Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 38 - 2008
Nigel Lowry, Athens - Tuesday 16 September 2008
The Carras (Hellas) offices in Piraeus were closed today in respect, and friends confirmed that the funeral was due to take place in the afternoon.
But the judges will have sentimentally wished to pay tribute to a long career that gave Mr Carras near legendary status in the industry.
One of a number of major shipowners to hail from the village of Kardamyla on the Aegean island of Chios, he began his career between the two World Wars, launching Carras Ltd in London in 1938 together with his father Michael Carras.
But he operated from the US during and after the Second World War and was able to secure one of the 100 Liberty freighters that revitalised the war ravaged Greek fleet.
He became well-known in the industry for a concentration on ordering high quality newbuildings and paying cash for them.
More than 40 newbuildings were delivered over several fleet renewal cycles, the most recent of which prior to the latest orders at Odense involved four capesizes in Korea in 1997 and five more in Japan in 2003.
Although in earlier decades Carras controlled a mixed fleet of bulkers and tankers, the fleet recently has been all-dry including 11 Greek flagged capesizes and a number of panamaxes.
Together with wife Athina he had four daughters, one of whom married another giant of Greek shipping, the late George P Livanos.
Greek seamen turn hoses on pirates, foil attack off Somalia - Summary
---Pireaus, Greece - A Greek ship foiled an attempted hijacking by heavily-armed pirates while sailing through the straits of Somalia on Thursday after the crew turned the ship's hoses on their attackers, the Ministry of Merchant Marine said. The Liberian-flagged freighter "Peter S," with 22 crew, was reportedly attacked by 12 pirates in four speedboats that attempted to board the ship, laden with a shipment of grain bound for Iran.
According to officials, the pirates' attempt to board the ship was foiled by the crew who knew they were sailing in dangerous waters and were on alert.
As soon as the pirates were sighted the crew turned the ship's hoses on them, bombarding them with hundreds of tons of water.
Earlier, armed pirates on Thursday successfully hijacked a Greek cargo ship carrying 25 crew off southern Somalia.
The bulk carrier carrying salt, known as the Centauri, was en route from Ethiopia to Kenya when it was attacked by five pirates, who were reportedly directing the ship toward Eyl and demanding a ransom.
All 25 crew members were said to be safe, Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau anti-piracy watchdog said in Malaysia. It was attacked about 370 kilometres off Mogadishu, Choong said.
The latest incident showed Somali pirates have expanded their area of attack from the country's northern coast in the Gulf of Aden to Somalia's eastern coast.
"If nothing is done to deter the pirates, we are going to see a lot more attacks," he said.
Pirates have captured dozens of ships around the Horn of Africa this year, making the waters off Somalia the most dangerous in the world.
The latest to be attacked, a Maltese-flagged ship, belongs to the Greek shipping company Maritime, whose headquarters are located in Glyfada, a southern coastal suburb near Athens.
The Greek ship had been due in Mombasa Friday to discharge its cargo, news reports said.
Operating out of strife-torn Somalia, pirates attack vessels using major commercial shipping routes. In the past two months, they seized 13 ships in the Gulf of Aden, bringing the total number of reported attacks off Somalia this year to 55.
According to the East African Seafarers' Association, more than 200 people and 16 ships are currently in the hands of criminal groups.
"We call upon the United Nations and the international community to take action to stop these attacks before they get out of control," Choong said, speaking at the bureau's Kuala Lumpur office, where the London-based body operates a 24-hour piracy reporting centre.
The bureau noted in its quarterly report that Somalia recorded the highest number of piracy attacks in the world with 24 cases, followed by Nigeria with 18 cases.
The centre has urged greater international efforts in stemming the activities of the pirates, who are seen to be using increasingly violent methods of attack.
Earlier this week, French forces rescued two seamen held for ransom by pirates.
In an effort to protect ships, Spain also said Wednesday that it planned to send military aircraft to patrol in the waters off the coast of Somalia.
