Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 47 - 2007

 

Greek merchant fleet up 4.3% in Jan-Sep

---Greece's merchant ocean-going fleet totalled 2,052 vessels at the end of September, with a gross tonnage just exceeding 37 million DWT, the National Statistics Service announced on Tuesday.
The statistics service said 624 vessels were cargo ships, 502 tankers and 926 passenger ferries.
The statistics service also noted that in the January-September period, the Greek merchant fleet rose by 4.3 pct, with cargo ships down 0.2 pct, tankers up by 9.8 pt and passenger ferry ships up by 4.6 pct.
Source: www.ana.gr


Athens issues call for universal maritime cooperation at IMO
---Greece will donate $1 million to improve security in Strait of Malacca
By Nikos Bardounias - Kathimerini
On the fringes of the meeting, Voulgarakis also met yesterday with his Turkish opposite number, to discuss ways of improving maritime transport between the two countries and other issues of common interest. He also met with his Japanese counterpart.
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/news/content.asp?aid=90294


Non-dom tax proposal will cost London, warns Voulgarakis
---GREEK Shipping Minister George Voulgarakis has voiced fresh concern that the threatened new flat-rate UK tax on foreign non-domiciled individuals will cost London much more in lost business and reputation than it raises in revenue.
Earlier, in a speech to the IMO assembly, Mr Voulgarakis said Greece was committed to working with all governments through IMO to address the environmental issues facing shipping, particularly the key issue of air emissions from ships.
Source: www.lloydslist.com, Julian Bray - Thursday 22 November 2007


Greece gives us$1m to straits project
---THE Greek government says it will donate US$1m to support projects aimed at enhancing safety, security and environmental protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore in south-east Asia.
The Singapore meeting also endorsed a new framework, the "Co-operative Mechanism", in which the littoral States can work together with the international maritime community to enhance navigational safety, security and environmental protection in the Straits, which handle some 30 per cent of all sea transport globally. The establishment of the Co-operative Mechanism constitutes the first time ever that a scheme has been put in place for the management of straits used for international navigation, as envisaged in Article 43 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Greek Minister of Mercantile Marine, Georges Voulgarakis, announced his country's donation during the 25th Assembly of IMO, the 167-member United Nations agency in London. Mr Voulgarakis said he hoped that his country's gesture would be "duly appreciated by the littoral states, Straits users, other stakeholders and the maritime community at large, and will act as a stimulus for other Governments and interested parties to come forward with appropriate contributions to enable the IMO and the littoral States to achieve their set objectives. I am confident that initiatives such as these will go a long way towards protecting shipping lanes of strategic importance and significance, and commend the IMO for its foresight in addressing this issue".
IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos welcomed the Greek initiative, saying "this is one of the key shipping lanes of the world and safety and security of passage through it, and its protection from any pollution that may be caused by ships, is something in which we are all stakeholders to a greater or lesser extent. I am delighted that Greece has, once again, acted in its capacity as one of the world's major maritime nations and I, too, hope very much that others will follow its lead. I am convinced that the successful outcome of our work to protect shipping lanes of strategic importance and significance, coupled with work to address the needs brought to the fore by the Governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, will go a long way to ensure the safe, secure and pollution-free passage of ships through the Straits."
Source: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, www.mgn.com


Global Oceanic Carriers: Change in Shareholder Structure
Mr. Michael Tartsinis and Mr. Antonis Nikolaou are both directors of Kaylee Maritime Limited. Furthermore, both Mr. Tartsinis and Mr. Nikolaou along with Mr. Kriton Lentoudis, are shareholders of Kaylee Maritime Limited.
Mr.Kriton Lentoudis is a well established Greek ship owner. He has been involved with shipping for more than 25 years and he is associated with Evalend Shipping, a private company based in Greece.
As a result of these transactions Kaylee Maritime Limited holds 31,758,292 ordinary shares in GOC representing 79.3% of the issued share capital of the Company. Out of this holding 40% is owned by Mr. Michael Tartsinis and Mr. Antonis Nikolaou. Both executives along with Mr.Lentoudis represent a controlling interest in Kaylee Maritime Limited.
Commenting on the transaction Mr. Michael Tartsinis, Chief Executive Officer at Global Oceanic Carriers said: "We are very pleased with this development and with the inclusion of Mr. Lentoudis among our shareholders given his extensive experience and presence in shipping."
For further information: Global Oceanic Carriers Limited, Michael P. Tartsinis, Chief Executive Officer, Tel: 00 30 210 898 6362, mtartsinis@gocarriers.com, www.gocarriers.com
Source: 23 November 2007, www.gocarriers.com


