Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 11 - 2008
---Monday, 10 March 2008
Greek interests continue to control the largest share of the world fleet and are particularly strongly represented in the tanker and bulk carrier sectors.
The newbuildings comprise125 oil tankers, 273 chemical & products tankers, 38 liquid gas carriers, 487 ore & bulk carriers, 63 pure container carriers, 49 cargo ships, 13 other ships and 6 passenger ship.
Younger, bigger Greek fleet is becoming more dominant
---Statistics do not lie. Greeks control more ships and carrying capacity than ever, fleet renewal is greater than ever and the gap between Greek operators and the next largest national group is growing. Further, the Greek-controlled fleet is getting younger, and is now well below the world average which is also dropping.
Data in the 21st consecutive annual review of the Greek fleet by the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee shows that at mid-February, 2008, Greek interests ran 4,173 ships of 262m dwt and 154.6m gt, including an impressive 1,054 newbuilding contracts of 49.9m gt. Compared with the previous year, the fleet grew 474 ships (12.82%), 42.7m dwt (19.6%) and 24.8m gt (19.14%).
Based on data sifted from Lloyd's Register - Fairplay, the GSCC research shows Greek interests now control around 8.7% of all ships in service and on order, and 16.4% of the world fleet in deadweight. The Greek flag gained 228 ships out of the overall 2007 fleet increase, bringing the home flag to 1,197 of 93.9m dwt. This marks a reversal following many years of decline, with credit given to the new manning rules introduced by the government in November 2006.
In terms of ships on order, the percentages for Greeks are 11%, 16.8% and 14.6% respectively.
The Greek-controlled fleet is registered under 48 flags, with the home flag by far the largest. Though there were no significant losses to any registry during the last 12 months, there were some significant gains for the Greek flag and, to a lesser extent, the Liberian and the Marshall Islands flags. In terms of dwt after the Greek flag, comes Liberia with 472 ships of 30.9m dwt, Panama with 575 ships of 29.53m, Malta 505 ships of 27.56m, the Marshall Islands, 388 ships of 22.7m and Cyprus, 345 ships of 20.25m.
With the exception of small decreases, to passenger ships, oil tankers due to the phasing out of single skin units, and combination carriers, increases were noted in all ship categories, with the ore and bulk carriers increasing an impressive 34.4m dwt, followed by container ships, with 4.7m increase in dwt and chemical and prod tankers, up by 2.5m dwt.
Some 1,054 ships were on the order books for Greek account in February, 2008, against 612 ships in February, 2007. These were: 125 oil tankers, 273 chemical and prod tankers, 38 liquid gas carriers, 487 ore and bulk carriers, 63 pure container ships, 49 cargo ships, 13 other ships and six passenger ships. Greek orders continue to increase, and currently around a third of the total fleet controlled by Greek parent companies is on the order books. The Greek controlled fleet is also increasing as a percentage of the world fleet on order, reversing a previous trend. It now stands at 11% of the order books as against 9.2% in February 2007.
Greek controlled tonnage remained in first place globally and has slightly increased with the presence of Greek owners being particularly significant in the categories of ships carrying the majority of the world's bulk cargo, both wet and dry.
Average age of the Greek controlled fleet dropped in 2007 to 12.5 years from 14.3 years and is now nearly a year below the average age of the world fleet. Average age of the Greek fleet was 20.3 years in 2000, with a corresponding age decrease in relation to dwt and gt. In terms of gt, average age of Greek controlled ships is now 10.5 years against 11.7 years in 2006 and 17.6 years in 2000. In terms of dwt, it is now 8.5 years, against 8.9 years in 2007 and 17.4 years in 2000. Greek flag ships are younger, and in terms of ships is now an impressive 9 years, against 11.1 years in 2007, and 12.7 years in 2004. In terms of gt it is 5.5 years against 7.6 years in 2004, and in terms of dwt it is now 5 years, against 5.9 years in 2007 and 7.1 years in 2004.
Average age of the world fleet now stands at 13.4 years in ship terms against 15 years in 2005 and in terms of gt is 8.6 years against 10.1 years in 2005 and in terms of dwt is 8.2 years against 9.7 years in 2005.