Source: Posted : Thu, 18 Sep 2008 15:38:05 GMT, Author : DPA , http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/232818,greek-seamen-turn-hoses-on-pirates-foil-attack-off-somalia.html
Message by Papaligouras to Greek seamen
---Merchant Marine, Aegean and Island Policy Minister Anastasios Papaligouras addressed a message to Greek seamen on Thursday on the occasion of the celebration of World Maritime Day 2008, stressing that the government "is continuing its efforts to develop competitiveness which is currently a one-way path." The minister added that this is "necessitated by international developments and the challenges of the times, with respect to the environment, the continuing destruction of which constitutes one of the greatest problems." Papaligouras further said that the "splendid course of Greek shipping would not have been possible without the contribution of the Greek seamen," adding that protection and backing for Greek seamen was a priority for the government and "for this reason it has taken measures to combat unemployment among seamen and to upgrade maritime training."
PM opens World Maritime event
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis praised the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for its contribution to reducing maritime accidents as well as for its sensitivity on matters of environmental protection, during an event in Athens marking the IMO's 60th anniversary and the annual World Maritime Day, which is observed this year on September 25.
Opening the event, which was organized by the Merchant Marine ministry at the Evgenidio Foundation, Karamanlis described the IMO as "an example of multi-sided and institutional cooperation".
Karamanlis pledged that Greece would assist IMO in every way towards attracting young people to the maritime sector, and support efforts for speedy introduction of new technologies.
Stressing that it was an honor for Greece to be hosting the events celebrating World Maritime Day, the prime minister reiterated that Greece would back IMO's efforts in very way.
Greetings were also addressed by merchant marine minister Anastasis Papaligouras, who stressed that IMO was successfully meeting the demands of the times.
The official international celebration of World Maritime Day is the traditional diplomatic reception held annually at IMO's headquarters in London, with national events taking place in many countries throughout the world, but since 2005 an official parallel celebration is hosted in a different IMO member country each year, with Greece the host of the official parallel events of the 2008 celebration.
The past host cities have been Lisbon, Singapore and Sao Paolo.
IMO secretary general Efthimios Mitropoulos, addressing the event, noted that this year it was Athens' turn to host the parallel celebration, adding that it was a pleasant conjuncture that IMO was celebrating its 60th anniversary in the service of maritime, in 2008, in a country with a top maritime tradition.
Mitropoulos stressed the strong environmental awareness of modern-day shipping and pledged that one of IMO's fundamental priorities will be to reduce gas emissions by merchant vessels, while he also outlined IMO's significant initiatives for combating the phenomenon of modern-day ship piracy.
The parallel celebration closes on Saturday with special events in Galaxidi.
The United Nations (UN), via the International Maritime Organization (IMO), created World Maritime Day to celebrate the international maritime industry's contribution towards the world's economy, especially in shipping. The event's date varies by year and country but it is always on the last week of September. The IMO will celebrate World Maritime Day on September 25 in 2008.
The theme for World Maritime Day 2008 is "IMO: 60 years in the service of shipping". This theme was chosen as an appropriate way in which to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the IMO Convention (1948) and the 50th anniversary of its entry into force (1958). The celebrations will coincide with the 100th session of the IMO Council, which will be held from 16 to 20 June 2008 and, at the same time, with the Organization's return to its refurbished Headquarters building.
Source: Athens News Agency, Greece - Sep 19, 2008
Livanos to be Remembered at World Maritime Day Event
---Thursday, September 18, 2008
The North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) will posthumously honor George P. Livanos; and his proteges will pay tribute to their mentor at the first North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) Awards Dinner being held in conjunction with the 2008 World Maritime Day Observance on October 23rd. George P. Livanos was the founder of the MEPA Movement just over 25 years ago.
Three of his proteges will join together on October 23rd to sponsor the dinner and honor his contributions to their careers and, to a much greater extent, the worldwide commercial maritime industry. Nick Fistes of GrandUnion/NewFront, Nicholas Livanos of Kyla Shipping and Christopher Bastis of SeaGroup will offer their reflections of the man and his profound influence.
A lifetime achievement award will be presented by NAMEPA to the family of George P. Livanos.
The NAMEPA Environment Awards Dinner is being held at the Union League Club in New York on October 23rd. For table reservations and information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Germans and Greeks are scaling back dramatically.
---Greek and German shipowners, the biggest players on the world shipbuilding scene, continue to slash their investment in newbuildings.
German owners have been shaken by declining boxship-charter returns, while the Greeks, despite being cash rich, have drawn in their horns as freight rates take a buffeting.
