Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 34 - 2007


Alavanos visits Piraeus, outlines coastal shipping policy

---Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) president Alekos Alavanos on Sunday visited the port of Piraeus and outlined the policy of his Syriza group (the radical left coalition). He said that the policy proposed by his coalition focuses on the country's geographic particularity (i.e. numerous islands of all sizes) and the "social nature" of the needs that coastal shipping is being called on to satisfy.
Alavanos further noted that what is required is not profiteering in coastal shipping, but coastal shipping that will be socially responsible, safe and financially viable.
He also stressed the need for strong coastal shipping that will provide speedy and safe links with the islands and for a decrease in fares, while also proposing the creation of an agency to supervise and control transportation services.
Meanwhile, in a newspaper interview published the same day, Alavanos said society is going to the elections without knowing details of the draft budget, or a report on the social insurance issue and without knowing the Zorbas report regarding the "huge scandal by ND" concerning the bonds.
Lastly, referring to criticism directed against his party by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Alavanos stressed that "SYRIZA (the radical left coalition) may be an opponent for KKE, but for us the permanent opponent are the policies of New Democracy and two-party rule."

On and off the Akti Miaouli - people & places
 Alexander Panagopulos has resigned as md of the Attica Group, which operates ro-ropax ships under the Superfast Ferries and Blue Star Ferries banners. Panagopulos, md of the group since 2004, has been replaced by his father, Pericles Panagopulos, though he remains on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE)-listed company's board of directors as a non-executive director. Attica's full board is: Pericles Panagopulos, chairman and md; Yiannis Criticos, vice chairman; Charalambos Zavitsanos and Constantinos Stamboulelis, both executive members; Alexander Panagopulos, Charalambos Paschalis, Emmanuel Kalpadakis and George Karystinos, non-executive members.
 Meanwhile, Yiannis Criticos, is the new head of Attica's shareholder liaison department. Criticos, the longtime head of Attica's marketing, replaces George Karystinos who resigned August 17, but now sits on the Attica board of directors as a non-executive member replacing Dimitris Klados, who resigned.
 August 22 a new board of directors took office at Blue Star Shipping comprising: Charalambos Paschalis chairman, non-executive; Michael Gialouris vice chairman, executive; Michael Sakellis md, executive; Spyros Paschalis, Pericles Panagopulos, Alexander Panagopulos and Antonis Strintzis, all consultant executive; Emmanuel Kalpadakis and George Karystinos, both nonexecutive.
Charlotte Crosswell, who was so instrumental in the growth of the number of Greek shipping companies achieving a listing on the Nasdaq, has resigned from Nasdaq International to join UKbased Pension Corp as an executive partner, head of business development. Pension Corp is said to have the largest capital backing of any dedicated pension insurer in the UK. Meanwhile, Crosswell, who became a regular visitor to Greece after taking on the US exchange's international business in 2004, says she intends to retain contacts with the shipping community "on the social side", especially in Greece where she keeps a yacht.
Source:, 24 August 2007 Vol. 8 / No. 31

