows a 14-year stint with the company commonly acknowledged to have been the "university" for many of today's highly successful Greek shipowners: Thenamaris Ships Management.
Shipowning had been a long-standing vision for Vardakis and having had what he describes as a "minority-interests portfolio" for many years, he took the plunge and invested in his first ship in 2002.
He purchased the 23,000-dwt bulker Alexandra (built 1985) for a reported $3.85m. The vessel was managed by Petrobulk.
"I decided to co-manage [theAlexandra]with another firm rather than setting up my own shipmanagement company with one ship," said Vardakis.
The ship was sold in 2004 for what Vardakis calls "a good price", without revealing specifics.
In early 2006, he began to look at the market again. "I was waiting for the market to go down. It never did. So I decided it was time to get back in again," he said.
"Getting back in again" meant inspecting more than half-a-dozen ships before buying the 30,000-dwt bulker Alexandlitsa (ex- Alam Sentosa , built 1992). The ship was bought in September for $23.7m and delivered in January this year. It was immediately drydocked then chartered for a year to Panocean.
The fixture was handled by Vardakis's son, Dimitris, who happens to work with leading Greek shipbroker Optima on the chartering side. His brother, Nicholas, is also with Optima, in the sale-and-purchase (S&P) department.
"They choose my ships and they charter my ships until we make a fleet of four or five ships. Then they will come full time with me," Vardakis said.
Danad's second ship, the 45,000-dwt Aeolos (ex- Nicolas S , built 1997), was acquired in April from compatriot owner Order Shipping for a reported $36.5m. It was delivered to Danad in June. The ship is fixed on a 60 to 90-day charter until it goes for its second special survey in September.
Those who know Vardakis expect to see him succeed. "I think he could be a name to see in the future," said one.
Vardakis is keen to grow the fleet and says he is in the market, although prices are very high. Nevertheless, he believes in the market and thinks the risk he took buying the two ships is "much, much smaller than the risk I took in 2002, when I bought my first ship".
Danad will concentrate on dry tonnage at least for the foreseeable future, Vardakis says, referring to his past experience.
"That's the way I saw Thenamaris growing and I believe in their experience and their wise moves," he said.
He does not want to invest in small ships, preferring to look at handymaxes and supramaxes. "They are a more conservative investment, definitely for a newcomer to the market with long experience, but a newcomer," he said.
Once a fleet of handymax and possibly supramax vessels has been built up, Vardakis says he will see what the market dictates before making up his mind on the next size.
With his own shipmanagement-software company, naturally Vardakis is applying the systems he has developed over the past 35 years to his own shipping enterprise.
"I don't believe any company as small as mine has in its service tools like I have been marketing to other people. We feel very strong [in terms of]controlling our expenses and managing from the safety point of view and the commercial management," he said.
By Gillian Whittaker, Athens, published: 17 August 2007
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Paragon Shipping Inc. Takes Delivery of Two Additional Vessels
---ATHENS, Greece--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Paragon Shipping Inc. (Nasdaq: PRGN) announced today that it has completed the acquisition of two of the three drybulk carriers that it contracted to acquire using the net proceeds of its recent public offering together with bank borrowings. The third vessel remains scheduled for delivery before September 15, 2007.
With the addition of these two vessels, the Company's fleet consists of four Panamax drybulk carriers, three Handymax drybulk carriers and one Supramax drybulk carrier, with an aggregate capacity of approximately 482,922 deadweight tons.
The Company took delivery on August 13, 2007 of the Sapphire Seas, a 53,702 dwt 2005-built Supramax vessel. The Sapphire Seas has been chartered to Korea Line Corp. pursuant to a time charter with a remaining period of approximately 33 to 35 months at the charterer's option, at an initial rate of $30,750 per day, gross of commissions, which commenced immediately upon the delivery of the vessel to the Company. The daily charter rate for the Sapphire Seas will decrease to $26,750 on June 24, 2008 and to $22,750 on June 24, 2009.
The Company also took delivery of the Pearl Seas, a 74,273 dwt 2006-built Panamax vessel, on August 16, 2007. The Pearl Seas has been chartered to D'Amato Shipping pursuant to a time charter with a remaining period of approximately 10 to 13 months at the charterer's option, at the rate of $30,500 per day, gross of commissions, which commenced immediately upon delivery of the vessel.
About Paragon Shipping Inc.
Source: August 17, 2007 07:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time, http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20070817005079&newsLang=en


TOP Tankers Announces Agreements to Acquire Three Drybulk Panamax Vessels
---ATHENS, Greece, Aug 13, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- TOP Tankers Inc (Nasdaq: TOPT) (the "Company") announced today that it has entered into agreements to acquire three drybulk panamax vessels from unrelated third parties as follows:
-- One 2001 built panamax vessel of 75,928 dwt, built in Japan.