Clarkson Research Services (CRS) reckons investments by Greek owners are on course to slump 41% this year, as compared with a record-breaking 2007. Globally, orders are heading for an annual fall of around 35%.
Piraeus-based shipbroker George Banos of G Moundreas & Co says the Greek belt-tightening has continued into the second half of the year. Figures compiled by the broker from the first six months already pointed to a 50% annual fall. "Investment will be substantially less than last year," he said.
CRS says that up to the end of August, Greek owners were behind deals worth $14.3bn. If this continues, the year-end total could tumble to $21.6bn, as compared with $36.6bn for all of 2007.
The actual number of ships booked, with almost two-thirds of the year gone, is 154, as against last year's total of 642.
As far as the Germans are concerned, CRS in its latest World Shipyard Monitor says investment is heading for a 36% full-year drop.
Up to the end of August, German owners had booked 248 vessels worth $13.6bn, indicating a final total for the year of $20.6bn.
Compare this with 2007, when Germany booked 593 newbuildings costing $32.1bn - a year when both it and Greece far outstripped third-placed China's $18.9bn of investments.
Totally bucking the trend is Denmark, where owners have so far this year ordered 101 ships costing $5.6bn and are on course to beat last year's $4.6bn total by a massive 85%, according to CRS statistics.
Banos tells TradeWinds that the Greek slowdown of the first semester persisted during July and August and may even have worsened.
First-half investment was down from $16.8bn to $8.2bn with tankers and bulkers falling by half to 12.5 million dwt. Numbers-wise, the decline was even more severe, slumping from 303 newbuildings in the same period a year ago to 119.
Both Banos and CRS blame this partly on the scarcity of newbuilding slots. Yards have bulging orderbooks and have been under less pressure to market aggressively, says CRS. The London broking house adds that investment has also been influenced by the "current downward movement in freight rates and the ongoing impact of the credit crunch on the world economy".
It says German owners are also likely to have been "disproportionately affected by the more dubious global financial situation". Many German boxship contracts depend heavily on raising equity, coupled with bank finance, through the KG (limited partnership) system.
Hamburg-based broker Zachariassen also reflects this week on the continued slide in box period rates across most categories. KG houses are less willing to invest, adds CRS.
Long lead times, "substantially" higher prices driven by rising steel and equipment costs and rising wages in China are all contributing, says Banos. It is too early, however, to be specific on the full-year drop in Greek orders.
Banos says on the ordering side most Greek interest, until three or four months ago, was on the dry-bulk front but in recent months the market has seen a "drastic" switch into tankers, particularly larger vessels.
This is despite prices having risen for VLCCs to between $155m and $165m, described by Banos as "a very high figure".
But the Greek broker is not all doom and gloom. He and colleagues at George Moundreas expect a near-term improvement in the freight markets that will be reflected in orders and acquisitions generally, he says.
Banos points to Cosco's recent demonstration of faith in dry bulk including its fixing this week of a capesize for 10 years at a reported $52,000 per day. "In my view, this is quite a high figure, taking into consideration the duration of the charter," he said.
Geoff Garfield London, published: 18 September 2008
Hamburg Greeks pledge to stay
From a broader perspective it looked like the perfect symbiosis when Greek-Canadian shipowner Hellespont settled down in Hamburg in 2004. The tankers it introduced to the market struck a chord with German private investors that were asking for diversification of the heavily container-focused KG product shelf.
The next two years will see the growth of its German-managed fleet from 15 to at least 29 vessels as it explores new opportunities in the chemical tanker and offshore vessel sectors. All ships are financed in association with KG house HCI Capital, also a 25% shareholder in its ship management arm, Hellespont Hammonia.
By 2010, Hellespont will have a fleet of 11 chemical carriers ranging from 13,000 to 17,000dwt that will be operated in the spot market.
Opinion is split on whether KG vessels can be placed out in an international pool, which would certainly be the most convenient solution for this vessel type. Hellespont takes a cautious view on this issue. Keen to avoid locking horns with the German tax authority, it is seeking a domestic solution, perhaps in concert with other German owners.
Despite the disconnect of newbuilding prices and period hire rates, the company continues to scour the market for worthy projects. Further additions of platform supply vessels and anchor handling tugs could take the fleet beyond 30 in the coming years.
