Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 07 - 2008


Greek-owned merchant vessels are spread across 42 national registers

---Date: 2-12-2008
By Nikos Bardounias - Kathimerini
In a detailed report, the CIA takes a close look at the fleets of 150 countries in 2007, focusing in particular on a breakdown of national registers to record not only the shipping forces out in the open but also those growing under the umbrella of third or independent registers.
As far as the Greek-flagged fleet is concerned, two important points are highlighted. First, the Greek register holds 13th place in world rankings, with 49 vessels belonging to foreign interests. Of these latter, 16 belong to Belgian interests, 15 to British, 10 to American, five to Cypriot, two to South Korean and one to Italian interests.
The CIA report also indicates that Greek shipowners own a further 2,324 ships that sail under the flags of 41 other countries. Greek ship managers seem to have the most diverse choice of flags, as they register their ships even in countries such as Sierra Leone, Sao Tome, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.
Panama on top
Panama tops the list as the most popular register with 5,764 ships, each of which is over 1,000 dwt. Its combined capacity is as high as 240,190,316 dwt. However 4,949 of these vessels belong to foreign interests, 473 of which belong to Chinese interests.
Baltic Exchange says UK tax change may hurt maritime industry
By levying a fixed-rate tax of 30,000 pounds on people who live in the UK and are not deemed to be domiciled there for tax purposes, the government risks driving investment to rival financial centers, the Baltic Exchange said in an e-mailed statement dated February 8. The exchange said it discussed the matter with the Chamber of Shipping, the Joint Hull Committee, the International Underwriting Association and Maritime London.

Paying up or packing up?
---About this article: This article appeared in the Guardian on Wednesday February 13 2008 on p30 of the Leaders & reply section. It was last updated at 00:11 on February 13 2008.
Protecting the coffers by assuaging that fear is the one respectable argument that might be made for yesterday's hurried Treasury "clarification" that non-doms would not have to give the taxman details of their overseas income. The alternative view is that lobbying from fat cats - some of them prominent political donors - has got to the government, in the same way that it did over capital gains and the tax rules for super-sized pensions.

Greek shipping industry set to desert UK
---By Kerin Hope in Athens
Published: February 11 2008 21:58 | Last updated: February 11 2008 22:48
The Greek shipping industry is preparing to desert London in response to the planned tax crackdown on non-domiciled foreigners living in the UK, bankers and owners have told the FT.
While few members of a community famous for shunning the limelight are prepared to comment publicly, insiders are convinced that a decisive shift is now under way that will see the industry disappear from the capital and relocate to Greece, lured by generous tax arrangements, improved telecommunications and a more relaxed lifestyle.
Most of those planning to leave are second-generation shipping families who until now have bucked a trend led by younger London-based owners to relocate to Athens.

Greek owners rekindle crew-shortage warnings
---Leading members of the Greek shipping community are renewing warnings that the biggest merchant fleet in the world may find itself without Greek officers to man its ships unless action is taken quickly.
Tsakos group head Captain Panayiotis Tsakos says that if more young people do not take up a seagoing career, Greek shipping will be completely cut off from Greek society and the economy in a few years' time.
Tsakos notes that university graduates are seeking employment at EUR 700 ($1,018) per month, while a 22-year-old third engineer can earn EUR 5,000 per month at sea, a second engineer EUR 8,000 and a captain EUR 10,000 to 12,000.
"I should know, because I pay them," Tsakos said.
Nikos Efthymiou, president of the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS), agrees. He says one of the problems is the increasing crew shortage.
In 2007, the UGS president said merchant marine academies in Greece had announced a total of 1,300 available places. Only 1,088 were taken up and out of the new entrants, 203 were women, 169 were destined for bridge-officer academies and just 34 for engineer-officer academies.
Efthymiou, speaking at the UGS annual general meeting, quoted another shipowner with an extensive newbuilding programme who points out that to bring the ships he is building into the Greek flag would call for at least 250 new bridge and engineroom officers.
Efthymiou is calling for a radical reshaping of the marine-education system.
"Whatever happens must happen as soon as possible," said Efthymiou. "There is no time to lose and especially in cases where new ships are on the threshold of the national register but cannot step in because of the lack of any possibility of manning them."
Gillian Whittaker Athens, published: 15 February 2008