-- One 2000 built panamax vessel of 75,933 dwt, built in Japan.
-- One 2000 built panamax vessel of 75,681 dwt, built in Japan.
The vessels are scheduled to be delivered to the Company between September 2007 and March 2008 and to enter into spot market trading.
Evangelos Pistiolis, the Company's Chief Executive Officer, stated: "Consistent with our commitment to expand in the drybulk sector, we are increasing our drybulk fleet to six vessels. These three high-quality panamax drybulk vessels are expected to be accretive to our 2008 earnings and to generate significant cash-flow."
The aggregate purchase price of the vessels is approximately $222 million. The Company intends to finance the acquisition through new loan facilities, working capital, and the proceeds from future capital raisings.
About TOP Tankers Inc
TOP Tankers Inc provides international transportation services of seaborne crude oil, petroleum products and bulk commodities. After taking into consideration all expected drybulk vessel acquisitions and the delivery of the M/T Restless and M/T Victorious to their new owners, the Company will operate a fleet of 20 tankers, consisting of 12 double-hull Suezmax tankers and 8 double-hull Handymax tankers, with a total carrying capacity of approximately 2.2 million dwt, of which 87% are sister ships, and six drybulk vessels of approximately 0.4 million dwt. Thirteen of the Company's 20 tankers will be on time charter contracts with an average term of over three years with all but four of the time charters including profit sharing agreements. Three of our six drybulk vessels will have, upon their delivery, time charters contracts for an average period of 18 months.
Source: http://www.toptankers.com/


Energy-hungry Turkey drilling for more oil
---You may think that you cannot do without your car and therefore without the automotive industry, or that you can't live without your computer and consequently the information technology industry.
However, in reality there is just one industry which is more important than any other: the traditional energy industry. Without fuel from crude oil and natural gas, modern society and all its accoutrements would grind to a halt as cars would run out of oil and laptop batteries would never be recharged. Turkey is, sadly, energy poor; that is to say it lacks large fossil fuel reserves and has had to spend millions of YTL to generate power from its limited natural resources by building hydroelectric dams across most major rivers, solar panels on many houses and wind farms on the Aegean coast.
However, recent surges in the price of international crude oil -- which have increased to as high as $78 per barrel -- have simultaneously alarmed Turkish politicians and opened new doors of opportunity for the national oil industry. The record prices for world crude on the Mediterranean spot market have encouraged Turkey to undertake larger exploration projects and make the possible extraction of crude from local oil shale much more feasible.
Syria, on the other hand, has been quick to remind Turkey that they are not the friendliest of neighbors, placing rigs directly opposite the Turkish ones on the other side of the border, and they are now also tapping into the same reservoir. The rigs stand just 10 meters apart on either side of the barbed wire of the border. The TPAO remains undeterred and has announced that they will be drilling 10 more wells as soon as they clear more minefields.
Shell Oil determined that oil at Paleozoic levels would be recoverable and other investigations proved significant deposits in central Anatolia under the salt flats on the plains north of Konya. In 1991, British Petroleum began exploring for oil in offshore areas of the Black Sea, and the TPAO has since carried out extensive exploration and extraction work there. It is also suspected that the Aegean shelf contains considerable petroleum deposits, but as long as maritime borders with Greece remain unsettled, conflicting claims to the Aegean seabed will limit prospects for exploration. Prospects for new domestic finds in southeastern Turkey are often impeded by the conflict Kurdish militants and in the past small sites have been attacked.
More recently, there have been new efforts focusing on the Mediterranean Sea, especially after the Greek Cypriots upped the ante in the region last month by putting drilling rights up for auction in its coastal waters. Turkey had already announced its intention to carry out seismic surveys in the shallow waters around Antalya, Iskenderun and Mersin in spring of this year, and tenders for a 4,000-kilometer-square stretch of coastal waters were opened on Aug. 7. The TPAO is hopeful that the exploration work with foreign partners will begin in early autumn. Greek Cyprus has negotiated and delineated underwater boundaries with the Egyptians and the Lebanese, but Turkish officials insist that continental shelves in semi-closed seas must be decided by a consensus of all coastal and neighboring countries. The Turkish government believes the Egyptian and Lebanese agreements are unacceptable under international law and is pressuring them to back out of the treaties.
Initial studies show that there may be between 6 and 8 billion barrels of crude oil in the eastern Mediterranean, but disputes between the Greek Cypriots and Turkey may adversely affect the political thaw between Turkey and Greece. The gas pipeline between the two countries, which is due to be completed and operational by the end of this year, was heralded as a great success for foreign policy and an indicator of a new warmth between the two countries; however, a turf battle in the Mediterranean could cause these old rivals to take a step back from their warming relationship.
Source: Tuesday , 14 August 2007, http://www.turkishweekly.net/news.php?id=47504