Source: Fairplay International Shipping Weekly - Feature 18 Sep 2008
Aries Maritime Q2 Earnings Rise On Vessel Sales - Update
---(RTTNews) - International shipping company, Aries Maritime Transport Ltd. (RAMS: News ) reported Thursday an increase in second quarter net income, benefiting from the sale of three oldest vessels. Revenues for the period declined over the prior-year quarter.
The Athens, Greece-based company reported second quarter net income of US$13.1 million or US$0.46 per share, compared to net income of US$4.2 million or US$0.15 per share in the second quarter of last year.
However, net income from continuing operations declined to US$1.7 million or US$0.06 per share from US$5.4 million or US$0.19 per share in the same period of last year. On average, 3 analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial expected the company to earn US$0.04 per share.
The most recent quarter results benefited from the sale of the company's three old vessels, the Energy 1, MSC Oslo, and the Arius, which resulted in a profit of US$13.6 million. The results for these vessels are reported as discontinued operations.
In addition, the results for the second quarter included an unrealized gain of US$3.6 million from the change in the fair value of derivatives. The year-ago quarter results included an unrealized gain of US$2.2 million from the aforementioned derivatives.
Quarterly revenues declined to US$19.3 million from US$21.3 million in the preceding year. Excluding deferred revenue due to the assumption of charters associated with certain vessel acquisitions, total revenues for the quarter were US$18.1 million. The company attributed the decrease in revenue to lower utilization rates. Wall Street analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of US$23.82 million.
Vessel operating days, or the total days the vessels were in the company's possession, were flat at 1,092. Total actual revenue days, or the total days the vessels were not out of service, declined to 1,038 from 1,065 in the preceding year.
For the six-month period, the company reported a net income of US$6.3 million or US$0.22 per share, compared to a net income of US$4.8 million or US$0.17 per share in the same period of last year. Revenues for the first six months decreased to US$39.3 million from US$43.3 million in the year-ago period.
The company currently operates a fleet of nine double-hull products tankers and three container ships.
RAMS is currently trading on Nasdaq at $2.30, up $0.06 or 2.68%, on a volume of 14,712 shares.
by RTT Staff Writer
Source: 9/18/2008 10:23 AM ET, RTTNews
GO Carriers quits AIM but not the capital markets
---GO Carriers may have turned its back on the London stock market but still sees a public listing positively. Indeed, GO Carriers is poised for growth after successfully exiting London's AIM market with a view to improving the fleet's quality and profile with a future listing in mind.
"As of today the company operates seven dry bulk carriers, one handysize, four handymaxes, two panamaxes and one capsize vessel. What we need to do is to renew the fleet, by selling the older vessels," said GO Carriers' ceo, Michalis Tartsinis.
"I expect two or three of the older ships becoming available through the second-hand market and being replaced by up to four modern vessels, thus radically improving our fleet's quality and profile. This will allow us to offer a much more attractive company to potential investors, should we decide in the future to go public in some other stockmarket, probably in the US," Tartsinis is reported as telling Hellenic Shipping News.
GO Carriers was the first shipping company to float an IPO when in mid-2005 in difficult market conditions it raised Stg 22.47m. In June the decision was taken to exit the market and seek alternative means of expanding in the dry bulk business. "GO Carriers was the first shipping company to enter London's stockmarket through AIM and also the first to delist its shares from it. We went ahead with this decision, because of the state of the stockmarket, as well as the company's overall structure, in terms of investment capital structure, which did not offer a substantial free float. This posed problems in the liquidity and overall trading of the company's stocks. Also, AIM market and the London market in general were a bit shallow, not providing a wider range of access to investors, who would finance a shipping company's much needed fleet expansion, while also the company's valuation wasn't reflecting its true value" said Tartsinis.
A public offer was made to minority shareholders through Newport Holdings, an entity set up by GO Carriers' major shareholders ? Tartsinis, Antonis Nikolaou and ship owner Kriton Lentoudis ? which already owned 75% of the company's shares.
"The premium we offered was received well by our minor shareholders, which allowed us to gather 98.3% of the company's shares. The remaining percentage will be retrieved by the way of squeeze-out" said Tartsinis.