LR has the biggest Greek fleet with 878 ships (825 in 2007), ahead of AB, 766 ships (612 in 2007), NV, 598 ships (569 in 2007), NK, 492 ships (446 in 2006), BV, 462 ships (447 in 2007), and GL, 216 ships (208 in 2007). The Hellenic Register classes 126 ships.
Credit crunch hurting global shipyard orders
---Saturday, 15.03.2008, 12:21am (GMT)
There are growing signs the credit crunch that began with the U.S. housing market is spreading to the world's shipyards.
A roaring global economy saw shipbuilders inundated in recent years by orders for container ships, oil tankers and bulk carriers to satisfy American and European demand for consumer goods, a global thirst for oil and a Chinese hunger for commodities.
Order books swelled to a three-year backlog, but the credit crunch is making it harder for some shippers to raise money to pay for the ships they ordered.
"Around 70 percent to 75 percent of the order book is not yet financed and it's going to be a challenge for some operators to obtain financing," said Akis Tsirigakis, chief executive of Athens, Greece-based Star Bulk Carriers Corp , a dry bulk operator with a fleet of nine ships.
In late February an executive at Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Ltd, China's No. 1 shipyard, warned of slowing orders for new ships, citing fears a U.S. slowdown could damp global trade.
Shares of shipyards have suffered. Hong Kong-based Guangzhou Shipyard has fallen 38 percent in the last three months, while Yangzijiang Shipbuilding is down about 55 percent over the same period. JES International , which debuted on the Singapore Exchange in December, is down 64 percent since the beginning of the year.
Among recent ship order cancellations, Hong Kong-based shipper Jinhui said in January it was calling off construction of two giant ore carriers, citing global credit conditions.
"The risk-return profile of completing (the vessels) has changed drastically due to persistent negative sentiment clouding the global financial markets," the company said.
The ships were to cost $122 million each. Jinhui said it would pay a $4 million cancellation fee. The company added that it could not get good financing conditions despite a 15-year charter contract from a "first class steel mill."
In February Athens-based Oceanaut Inc announced it had terminated a deal to buy nine dry bulk carriers for $700 million.
"Funding can be hard to get now even if you have a customer lined up," said Omar Nokta, an analyst at investment bank Dahlman Rose. "There is uncertainty among banks over the potential impact of a U.S. slowdown."
According to some shippers, any deal over $500 million that requires a syndicated loan is more likely to run aground.
"Banks are more reluctant to fund acquisitions that require a very large syndicated loan or to lend money to newcomers who have no track record," said Nikolas Tsakos, CEO of Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd, an oil tanker company with a fleet of 43 tankers and nine more on order.
Some shipping company executives are cautious about whether a wave of cancellations is coming.
"We haven't seen many cancellations yet, but it's possible there are more yet to come," said John Wobensmith, chief financial officer of New York-based dry bulk shipper Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd, which has a fleet of 28 ships.
But others say they are excited by the chance to pick up bargains.
"I think there will be some fire sales," said Gerry Wang, chief executive of Seaspan Corp, which has a fleet of 29 container ships with another 39 on order.
"We are like a tiger waiting for opportunities to come up. We have the liquidity, we have the capital," said Wang.
"Look at the shipping space ... (there are) about 1,100 ships on order in the industry worth $350 billion," he added. "In my humble opinion there is no way there is that much liquidity available to finance $350 billion over the next three years."
Nikolas Tsakos said order cancellations due to financing troubles would also ease fears that a glut of ships would push down charter rates.
And if demand for commodities, consumer goods and oil remains robust despite the woes of the U.S. economy, then shipping rates should stay strong.
"This could bring a nice positive surprise for operators," said Dahlman Rose analyst Nokta.
Nokta said if European demand for consumer goods remains robust that should support container ship charter rates, but the big question for dry bulk rates is what happens to demand for commodities from China and India, which has been a major rate driver in recent years.
The Baltic Exchange's chief sea freight index , which gauges the strength of trade routes for commodities like coal, iron ore and grains, has had a roller-coaster ride over the last six months, hitting an all-time high above 11,000 points in November before falling below 6,000 in January. It is now above 8,000 points.
"So far we're not seeing any slackening in demand from China for commodities," especially coal and iron ore to produce steel, Nokta said. "As far as dry bulk rates go, steel prices will dictate a lot of what happens."