George Soros Reports Navios Stake
Soros Fund Management LLC, which is chaired by Soros, reported owning 600,000 shares of the Greek shipper, which went public with an initial public offering on Nov. 12.
Soros disclosed its stake in a Schedule 13G filing, which indicates the investment is passive. In the filing, Soros said the shares were not acquired to change or influence control of the company.
Navios Maritime Partners shares fell 30 cents to $17.40 on Wednesday, which is 13 percent below the company's IPO price of $20 per share.
Navios Maritime was formed by Greek shipping company Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. In a third-quarter report on Nov. 14, Soros also reported ownership of about 1 million Navios Maritime Holdings shares.
Source: Nov. 21, 2007, 4:33PM, http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/5321234.html


Metrostar puts faith in handysizes
---A Greek owner has fattened its orders backlog for handy bulkers by 16.
The limited orderbook for handysize bulkers, as compared with the existing aging fleet, has prompted Theodore Angelopoulos's Metrostar Management to make another of its characteristic sweeping moves, pushing its orderbook for such ships up to 24.
The company has now booked a series of 16 vessels of 32,000 dwt at Jinse Shipbuilding in South Korea with deliveries running from July 2009 through to 2011.
Metrostar managing director Achilleas Stergiou confirms the contracts were inked in the past month but declines to reveal any prices. As compared with some of the owner's earlier investments in big tankers and bulkers, the total sum is likely to appear modest a total of somewhere between $500m and $600m.
Norwegian Arne Blystad booked a substantial number of the 32,000-dwt bulkers at the same yard in May for some $32m each and was last month said to have resold several contracts for in excess of $40m each. Stergiou confirms none of the Metrostar units are resales from Blystad.
Metrostar made its debut in the smaller-bulker sector in May, ordering eight 35,000-dwt bulkers at SPP Shipbuilding in South Korea.
The novel deal saw Metrostar team up with Apex Marine of New York and Premuda of Italy to book a total of 20 vessels said to be costing some $35m each. In the past month, both Apex and Premuda have increased their orders at the yard by two to eight ships each.
Stergiou says Metrostar's decision to move into the smaller segment of the market was guided by its dynamics.
"It is a sector that, if you look at the orderbook as compared with the available ships, it is behind. And there are a lot of old vessels that need to be withdrawn," he said.
Figures presented by Philip Rogers, head of research at broker Galbraith's, at TradeWinds's Turkish Shipping Summit last month indicated that in July, close to 41% of the existing handysize fleet was over 25 years old with a further 28% between 15 and 24 years old.
In July, DVB Bank's research division noted that the handysize orderbook represented just 13% of the existing 64 million-dwt bulker fleet, the smallest percentage for any dry-bulk category.
"We saw the gap and thought it is a good sector to invest in," Stergiou said.
Metrostar sold its entire fleet of nine capesize bulkers to Genco Shipping&Trading in July for $1.1bn.
On the wet side, the company has four VLCCs in the water and a further two set for delivery from Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea in November 2009 and February 2010. It also has seven suezmax tankers on order at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries with deliveries starting in March 2009 and running through to September 2010.
By Gillian Whittaker, Athens, published: 23 November 2007
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Hellenic Shipping News interviews Harry Vafias, CEO of StealthGas
---Harry Vafias, dubbed as the ''Harry Potter'' of shipping, mainly because of his relatively young age, is living up to the hype surrounding his name. StealthGas has witnessed remarkable growth in just over two years since the company went public, growing its fleet from 9 to today's 40 vessels. The next reference point for the LPG transportation company is the number of 55 vessels by the end of 2009, according to Mr. Vafias. In his interview with Hellenic Shipping News, he goes one step beyond to state that the company is likely to enter other market segments as well, either in the tanker or even the dry-bulk business. Finally, he adds that one of the prime candidates to go public in the future, should such a decision take place, is Stealth Maritime, another company under the umbrella of the Vafias Group. The latter is currently one the most active shipping groups in newbuildings, having launched a massive programme of 22 vessels, worth just over $1 billion.
How would you evaluate the company's reception in the stock market, given that the ''story'' sold, the LPG business, isn't the easiest one?
What's a bit frustrating for companies like StealthGas, is maybe the fact that the dry bulk shipping stocks have become a bit of a ''fashion trend'' among investors, due to record freight rates during these last few months.
You mentioned that you opt for time-charters as employment strategy of your vessels. What's the usual time frame you choose to charter vessels?
What are your plans to further grow the company's fleet?
We recently concluded our secondary offering, which went very well, probably because, as you mentioned, investors are a bit afraid of the tremendous growth of dry bulk, thus seeking alternative sources of investment, which provide increased safety. Our $130 million on July was oversubscribed by six times, an impressive achievement. Our liquidity is now at a great level, since we haven't still used any of the proceedings. The company aims to increase its fleet to 55 vessels by the end of 2009.
Is this decision of entering new markets on the verge of materializing any time soon?
Vafias Group isn't limited in StealthGas, being active also through other shipping companies. Could you provide us some details on the group's structure and its activities?
Why didn't StealthGas carry out the newbuilding programme of the LPG vessels instead?
We've said that StealthGas will have the option to purchase these newbuildings from the parent company, close to their delivery. So, three months prior to each vessel's delivery, Brave Maritime will hire two independent consultants, in order to evaluate the value of each ship. We've chose this process, because investors aren't fond of newbuildings. This is because they give their money in order to witness instant return, something not possible with newbuildings, which can take up to four years for the investment to mature. Furthermore, they don't like the foreign exchange risk, since the orders can be placed in yen, or euro, when the company's earnings are in U.S. dollars. So, the risk will be assumed totally by the Vafias family, instead of StealthGas.
Given this rather aggressive picture you are describing for the group's strategy in shipping, is there any chance we'll be seeing more companies going public and if so, which one would be your preference?
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News
Source: Monday, 19.11.2007, 12:28am (GMT), http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com


