Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 03 - 2009
In fact, despite his poor health, the magnate himself is allegedly in close contact with his captors, playing a key role in the negotiations. At the same time, the police manhunt to identify the armed gang continued. Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens and all Greece also called on the kidnappers to release Pericles Panagopoulos.
However, time is running out, since Panagopoulos has to take his medicines every two hours and follow a specific diet. The fact that the kidnappers left the medication on the car means that they were in complete ignorance of his serious health problems or they did it on purpose to blackmail the family.
Police fear for health of kidnapped Panagopulos
---Nigel Lowry and Paul Tugwell - Monday 12 January 2009
Pericles Panagopulos: founded Attica Group
A MASSIVE police hunt has been mounted by Greek police following the armed abduction of leading shipowner Pericles Panagopulos shortly after leaving his home early this morning.
Mr Sardelis said that one of the men told the shipowner not to be afraid and that their objective was his money, local reports said.
There has been no further information about any ransom demands but police have already indicated that they will want to keep a tight lid on developments as the case unfolds.
A police spokesman, however, stated that there are concerns about the health of the 74-year-old shipowner who, after undergoing a major operation three years ago, was said to require daily pharmaceutical treatment.
Mr Panagopulos heads a parallel industry organisation, the Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies.
Active in both passenger and dry bulk shipping, he is probably best known as the founder in the 1970s of Royal Cruise Line, which he eventually sold to Norwegians, and in the 1990s of Attica Group, which built up the Superfast Ferries and Blue Star Ferries fleets.
He has continued to be active in dry bulk through family company Magna Marine.
Immediate family includes his wife Katerina, son Alex and daughter Irini.
The abduction appears to have been well planned in advance, according to Greek police.
Mangouras court ruling could increase risk of politically influenced bail requirements
---15 Jan 2009. THE London P&I Club has warned that the January 8 decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg in the case of Capt Apostolos Mangouras, the master of the Prestige, could seriously increase the risk of bail requirements being influenced by political considerations. It adds that the ECtHR has seemingly failed to understand that the provision of bail for criminal charges falls outside the ordinary scope of P&I cover, and has furthermore sought to justify itself by reference to EU legislation which post-dates the Prestige incident.
Capt Mangouras was arrested immediately upon arrival ashore after battling for days to save the 81,000 dwt tanker Prestige after it broke apart and sank off the coast of Spain in 2002 in an incident which led to extensive pollution following the release into the sea of 70,000 tonnes of fuel oil. He spent 83 days in prison and was only released upon payment of bail amounting to Euro3m.
The Prestige was entered for marine liability insurance coverage with the London P&I Club which, given the exceptional circumstances of the case, and the probability that any legal challenge was likely to take some considerable time, took the unprecedented decision in January 2003 to assist Capt Mangouras in establishing bail on humanitarian grounds. The Club says the level of bail set was so extraordinarily high that there was no prospect of Capt Mangouras or his family being able to raise it from their own resources.
Capt Mangouras is understood to be actively considering an appeal against the ECtHR judgment.
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FROM THE MARKETPLACE
* Operators of Greek passenger ships are to team up with officials from the Marine, Aegean and Island Policy ministry and representatives of other interested parties to form a committee to examine the creation of an Attica port system aimed at facilitating a better operating infrastructure for passenger shipping. Officials from the ports of Piraeus, Lavrion and Elefsis will be involved. Establishment of the committee was agreed at a meeting led by ministry secretary general in charge of ports and port policy, George Vlachos and Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) md Nicos Anastassopoulos and attened by representatives of both the Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies and the Association of Greek Coastal Shipping Companies. Special attention will be paid to the further development of Drapetsona as a passenger ship port and Lavrion as a ferry port, in a bid to free-up Piraeus.
* Pendulum Shipmanagement has been fined $1.3m in the US after pleading guilty to violating pollution laws. Acting US Attorney Laurie Magid said in Philadelphia that crew on the 14,600dwt, 1980-built bulker Quantum had falsified the ship's oil record book, which tracks the discharge of oily waste. Prosecutors said the crew falsified records provided to the US Coast Guard (USCG) at Phildelphia on July 3, 2008, and obstructed a USCG inspection of the ship. It was claimed that in an effort to hide the contamination of the ballast system, crew installed a false hose into a ballast tank sounding tube that was closed at one end and filled with sea water to make it appear the ballast tank contained clean water when, in fact, it was contaminated with fuel oil. Plus the fine, US District Judge Berle Schiller sentenced the company to a special assessment, three years of probation, and ordered it to implement an Environmental Compliance Plan. At least two crew members have been charged in the case and could face jail time and hefty fines.