It would be hard to imagine a more perfect marriage. Led by Theodore Afthonides, AB Bank has a full banking platform and is an originator and syndicator of loans. And, most importantly, it does this at relatively low cost with a staff of just 41 people, many of whom perform the regulatory functions required by the Bank of Greece. Initially, due to their close relationship with HSH Nordbank, many of the loans were syndicated to it but as it has grown distribution has broadened. Despite the large number of managed loans, it is capital constrained with a balance sheet containing total assets of approximately $325 million as of year-end 2007. In order for the bank to grow and expand, it needed more capital to increase the size of its hold piece thereby increasing its syndication capacity.
This is a new and different role for GETF. While they will have a seat on the board, they will not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the bank.
Constantly searching the market for the right investment opportunities in the container segment, Capital Ships, a joint venture with the Peter Dohle Group, is one of the vehicles GETF is utilizing for equity investments. The company anticipates it will get bigger on the ownership side where returns are more in line with corporate return objectives. Since the partners are only investing equity and will need to lever up acquisitions, GETF can channel the business on a competitive basis to AB Bank.
Meanwhile their regular businesses continue to perform. With the container financing business becoming ever more competitive, GETF maintains its presence but has transferred its focus to ports and transportation infrastructure. The ABB Offshore Finance business, acquired years ago, has established itself as a lead arranger in the offshore business teaming up with GE Energy Financial Services, which supports the team in risk assessment. Both businesses are aided by an in-house syndication effort that provides the sell down to make the deals work.
All in all GETF has put together a multitude of platforms in place to help their customers as well as themselves to grow. We expect to hear lots more from GETF in 2008.
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 , Ma r c h 1 3 , 2 0 0 8 P a g e 7
UK non-domicile fight goes on
Source: Fairplay Daily News, 14 Mar 2008
Goulandris scales down London operations
---NJ Goulandris is set to scale back its London operations.
ONE of the leading names in London Greek shipping circles is poised to scale back its presence in the UK capital.
He would not be drawn on the main reasons for what is understood will be a virtual shutdown of the Berkeley Square offices.
NJ Goulandris, which was established in London in 1953, has operated a fleet of both tankers and bulk carriers.
Outside sources speculated that reasons behind the move included the impending retirement of managing director Geoff Woodford and of a number of other long-serving staff at the UK side of the business.
Like many similar moves by other Greek offices over the last decade, the company is transferring its key functions but will be leaving behind a small presence in London.
According to another member of the London Greek community, the UK office will be cut to two employees, although this could not be confirmed.
There are differing views on how hard the new tax measure will hit the London Greek community.
Greek shipping minister George Voulgarakis recently stated that Greece was ready to welcome both Greek and other nationality shipowners seeking another location than the UK.
Source: http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/viewArticle.htm?articleId=20017514600, By Nigel Lowry, Athens - Thursday 13 March 2008
20 Listed Company CEOs & Analysts in "Invest in International Shipping" - 20 March 2008
---Twenty listed company CEOs and CFOs, as well as several analysts, will participate in the panels or make presentations at The 2nd Annual Capital Link Forum "Invest in International Shipping" that will take place on Thursday, March 20, 2008 in New York City at the Metropolitan Club.
The objective of the Forum is to provide investors with a comprehensive review and outlook of the various shipping markets. Also, to generate maximum publicity about shipping as an industry and the shipping companies to a wide audience of investors.
The Forum's target audience includes institutional investors and securities analysts; financial advisors and financial planners; retail and institutional brokers; and financial press and media. The event will be open to the whole sell side brokerage community.