Sea Diamond Passengers File Lawsuit Against Cruise Line
---Parents and passengers from Georgia and North Carolina file suit against Louis Hellenic Cruise line from Greece and EF Travel, Inc. from Cambridge Massachusetts for Capsized Vessel: The Sea Diamond.
(PRWEB) August 21, 2007 -- This week, the Law Office of Todd Krouner filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, in White Plains, New York, on behalf of passengers who were aboard the M/S Sea Diamond ("Sea Diamond") in Greece, which crashed, and sank on April 5 and 6, 2007 respectively. The related cases are pending in the United States District Court Southern District of New York, and are filed under civil docket number 07-CV-3665.
Jacqueline M. James, Of Counsel to the Law Offices of Todd J. Krouner, has been retained by a number of groups of passengers who were traveling together from Westchester County, New York, Carrollton, Georgia and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Suits are now being filed on behalf of member of a number of different educational touring groups being operated by EF Travel, Inc. ( "EF Tours"). To date, The Law Offices of Todd J. Krouner has filed complaints on behalf of forty-eight passengers.
EF Tours specializes in organizing educational travel groups to foreign countries for school age children. Each tour member purchased an "escorted" travel package from EF Tours. EF Tours had student groups from Georgia, North Carolina and California on board the Sea Diamond. EF Tours in turn arranged for the group to take a four-day cruise through the Greek Islands with Louis Cruise Lines on the Sea Diamond. Plaintiffs have also filed against Louis Public Company, Limited (d/b/a Louis Hellenic Cruise Lines) ("Louis Cruise").
Litigation update
On August 3, 2007, the initial court conference was held before the Honorable William Conner of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Counsel for Globus withdrew its request to file a motion to force each passenger traveling with a Globus tour group to arbitrate all claims in Colorado. This represents a significant procedural victory for all Globus passengers.
Additionally, counsel for Louis Cruise, waived service in Greece under the international treaty known as The Hague Convention. This is another substantial procedural development because the plaintiffs may now move forward, and will not have to incur the significant expense and delay associated with having to serve legal papers in Greece.
The Sea Diamond capsizes
(All information according to the lawsuit except where otherwise indicated.)
The Sea Diamond had 1,547 passengers and crew onboard. Most of the 1,195 passengers were Americans and Canadians. A large number of the passengers were minors traveling with school groups being chaperoned by EF Tours and parents. On April 5, 2007, at around 4 p.m., the ship ran aground on a well-marked volcanic reef east of NEA Caiman, off of the Greek Island Santorini. On April 7, 2007, Greek authorities announced the Captain and a number of the crewmembers, were being charged by Greek authorities for their negligence. The charges include causing a shipwreck through negligence, breaching international shipping safety regulations and polluting the environment. The Greek authorities have also announced that the charges maybe amended to include criminal charges. The Greek authorities have noted that the underwater reef was well marked on available navigational equipment and maps. Additionally, a number of the vessel's air-tight doors failed to properly function, allowing water to flood the cabins. A representative from Louis Cruise Lines has publicly admitted that the crash was the result of human error on the part of Louis Cruise personnel.
On April 28, 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported that eye-witness accounts have revealed that the evacuation was poorly planned and implemented. The passengers were forced to endure hours of chaos, fear and images of their death, and fear for health and safety of their loved ones. Maritime safety guidelines generally require that a ship be evacuated within an hour. Two of the passengers, a father and daughter (not a party to this action) and are presumed to have drowned and their bodies have not yet been found. The survivors suffered an array, of injuries and losses, caused by the crash and the clumsy and unorganized evacuation, which left many without life jackets, instructions or the proper egress from the ship.
Since the crash Louis Cruise Lines has been sluggish in its response and has suggested it is only willing to pay passengers a nominal amount for their loss, injuries and distress. To date, EF Tours has failed to make full and timely payments under the insurance policy purchased by each group member or to otherwise compensate the victims. Plaintiffs' complaint seeks compensatory and punitive damages against Louis Cruise and EF Tours for their respective negligence and gross negligence.
One of plaintiff's complaints is available online at For further information contact Jacqueline M. James.

Chimimport and Multigroup remnants bidding for the maritime fleet NMB
---Sofia. The initial stage in the privatisation procedure for a 70% stake in Bulgaria's national maritime fleet NMB has sparked considerable interest on the part of potential buyers, as owner Chimimport has the greatest chance for snatching up the deal.
The list of 23 candidates that have bought the tender documents includes India's Essar Shipping&Logistics Limited, Greek Athenian Sea Carriers Ltd. and Chartworld Shipping Corporation, Italy's Sider Navi S.p.A., Czech Cechofracht a.s., France's CMA-CGM S.A. as well as local players like Varna-based business conglomerate TIM, the former Multigroup corporation and businessman Hristo Kovachki.
The candidates wishing to advance in the procedure should certify before the Privatisation Agency their compliance with the prequalification criteria by September 10.
The procedure is open to companies that had time-chartered bulk or/and general cargo vessels with a tonnage of 1.3 mln DWT in each of the past 3 years. They will have to produce a letter of intent for financing from a commercial bank rated at least A3 by Moody's that has loan-financed the purchase, construction or repair of sea vessels to the total amount of 3 bln euro.
The procedure is also open to consortia between a strategic investor and other parties wherein the strategic investor controls 70% of the partnership.
The non-binding offers for the NMB stake should be sent in by October 18.(
Source: 23 August 2007 | 00:14 | FOCUS News Agency,