Crew refused bail again in Greece
Source: Fairplay Daily News, 21 Nov 2007


Tenders called for raising the "Sea Diamond"
---A call for tenders was announced November 20 for companies interested in bidding to pump fuel from the Sea Diamond wreck and raising the cruise ship which sank off Santorini early April. Initiating the process represents a change from the earlier opinion that the ship should not be raised, and comes as experts warn the pollution threat from the sunken vessel is increasing.
Firms have been given 20 days to submit their offers for recovering the estimated 450 tonnes of fuel still on board the ship and raising her from the ledge on which she is lying some 125mtrs below the water surface.
Theodoros Tsibidis, head of Archipelagos, said toxins and asbestos on the ship cause a huge risk to the environment. He said there are "tons of toxic liquid in pipes throughout the ship", there is a huge amount of asbestos and items like computers and TV screens, which could leak harmful substances like arsenic, thus posing a big threat.
Tsibidis has warned recovery of the 22,412gt ship also holds great dangers. He is reported as saying: "It is vital that no further pollution is caused during the recovery process, possibly from the disintergration of parts that contain harmful components."
Louis Hellenic Cruises, operator of the cruise ship, says erroneous mapping information in the official nautical chart used by Sea Diamond's captain caused its sinking with the loss of two lives.
LHC claims the official nautical chart of the Hellenic Hydrographic office for the shore area of the Greek island of Santorini contained incorrect information, causing the 1986-built ship to collide with an underwater rock and sink within hours.
Source: www.newsfront.gr, 23 November 2007 Vol. 8 / No. 44


Capital Ship Management Corp. chooses the Seagull Training System
Capital Ship Management Corp is a progressive and dynamic ship management and marine service provider based in Piraeus Greece, with an expanding fleet which consists of 25 modern tankers and 3 bulk carriers at present, and is rapidly becoming one of the largest double hull MR Ice Class 1A operators in the world today.
Source: (22 November, 2007), Press Release, www.seagull.no


Greek awards turns spotlight on thriving shipping sector
LAUNCHED in 2004, the Greek Shipping Awards have become one of the largest and most eagerly awaited events in the maritime calendar.
The event is officially supported by several leading industry organisations. These include the Union of Greek Shipowners, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping and the Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee, based in London.
Other organisation lending their support are the Hellenic Shipbrokers Association, the Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies, Helmepa, the Propeller Club, International Port of Piraeus and Wista Hellas.
As in past years, the award winners will be judged by an independent adjudication panel representing a cross-section of Greek shipping and composed ofleading industry luminaries.
The winners for 2007 will be unveiled at the gala presentation dinner.
The panel of judges
Nicos Efthymiou, president, Union of Greek Shipowners;
Philip Embiricos, president, BIMCO;
Nick Fistes, chairman, Intertanko;
George Gratsos, president, Hellenic Chamber of Shipping;
Mathew Los, treasurer, Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee;
Nicky Pappadakis, chairman, Intercargo and Helmepa;
Jenny Pournaras-Bardavilias, mediator;
Christiana Prekezes, head of maritime section, Helmepa;
Harilaos Psaraftis, professor of maritime transport at the School of Naval Architecture and marine engineering, National Technical University of Athens.
Source: www.lloydslist.com, Wednesday 21 November 2007