Marine Money reports on Jefferies 5th Annual Shipping, Logistics & Offshore Services Conference
We must confess that walking in at the uncivilized hour of 8 AM to a sparse crowd and seeing Jefferies Magic Eight Balls gave us pause.
Was Hamish making a market statement or was he merely giving investors a new forecasting tool? Our conclusion was probably both.
Not surprisingly the early crowd was quiet and subdued, perhaps tired and/or overwhelmed by the 500 point drop in the Dow the day before, but as the clock reached the more civilized hour of 9:30, which interestingly corresponded to the opening of the markets, the rooms began to fill with investors who appeared very interested in the opportunities the various companies presented. By 11:30 it was standing room only at the presentations with only a mere handful glued to CNBC and the Bloomberg terminals provided at the conference. Perhaps investors were beginning to differentiate our industry with its simple model from the sound and the fury of the BDI and the rest of the detritus on Wall Street. Yet many of the investors remain cautious not yet convinced that the China story will hold and the oversupply of tonnage will be absorbed. As is our wont, we present below our personal favorite outtakes from the various presentations.
Unfortunately Jefferies made it difficult for us with 25 presentations on the first day divided into two tracks. Despite our overriding interest in and desire to see everything we had to make choices.
Being a shipping company in London is a double whammy.
Hellenic is a little different from its peers. Focusing on Panamax and Supramax sizes, its vessels, which are mainly built in Japan and of high specification, tend to be more middle aged with a fleet average of 12.4 years. Also the company focuses on medium term charters of 1 to 3 years but with staggered deliveries. Like other owners its operating costs are rising reflecting increased crew costs, consumables and higher insurance premiums due to increased valuations.
Hellenic also has a positive view of bulk fundamentals pointing out that one year time charter rates are higher than spot rates. This is a
clear indicator of market confidence in his estimation.
With the shortest history as a public company, Safe Bulkers was the next company to present with Mr. Polys Hajioannou doing the honors. The company, which is mainly focused on the Panamax size, including Panamax, Post-Panamax and Kamsarmax, has 11 ships on the water with 9 newbuildings to be delivered by 2010. The fleet has an average age of 3.3 years and like Hellenic they prefer high specification ships from Japanese yards. The newbuildings will be financed with debt, approximately $30 million per vessel and internally generated cash flow. Unlike its peers, Safe Bulkers has an unusual chartering policy in that it tries to take advantage of the spot market by fixing forward term employment. The company also owns to Capes, but realizing it cannot compete with the big players it has fixed one for 10 years and the other for 20 years.
Providing a historical perspective, Mr. Hajioannou also got a chuckle from the audience when he wondered why people were complaining about a weak market when a Cape is earning $75,000 and a Panamax $45,000 per day.
Angeliki Frangou and Ted Petrone presented the case for Navios Maritime Holdings. For us, one of the most interesting slides was on their flexible business model. In a nutshell, the core fleet provides the visible EBITDA, while the risk management business provides spot exposure through spot business, COAs and FFAs. Stable cash flows are sourced from the South American logistics business, which because of commodity pricing is a spread business and its MLP, Navios Partners. The latter not only provides Navios with cash flow from the dividend and eventually the IDRs, but also provides profits from the dropdowns to grow the parent without dilution.
Industry fundamentals are sound. The forward time charter curves are in contango, the urbanization graph shows a growing middle
Following on the heels of that presentation was Jeff Pribor of General Maritime who had glad tidings for his investors. After four years at Jefferies conferences explaining the lack of growth/investment opportunities for Genmar and why it was returning cash to shareholders, Mr Pribor was happy to announce that the end of the down cycle was approaching and Genmar was well-positioned for the upturn. This was clearly evident in their recent stock for stock acquisition of Arlington Tankers.
Finally, there is no substitute for the long-term view than actual rates and customers are willing to pay to have a tanker for three years.
Michael Bodouroglou, Chairman and CEO of Paragon Shipping, perhaps summed up the conference best in his opening remarks when he said that he woke up thinking it was pretty nasty out there but then thought how lucky he was to be in shipping. Given the broad meltdown, the jury is still out. But we suspect that at the end of the day simple will be in and sexy out.
Source: www.marinemoney.com, Freshly Minted weekly news letter. 18 Sep. 2008