Defense for alleged oil dumping says accuser sought reward money
But a defense attorney for Ionia Management told jurors the ship's electrician who complained to the U.S. Coast Guard about the alleged practice made the call because he expected reward money and "hoped to become an instant millionaire."
"He had his bag packed," said attorney George Chalos in his opening argument. "He was ready to go back to the Philippines and retire as a millionaire."
Chalos also said prosecutors lack any evidence of the purported dumping and cover-up.
Nevertheless, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Brown told the 16 jurors and U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton that between January 2006 and March 2007 the crew of the Kriton, under the direction of its chief engineer and second engineer, routinely dumped sludge and bilge water "directly into the sea."
When this was done, Brown added, the discharges were not recorded on ship's records, as required by U.S. law.
Brown noted the crew is legally obligated to place the sludge and bilge water into storage tanks on board and to process it, using pollution control equipment.
Brown said this "took place at night, under cover of darkness, when the Kriton was far out at sea."
However, Chalos said the "magic hose" was never found.
Chalos said the crew might have gone along with the "dumping" story because they wanted to "stick it to the second engineer" (Edgardo Mercurio). Chalos said many of the crew members "hated" Mercurio because he was a tough supervisor.
Chalos said crew members besides the electrician, Alexander Guevarra, hoped to be paid by the U.S. government for their cooperation.
Mercurio, who was charged in the indictment along with Ionia Management, entered a guilty plea agreement with the government July 12. But he could still face up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The government's initial witness, Lt. Commander Alan Blume of the U.S. Coast Guard, said another Coast Guard officer based in New Haven received a complaint from Guevarra March 20, the day the Kriton arrived in New Haven Harbor.
Guevarra reported somebody aboard the ship had been discharging the oil and bilge water directly into the sea via a bypass hose. A Coast Guard team boarded the Kriton that night to investigate and to interview the crew.
Although the search team was on board until about 5 or 6 a.m. the next day, Blume testified, the pollution control equipment was working and they found no physical evidence of illegal discharges.
But Blume also said he believed the oil record book was not complete, that discharges had occurred that were not logged. He said he went on board with a second team at about 9 a.m. March 21 to continue the investigation.
Blume testified that several crew members told him they had seen the bypass hose hooked up and that it had been used to bypass the separator equipment.
According to court documents, the Kriton entered U.S. ports about 20 times in nine months. In addition to New Haven, the ports included Port Everglades, Fla., Brooklyn, N.Y., Boston and St. Croix.
Source: Randall Beach, Register Staff, 08/23/2007,

Macedonia told to compensate Hellenic Petroleum for breach of contract
---An arbitration court in Paris has sided with the Greek firm that bought Macedonia's only oil refinery in 1999.
Macedonia has been fined millions over its failure to meet commitments under a 1999 sales contract with Hellenic Petroleum. The Greek firm bought Macedonia's only oil refinery, OKTA.
As part of the deal, Macedonia was obligated to procure 500,000 tonnes of crude oil exclusively from OKTA each year for the next two decades. In addition, Hellenic Petroleum was given the right to import customs-free derivatives to Macedonia.
In 2003, the former Social Democrat-led government breached the contract by importing crude oil from another company. The customs-free imports were also terminated. The authorities claimed that the deal, signed by a previous administration led by the VMRO-DPMNE, was illegal and harmed the state.
Hellenic Petroleum cried foul, and this month the International Court of Arbitration in Paris agreed. Macedonia will now have to pay $53m, plus interest, in compensation to the Greek company.
The ruling has reignited debate over what had become an all-but-forgotten scandal. At the time of the OKTA sale, many complained that the deal was not transparent, damaging to Macedonia's interests, and involved elements of corruption.
The government at the time, headed by Ljupco Georgievski, sold the refinery for $32m without a public tender. The law stipulating the sale was presented to parliament in an incomplete form, without key annexes. In 2002, the Constitutional Court ruled that the sale was not in compliance with the constitution. The following year, the state anti-corruption commission requested that a criminal investigation be launched, but this did not happen.
Signing the contract with Hellenic Petroleum meant terminating existing contracts with Mamit Jet Oil, which sued. In 2004, a London-based arbitration court ordered Macedonia to pay the firm $17m in compensation.
The OKTA sale is a "historic example" of damaging one's own state, says National Bank Governor Petar Gosev.
But Georgievski, the former prime minister who presided over the deal, says the blame lies with his successors for breaching the contract.
A government spokesman, Ivica Bocevski, insisted that the court's ruling is not final and that Macedonia will file an appeal. He also vowed that accountability will be sought from all involved in the case, from the moment of signing to the unilateral termination by the Social Democrat-led government.
Source: 23/08/2007,