The Forum will start with registration at 7:30 am on Thursday, March 20, 2008 and is expected to finish by 5:00 pm. There will be five panels in total on several sectors and topics as follows:
-- Tanker CEO Panel (Crude Oil and Products) moderated by Robert Bugbee, with Capital Product Partners (Evangelos Marinakis), D'Amico International Shipping (Marco Fiori), Omega Navigation (George Kassiotis) and Tsakos Energy Navigation (Nikolas Tsakos). -- Dry Bulk CEO Panel, moderated by Doug Mavrinac, Head of Shipping Research at Jefferies & Co., with the CEOs of DryShips (George Economou), Navios Maritime Holdings (Angeliki Frangou), Quintana Maritime (Stamatis Molaris), Star Bulk Carriers (Akis Tsirigakis) and TBS International (Joseph Royce). -- Container CEO Panel moderated by Charles Rupinski, Sr. V.P. Equity Research, Maxim Group, with Danaos Corporation (John Coustas), Euroseas Ltd. (Aristidis Pittas) and Goldenport Holdings (John Dragnis, COO). -- Consolidation -- M & A in Shipping, moderated by Bob Robinson Senior Partner of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, with senior executives from Deutsche Bank AG (Graig Fuehrer) and Citigroup (Mary Amor), and the CEOs of Danaos Corporation (John Coustas), DryShips (George Econonou), Navios Maritime Holdings (Angeliki Frangou), Quintana Maritime (Stamatis Molaris) (NASDAQ: QMAR), and Tsakos Energy Navigation (Nikolas Tsakos). -- Europe Listed CEO Panel moderated by Christopher Combe, Director Equity Research, Jefferies International, with the CEOs of D'Amico International Shipping (Marco Fiori), Hellenic Carriers (Fotini Karamanlis), Global Oceanic Carriers (Michael Tartsinis), Globus Maritime (George Karageorgiou), Goldernport Holdings (John Dragnis, COO) and Ocean Tankers (Michael Ioannides). -- Each panel will last 40 minutes. The panels will focus on industry trends rather than individual company characteristics. -- The Forum's attendees will have the opportunity to address their questions to each panel participants.
-- Other analysts who also participate in the Forum include -- Michael S. Pak, V.P. U.S. Equity Research, Banc of America Securities, -- Daniel Burke, Shipping Analyst, Johnson Rice and Company, -- Alex Chan, Analyst, NBG International, -- Justin Yagerman, Director Equity Research, Global Transportation and Shipping, Wachovia Securities
OTHER PRESENTATION TOPICS
In addition, there will be presentations on topics of interest such as:
-- Freight Forward Agreements (FFAs) by Michael Reardon, V.P. Research and Marketing, IMAREX -- SPACs by Clifford Teller, Managing Director, Maxim Group -- Challenges in Ship Management by Roberto Giorgi, President, VShips
There will also be company presentations, as follows by the CEOs and CFOs of:
-- Capital Product Partners L.P. (NASDAQ: CPLP) -- D'amico International Shipping S.A. (Borsa Italiana: DIS) -- Danaos Corporation (NYSE: DAC) -- DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ: DRYS) -- Euroseas Ltd. (NASDAQ: ESEA) -- Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd. (NYSE: EXM) -- Global Oceanic Carriers Limited (AIM: GOC) -- Globus Maritime Ltd. (LSE: GLBS) -- Goldenport Holdings Inc. (LSE: GPRT) -- Hellenic Carriers Limited (AIM: HCL) -- Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. (NYSE: NM) -- Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE: NMM) -- OceanFreight, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCNF) -- Ocean Tankers Holdings (CYPRUS: OCT) -- Omega Navigation Enterprises (NASDAQ: ONAV) -- Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (NASDAQ: SBLK) -- TBS International Limited (NASDAQ: TBSI) -- Top Ships Inc. (NASDAQ: TOPS) -- Tsakos Energy Navigation LTD (NYSE: TNP)
ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS WITH MANAGEMENT
Participants in the Capital Link Shipping Forum may request to schedule one-on-one meetings with company management through the event page at www.capitallinkshipping.com or by emailing email@example.com
The Keynote speaker at lunch is Dr. Mickey Levy, Chief Economist of Bank of America.
The Forum is organized by Capital Link, a New York based Investor Relations and Financial Communications Firm with a strategic commitment to shipping.
It is organized in cooperation with NASDAQ the New York Stock Exchange and the New York Maritime Inc.
The Media Partners include Barron's, Bloomberg, Fairplay, Institutional Investor, Lloyd's List, TradeWinds, The Maritime Executive, The Digital Ship, Maritime Information Systems and Elnavi.
Bank of America is the Main Sponsor. Deutsche Bank AG and Jefferies are Sponsors. Citi Private Bank, Clarkson's, Imarex, Maxim Group, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, NBGI, Oppenheimer, V.Ships and Wachovia Securities are Supporting Sponsors. Top Ships Inc. sponsors the breakfast and Tsakos Energy Navigation sponsors the cocktail reception.