Neighbors sailing on the seas of friendship
---Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Scuffles over the Kardak Islets and territorial waters cannot overshadow the burgeoning ties between Turkey and Greece, with maritime associations on both sides of the Aegean Sea working to form a joint shipping chamber to boost trade
Turkey and Greece have authorized their chambers of shipping to establish a joint branch, a move that followed a meeting of foreign ministry and maritime directorate officials of the two countries during the recent visit of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to Turkey, said the head of chamber of shipping's Izmir branch yesterday.
The plan, which was proposed four years ago by the chambers of maritime trade in Turkey and Greece, was shelved after the head of the Greek chamber died. It will be revived with new vigor on foreign ministerial level and is expected to boost both commercial and political ties between the countries.
The two countries share the Aegean Sea, but the sea has often been associated more with tension and standoffs rather than efforts to jointly exploit its potential.
At a time when the Turkish and Greek coast guards are constantly quarrelling over the ownership of the islets of Kardak (Imia in Greek) and fighter jets of both countries square up to defend the airspace of their respective countries, the chambers of maritime trade of both countries have taken up the gauntlet to transform the sea into a center of trade and mutual profit. Turkey and Greece came to the brink of war in 1996 over the Kardak Islets.
The matter of a joint Turkish-Greek chamber of shipping was also the center of focus during Karamanlis' visit last month, said Geza Dologh, the Dogan news agency reported. At the meeting, the Greek Maritime Directorate was briefed on the preparations and the two delegations discussed how to boost the sector and potential for collaboration, he said.
Stating that the aim was to reinforce the relationship in shipping, Dologh explained that a committee will be established to carry out negotiations. Pointing out that a joint chamber of shipping has been established between Syria and Turkey, he said, ?a joint chamber of shipping can play an important role to solve the problems that exist in shipping. Moreover it will help reinforce ties between the countries.
Turkey and Syria had an antagonistic relationship in the past that came very close to triggering a war in 1999 due to Syria's sheltering of the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Syria later expelled PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan who was eventually captured and jailed. The two countries have been developing political and commercial ties over the past few years and currently enjoy growing trade relations.
Ten-fold increase in trade:
According to Izmir chamber of trade figures released in July 2007, the trade between Turkey and Greece has increased 10-fold in a decade.
In 1994, the bilateral trade volume between the two countries was $273 million, increasing to over $2.64 billion by 2006.
The real growth occurred after 2000. Greece was the first country to come to Turkey's aid after a devastating earthquake rocked the Marmara region in August 1999 and killed more than 15,000 people. The Turkish state and aid agencies reciprocated later in 1999 when Athens was struck by an earthquake.
After the earthquakes, Turkish-Greek relations improved and this has also been reflected in trade.

Attica Holdings: Composition of new Board of Directors
---Attica Holdings S.A. announces that its new Board of Directors has adjourned in body with the following composition:
- Charalambos S. Paschalis Chairman, Non-Executive Member
- Andreas E. Vgenopoulos Vice-Chairman, Non-Executive Member
- Petros M. Vettas Managing Director, Executive Member
- Michael G. Sakellis Executive Member
- Spiros Ch. Paschalis Executive Member
- Markos A. Foros Non-Executive Member
- Areti G. Souvatzoglou Non-Executive Member
- Alexandros Th. Edipidis Independent, Non-Executive Member
Voula, 13th February 2008

Hard going as Easy dumps newbuilds

Excel Maritime Carriers Announces Appointment of New CEO

DryShips unveils record profits
---By Nigel Lowry in Athens - Friday 15 February 2008
Economou: we enter 2008 with a great deal of optimism.
The results included capital gains from vessel sales of $31.5m in the last quarter and a total $135m in gains from the sale of 11 vessels for the whole year.
Overall, though, the result also reflected fleet growth and higher freight income.
The DryShips fleet comprised an average of just over 36 for the fourth quarter of 2007, earning an average daily rate of $67,587 per vessel.
This compared with an average of just under 34 vessels owned and operated during the fourth quarter of 2006, when the fleet was earning an average $24,466 per ship per day.
DryShips currently owns a fleet of 47 bulkers including eight newbuildings on order, making it at present the largest of the US listed dry bulk companies.

TOP Ships Favorably Resolves Class Action Litigation
---ATHENS, Greece, Feb. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- TOP Ships (Nasdaq: TOPS) announced today that it is filing for the Court's approval a settlement agreement with lead plaintiffs in the securities class action lawsuit pending against the Company and certain of its directors and officers in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. If the court gives preliminary approval to the settlement, notice will be provided to shareholders, who have the opportunity to object to the settlement, and to opt out of the settlement, which will then be subject to final approval by the Court and possible appeals.
The terms of the agreement call for a payment of $1.2 million dollars to the plaintiffs. Attorney's fees for plaintiff's counsel, which have not been determined, will be paid out of this amount. The settlement will be funded entirely by the Company's Directors and Officers insurance carriers. The Company and its officers and directors will receive a complete release of all the remaining direct claims against them in the shareholder class action litigation. Many of the claims had already been dismissed voluntarily by the plaintiffs when they amended their complaint last fall after TOPS initially moved to dismiss.
"We're extremely pleased to have resolved this matter," said Evangelos Pistiolis CEO, of TOP Ships. "We believe that we have settled this dispute for a modest amount, and have eliminated the distraction to management which protracted litigation would have caused. We have always believed that the class action was meritless, and were pleased that many of the allegations were voluntarily dropped by the plaintiffs some months ago. We intend to continue to rebuild shareholder confidence in TOP Ships."
Pistiolis added, "We remain confident that TOP Ships' move into the drybulk sector is the correct strategy given the global demand for goods. We believe that the drybulk fleet will contribute significantly to the growth of the company moving forward. This settlement enables us to fully concentrate on what we do best -- running a modern and efficient shipping business."
About TOP Ships Inc
TOP Ships Inc, formerly known as TOP Tankers Inc., is an international provider of worldwide seaborne crude oil and petroleum products and of drybulk transportation services. The Company operates a combined tanker and drybulk fleet as follows:
-- a fleet of 19 tankers, consisting of 11 double-hull Suezmax tankers and 8 double-hull Handymax tankers, with a total carrying capacity of approximately 2.0 million dwt, of which 78% are sister ships. Twelve of the Company's 19 tankers are on time charter contracts with an average initial term of over two years with all but three of the time charters including profit sharing agreements above their base rates. In addition, the Company has ordered six newbuilding product tankers, which are expected to be delivered in the first half of 2009.
-- a fleet of four drybulk vessels with delivery of two additional drybulk vessels expected during February and March 2008. Including these two vessels, three of the Company's six drybulk vessels will have period charter contracts for an average period of 18 months.
Source: PR Newswire, 02/15/2008 07:35:02 AM EST