Ship sought for 50,000 tons of copper concentrate
The salvage firm said it was talking to several shipping firms but there is a shortage of ships and the port is in a very remote part of the world.

Half a million for whistle-blowers
Source: Fairplay Daily News, 22 Aug 2007

Hellenic shipowners continue to lead the global investment market
But activity has also been rather dynamic also in the second hand market. Among the leaders are of course the publicly-traded companies, with some of the most recent deals including companies like Dryships and Genco, acquiring two and six dry bulk carriers respectively. According to figures provided by Allied Shipbroking, a total of $12.4 billion have been invested by Hellenic shipowners so far in 2007. It is estimated that 333 vessels were acquired, out of which 222 are bulkers worth $8.5 billion, 84 are tankers worth $3.11 billion and 25 are containerships with a value of $649.5 million. Globally, the total amount spent on the 1.147 second hand vessels that have changed owners, reaches $29.2 billion. Therefore, Hellenic owners rule the market shares with 31% in the dry bulk market and 24% of the tanker market.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News
Source: Tuesday, 21.08.2007, 12:26am (GMT),

Greek owners lead S&P pack
---Greeks are pulling ahead of the pack on the newbuilding resales front.
Two-thirds into the year and shipping is clearly having a busy summer holiday in what is normally the doldrums of the sale-and-purchase (S&P) market as each week brings reports of huge en-bloc deals.
According to Pireaus broking house Allied Shipbrokers, up to mid-August $29.8bn had been spent on secondhand and resale purchases worldwide, as compared with $33.9m for the whole of 2006.
Allied calculates that over 1,100 ships have changed hands, with almost one-third of the deals being purchased by Greeks for a whopping $12.4bn.
For a number of years, Greek shipowners have been regarded as the market leaders in S&P and today, despite stirrings from owners in China, India and Vietnam, there are even more reasons why Greeks are pulling ahead of the pack on the newbuilding front.
Currently a total of 42 shipping companies, including blank-cheque ventures, are listed on stock exchanges in the US and the UK 22 have some Greek link and it is from these that the big deals are being generated.
Within the space of a couple of weeks, two one-billion-dollar-plus deals have emerged. Sophocles Zoullas-led Eagle Bulk scooped up 26 supramax-newbuilding resales from Anemi Maritime in a $1.1bn deal and Peter Georgiopoulos-backed Genco Shipping&Trading paid a similar amount to buy nine capesize bulkers from Metrostar.
Although both Zoulas and Georgiopoulos are US-based, the companies are viewed by the Greek market at least as being Greek interests.
Genco followed its capesize swoop with a $336m purchase of three supramax bulkers and three handysizes from Evalend Shipping, while in another midsummer splash George Economou's DryShips announced it was spending $620m to buy eight ships including three capesize and two kamsarmax resales along with two panamax and a secondhand supramax.
From the beginning of the year, DryShips's other purchases put its spend up to a total of around $1bn. And these are only the splashy acquisitions.
Other listed companies have been spending, perhaps buying fewer ships but often paying top dollar at the time of the deal. Diana Shipping, for example, broke a record when it paid out $110m for the 180,000-dwt capesize bulker Aliki (ex- Cape Pelican , built 2005) in March.
Brokers comment that today people are looking for big deals.
"The change that has occurred because of dry-bulk rates is fundamental to this market," said one London broker.
Owners have been able to build up equity in their ships and have cash reserves. Finance is more freely available, both because owners have access to initial public offering (IPO) cash and because banks are looking for opportunities to fund substantial deals and, with many of the purchases backed by charter cover, they look like secure business, especially in light of what is happening in the stock markets generally.
TradeWinds's calculations set the purchases by Greeks even higher than Allied's figures, at over 370 ships, although inevitably some reported deals fail. Out of these, around 140 ships are estimated have gone to public companies.
Public start-ups like Oceanfreight or Paragon get underway with some ships bought subject to their initial public offering (IPO) going ahead, possibly indicating a higher price tag.
Blank-cheque company Star Maritime shelled out $345.2m for eight bulkers early in the year, before prices had reached their current levels.
Navios has gone for capesize newbuildings, spending $460m on four ships.
This does not mean that some substantial deals have not also been done in the private sector but in general the market is being pushed, especially in the dry sector, by the growth-hungry listed companies that can afford to pay top dollar.
By Gillian Whittaker, Athens, published: 24 August 2007