REGISTRATION AND ATTENDANCE INFORMATION
Please go to http://www.capitallinkforum.com/shipping/2008/main.html for the Forum's agenda and registration details.
For more information on the forum, to register and to request one-on-one meetings with the participating companies, please go to Capital Link's website at www.capitallinkshipping.com or www.capitallink.com or contact:
Alba turns eyes to tankers
---A Greek player is said to be ordering up to eight VLCCs in South Korea.
Tsangaris family-backed shipping company Alba Maritime Services is turning its focus to the tanker market. The company, which has 38 bulkers on order at yards in India and South Korea, is said to be close to concluding a series of VLCC newbuildings.
Market players say Alba is planning to order up to eight VLCCs and it has already signed a letter of intent with two shipyards in South Korea, STX Shipbuilding and Sungdong Shipbuilding. The two yards are said to be able to deliver the vessels from late 2010 to 2011.
STX and Sungdong officials decline to discuss Alba's VLCC contracts but confirm that several shipping companies have approached them for the tanker newbuildings and negotiations are taking place.
Sotiris Dushas of Alba confirms his company is in talks to order VLCCs and also with prospective charterers. But the talking is still at an early stage, he says, adding that Alba held its first discussions on moving into big tankers two or three months back.
He confirms Sungdong and STX are the logical builders, given Alba's relationship with the two yards on the dry-bulk side. But he dismisses talk that he is considering building tankers in India, where Alba has panamax bulkers on order.
As is the case on the dry-bulk side, Dushas expresses interest in structuring creative deals in which the end-user of the VLCC and the shipowner are partners.
"We have lots of ideas. It might be structured as a joint venture but we haven't come up with a solid formula yet," he said.
He characterises the prospective VLCC charterers as "as close to the end-user as we can get" without being oil majors.
Before ordering tankers, however, he says he needs to line up further charters for Alba's capesize newbuildings.
"We have a few more capesizes to charter and then we get to sit back and watch the market," he said.
In January, Dushas said he would be interested, in principle, in a sale of newbuidings but that the market was not receptive. But his company made headlines when documents simultaneously emerged showing that Citibank had been engaged to market some 20 capesize newbuildings on Alba's behalf.
Half of Alba's capesizes on order have charters but no new deals have been done since Citibank began circulating the sale prospectus, Dushas says.
By Bob Rust and Irene Ang, Stamford and Singapore, published: 14 March 2008
US$2.45 billion acquisition of Quintana Maritime Limited by Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd.
The merger creates one of the largest publicity traded dry bulk company measured by deadweight tons having one of the youngest fleets. The combined company has a fleet of 47 vessels totalling 3.7 million deadweight tons growing in early 2010 the size of the fleet of the merged entity is expected to increase 55 vessels totalling 5.2 million deadweight tons after the addition of 8 Capesize vessels.
Stamatis Molaris, the Chief Executive Officer of Quintana and of the merged entity, commented for the transaction:
The Norton Rose team, which advised Quintana in conjunction with Morgan, Lewis & Bochius LLP, was led by Dimitri Sofianopoulos, and assisted by Kyriakos Spoullos, Theocharis Almpanidis and Ureshnie Papanastasiou. Specialist shipping litigation advice was provided by partner Marie Kelly who was assisted by Elisavet Papoutsi.
Citigroup Inc. provided financial advice to Quintana.
For further information please contact:
International Manager Partner - Greece
+30 210 947 5357 firstname.lastname@example.org
Christina Nomikou, public relations
+30 210 947 5430 email@example.com
Source: Norton Rose LLP, press release , 13 March 2008
Growth by Stealth
---LIQUID petroleum gas operator Stealthgas has confirmed $204M in acquisitions and orders that will add 10 vessels to the fleet by 2011.
Stealthgas ordered five Handysize LPG carriers from a Japanese yard for delivery from September 2010 to December 2011. The five will be three ships with 5,000m3 capacity and two with 7,500m3. Stealthgas also acquired four Handysize LPG carriers from an affiliate. They are being built in Japan for delivery from July 2008 to June 2009. The vessels are two with 5,000m3 capacity and two with 3,500m3.