Sea Star becomes largest shareholder of ANEK
---Sea Star Capital Plc (SEAS), the CSE listed company transforming itself from a betting company to a shipping group announced that on August 24, 2007 it proceeded with the acquisition of 19,967,663 shares of ANEK through the ASE at the price of EUR2.50 per share.
Following the new purchases, the total stake of Sea Star Capital in ANEK stands at 23,495,163 shares for a total deal value of EUR58 million and represents 14.93% of the capital of ANEK, making it its major shareholder.
Sea Star has announced an ambitious capital raising plan amounting to EUR 170 mln, of which EUR 100 mln is set to be covered by strategic investors from Greece including the Vardinoyiannis Group while the remaining EUR 70 mln will be raised through a rights issue from the other investors.
A further 14.2% stake is owned by Intesea Sao Paolo belonging to Italian shipping magnate Emannuel Grimalnti.
ANEK reported net profit of EUR 21.5 mln in 2006 compared to EUR 10 mln in 2005.
Source: 24/08/2007,

FreeSeas to Acquire Handysize Vessel; Increase Fleet to Five Vessels
PIRAEUS, Greece, Aug. 23, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- FreeSeas Inc. (NasdaqCM:FREE - News) (NasdaqCM:FREEW - News) (NasdaqCM:FREEZ - News), a provider of seaborne transportation for drybulk cargoes, announced today that it has agreed to purchase a 1995-built 22,051 DWT Handysize vessel, the M/V Free Goddess, from an unaffiliated party for approximately US$25.2 million.
The vessel is expected to be delivered in September or October of 2007. It will operate under a $13,000 per day fixed-rate time charter until November 2007, at which time it will commence a new two-year time charter at $19,250 per day.
The Company continues to believe that the current drybulk rate environment presents opportunities for advantageous chartering and the establishment of long-term relationships with high-quality charterers. The new vessel acquisition announced today should provide increased cash flow to finance future vessel acquisitions and expand the Company's fleet.
``With this acquisition we will further expand our fleet, while securing long-term employment in favorable market conditions,'' said Mr. Ion Varouxakis, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. ``This acquisition will be financed with our existing credit facilities. We continue to seek high quality second-hand vessels to further expand our fleet, making use of all the resources available to us.''
To view charts illustrate FreeSeas' fleet employment profile for the vessels it currently owns and for the vessels it has agreed to acquire, visit:
About FreeSeas Inc.
FreeSeas Inc. is a Marshall Islands corporation with principal offices in Piraeus, Greece. FreeSeas is engaged in the transportation of drybulk cargoes through the ownership and operation of drybulk carriers. Currently, it has a fleet of three Handysize 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 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which can be obtained free of charge on the SEC's website at For more information about FreeSeas Inc., please go to our corporate website
Source: Thursday August 23, 8:00 am ET, Press Release

Stealthgas pays seventh dividend
---LPG specialist Stealthgas continued to post positive results as illustrated by earnings during the second quarter and the first half of this year.
For the quarter ended 30th June 2007, net revenues were $19.9 mill and net income was $5.7 mill, an increase of $2.7 mill or 15.7% and an increase of $1.1 million or 23.9% respectively from the 2Q 2006 figures.
Adjusted EBITDA for the period was $11.7 mill, an increase of $2.8 mill or 31.5%, on the same period last year.
For the 2Q, the company reported an unrealised, non-cash gain of $300,000 on two previously disclosed interest rate swap arrangements, compared to the 2Q 2006 when the company reported a non-cash gain of $700,000. Before this non-cash item, net income was $5.4 mill, or $0.37 per share, basic and diluted for 2Q, compared to $3.9 mill, or $0.28 per share, basic and diluted for the same period in 2006.
An average of 29.3 vessels were owned and operated in the 2Q, earning an average timecharter-equivalent rate of about $7,075 per day, compared to 25.1 vessels earning an average of $6,922 per day in 2Q 2006.
For the six months of 2007, net revenues were $40.6 mill and net income was $12.3 mill, an increase of $6.4 mill or 18.7% and an increase of $700,000 or 6% respectively on the six months ending 30th June last year.
Adjusted EBITDA for the 1H 2007 was $24 mill, an increase of $5 mill or 26.3%, from $19 mill for the same period of 2006.
For the 1H 2007, its unrealised, non-cash gain amounted to $300,000 on two previously disclosed interest rate swap arrangements, compared to the 1H 2006, where the company reported a non-cash gain of $1.3 mill. Before this non-cash item, net income was $12 mill, or $0.83 per share, basic and diluted for the first six months, compared to $10.3 mill, or $0.73 per share, basic and diluted for the first half of 2006.
With new acquisitions, by February 2008, the company's fleet will comprise of 39 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 171,629 cu m.
Source: (Aug 20 2007),

TEN Limited Announces Delivery & Charter of Handysize Product Tanker Bosporos
---Nine of Eleven 2007 Newbuilding Deliveries Now Complete
ATHENS, Greece, Aug. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. ("TEN" or the "Company") (NYSE: TNP - News) today announced the delivery of the 37,275 dwt, 1B ice-class handysize product tanker Bosporos from Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, in South Korea. Concurrent with the delivery, the vessel entered a three-year time charter with a European oil trader for a minimum rate and a 50/50 profit share should rates exceed that minimum. The Company expects the vessel to generate a minimum of $21 million in gross revenue over the duration of the charter. The delivery of the Bosporos increases the number of handysize product tankers currently operating in the fleet to eight of which six are of ice-class design.
"The Bosporos delivery represents the ninth of eleven newbuildings in 2007," stated Mr. Nikolas P. Tsakos, President & Chief Executive Officer of TEN. "She will enhance the cash generating ability of our fleet and fuel our organic growth. We are proud to add yet another high-specification vessel to our fleet as we continue to meet our clients' increasingly diversified requirements," Mr. Tsakos concluded.
TEN's proforma fleet consists of 52 vessels of 5.6 million dwt. Today, TEN operates a fleet of 44 vessels all double-hull. Additionally, its newbuilding program of eight vessels includes six aframax crude carriers and two panamax tankers representing 776,000 dwt.
The strategy of a balanced diverse fleet is reflected in 27 crude transporters ranging from VLCCs to aframaxes and 24 product carriers ranging from handysize to aframaxes; complemented by one LNG.
TEN's further newbuilding program:
Vessel Dwt Design Delivery
Panamax (Product)
1. Selecao 73,000 30 November 2007
2. Socrates 73,000 30 December 2007
Aframax (Crude)
1. Maria Princess 105,000 DNA November 2008
2. Nikkon Princess 105,000 DNA November 2008
3. Ise Princess 105,000 DNA Q3 2009
4. Asahi Princess 105,000 DNA Q4 2009
5. Saporo Princess 105,000 DNA Q4 2009
6. Uraga Princess 105,000 DNA Q1 2010
Source: Wednesday August 22, 9:28 am ET, press release