This was a popular week for LPG ships. Naftomar was reported to have bought three 9,000m3 vessels; Emirates, two 6,500m3 ships; and Chemgas, two 2,700m3 vessels.
Source: Sale And Purchase, Fairplay International Shipping Weekly, 13 Mar 2008
TOP Ships' President & CEO comments on Fiscal Year 2007 Financial Results
2007 was a challenging year for the industry, one where we witnessed Suezmax charter rates plummet to their lowest level in five years. The strong
first quarter performance, together with the significant increase in the last part of the fourth quarter, were not enough to raise our annual suezmax spot average to more than $32,249 per vessel per day. Going forward in 2008, we remain confident of a healthy crude tanker rate environment, and a strong drybulk market performance, which if they do perform to our expectations, will enable us to significantly improve our operating cash-flow and restore us to profitability.
During the year, we invested the amount of $208 million to reduce our financial expenditure by re-acquiring four previously sold and leased back suezmaxes, a deal which is accretive by approximately $0.20 per share on a full year basis. Moreover, we unwound three additional leasing contracts, which in combination with the re-acquisition, have reduced our annual leasing obligations by approximately $47 million.
In July and August we entered into agreements totalling $370 million to acquire six drybulk vessels, three of which have time charters attached and three that are operating in the spot market. Despite the credit crunch, we were able to secure $292 million of senior and junior credit facilities for the deliveries of the vessels.
We started taking delivery during the fourth quarter and at the year-end we had taken delivery of three vessels, resulting in a small revenue contribution of approximately $3 million. To date we have taken delivery of five vessels and we expect to take delivery of the final drybulk by the end of April 2008. The values of all the drybulks have appreciated considerably and, as mentioned above, we expect significant operating cash-flow from these vessels in 2008.
In December 2007, we completed a $69 million equity offering of 24.2 million new shares. The offering took place during a very difficult period for the equity capital markets, but we managed to complete it with what we believe is the best possible outcome for the Company considering the circumstances. This equity offering permitted us to fund a portion of the acquisition cost related to our important six dry bulk vessel acquisition.
In January 2008, we agreed to a settlement with lead plaintiffs in the securities class action lawsuit pending against us since last year for a payment of approximately $1 million dollars to the plaintiffs, which will be funded entirely by our insurance. 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.
Today, our shareholders approved a 3:1 reverse stock split. We expect the effective date of the reverse split to be on March 20, 2008. We believe that the decrease in the number of our common shares outstanding as a consequence of the reverse split and the anticipated increase in the price per share will encourage greater interest in our shares by the financial community and the investor and possibly promote greater liquidity for our shareholders with respect of their holdings.
Finally we are entering into the 'steel cutting' phase of our Newbuildings, fully within the initial agreed schedule. We expect to start taking delivery of all six vessels within the first half of 2009, as per the original plan.
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 18 tankers, consisting of 10 double-hull Suezmax tankers and 8 double-hull Handymax tankers, with a total carrying capacity of approximately 1.8 million dwt, of which 85% are sister ships. Twelve of the Company's 18 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 five drybulk vessels with delivery of one additional drybulk vessel expected during March/April 2008. Including this vessel, three of the Company's six drybulk vessels will have period charter contracts for an average period of 18 months.
Probe into maritime accident
---The captain that ran the tour boat "Georgis" aground with 278 foreign tourists on board will be led before a Piraeus public prosecutor, the coast guard said on Friday. The accident, where the tourist vessel ran aground on Platia, an islet north of the island of Poros in the Saronic Gulf, occurred on Thursday in excellent weather conditions.
They said the captain will be charged with causing a shipwreck through negligence, as a misdemeanour.
According to statements taken by coast guard officers, Captain Antonis Spetsiotis was not on the bridge at the time of the accident while conditions at sea were fair and the boat was on a well-known route that it travelled daily.
On the bridge at the time were the "watch", consisting of the a junior officer and a seaman at the wheel, carrying out orders given to him by the officer.
The ship, which was carrying out a one-day cruise of the Saronic Gulf islands, is still grounded after all the passengers were safely evacuated on Thursday afternoon until the breach in its hull is sealed. The rescued passengers arrived at Piraeus late on Thursday evening.
Ports to pay 90 million euros for early retirement plan