* Somali pirates have, over the past week, freed a number of hijacked ships. Release of the Vela-controlled VLCC Sirus Star, 318,000dwt, built 2008 and its crew of 25 reportedly after a ransom of $3m was paid was followed by the 82,900dwt Turkish bulker Yasa Neslihan, built 2007, and its 20 crew and full cargo of iron ore, though the ransom sum was not disclosed. Release of the 1986-built, 43,300dwt Delight came the same week. It is unclear if any ransom was paid to release the Hong Kong-flagged vessel two months after its capture. All 25 crew were well and the cargo of wheat, destined for Iran from Germany, untouched, owner IRISL told Iranian media. A South Korea-owned 58,700dwt supramax was the fourth vessel to be freed when the bulker African Sanderling, built 2008, was released along with its 21 Filipino crew, with any ransom payment kept quiet. A ransom was paid to secure the release the 1994-built 7,300dwt multi-purpose Clipper ship CEC Future. The Bahamas-flagged ship and 13 crew were freed early January 15 after an unknown ransom was given to the pirates by airdrop. "All the crew members have been accounted for and are uninjured," said a Clipper statement. Most likely next candidate for release by Somali pirates is the Philippines-flagged 33,200dwt chemtanker Stolt Strength, built 1999, seized November 10 with 23 crew. onboard. Other chemical units - the Panama-flagged, 19,500-dwt Chemstar Venus, built 1999 with its 23 crew and Yardimci of Turkey's 6,000dwt chemtanker Karago, built 2007 could be among the next to be freed. The 9,019dwt Belize-flagged, Ukrainian ro-ro Faina, built 1978, laden with military tanks and associated weaponry, remains captive along with its crew of 20 since September 25.
* Cost of war-risk insurance, a hardening in the marine insurance market and the general economic climate has led the Hellenic Mutual War Risks Association to increase 2009 tariffs by 5%. Additional premiums to buy back cover to send ships into some 25 higher risk areas are also being increased.
PEOPLE & PLACES
* As a further recognition of his services to teaching and research, Costas Grammenos was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth in her UK New Year's Honours List. Grammenos, 65, who is Pro Vice-Chancellor of London's City University, and deputy dean, head of the undergraduate school of Cass Business School, was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, (OBE) in 1994. He started his career in the National Bank of Greece in 1962 and held various posts as a financial shipping expert with the bank until he joined City University in 1982 and his accomplishments since then were recognised by Cass Business School in 2007 when it re-named its International Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance, the Costas Grammenos International Centre for Shipping. Also made a Commander by the Queen in recognition of his services to shipping, was David Moorhouse, chairman of classification society, Lloyd's Register (LR).
* In conjunction with the Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Piraeus' annual pitta cutting reception, a number of financial scholarships were awarded to Greek students in recognition of their achievements. Prior to the awards at the January 11 pitta cutting at the Grande Bretagne Hotel, Athens, club second vp president Christos Kokkinis explained that one of the main objectives of the club is to provide scholarships to worthy Greek students. Marine, Aegean and Island Policy deputy minister, Panos Kammenos presented scholarships to: Alexios Economopoulos, graduate of the Academy of Merchant Marine of Aspropyrgos and to Elias Pantelaros, student of the shipping department of the Aegean University located in the island of Chios. Kokkinis presented a scholarship to Nikolaos Kazakeas, student of the American Community Schools; Apostolos Doukas, Regional vp for Southern Europe and Africa, presented a cheque to Ioannis Ladas, student of the American College of Greece; and Woodward Price, Economic Counselor of the American Embassy in Athens, presented a cheque to the representative of the American Farm School of Thessaloniki, Joan Ryding. Further, winners of the national essay contest, conducted by the Port of Piraeus Club, on the occasion of Hellenic Maritime Day, were awarded, with Markos Foros, International Second vp of the International Propeller Club of the United States, presenting Konstantinos Mantzivis, student of High School of Epitalio, an award of Euros 1,500 made in memory of Antonis Chandris; Euro 1,000 went to Maria Tsiami, from the 3rd High School of Thermi-Eastern Thessaloniki; and Euro 500, went to Vassiliki Vasilopoulou of the 2nd High School of Chios. The choir of the American Community Schools and the dancing group of the American College of Greece provided entertainment.
* London law firm Waterson Hicks has established an office in Piraeus, with lawyer Dominic Hurst joining the firm and handling the start-up. Hurst has worked for many years in the maritime law and P&I sectors, and for the last five years has been in Piraeus. Partner John Hicks has a long connection with the Greek community and will continue to have, visiting from London on a regular basis.
Bank loans to the international shipping sector are in excess of $500 billion, according to data from Merrill Lynch.
With regard to Greek shipping, loans total some $75 billion, of which $17 billion come from Greek banks.
Alpha Bank comes second with $2.6 billion, followed by National and Marfin, which are exposed to the tune of $2.39 billion and $2.25 billion respectively.
A number of Greek and foreign banks have issued loans to shipping companies that have yet to be drawn down due to the global crisis.
Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. Acquires Double-Hull Bunkering Tanker
---Further Expands Bunkering Fleet to Meet Increased Demand for Modern Tonnage in Greece; Redeploys Two Double-Hull Bunkering Tankers
PIRAEUS, Greece, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (NYSE: ANW) today announced that it has taken delivery of the Hana, a 1992-built 1,615 dwt double-hull bunkering tanker to be renamed the Ace Hana, following the Company's agreement to purchase the vessel from an unrelated third party. The Ace Hana is expected to be deployed to the Company's Greek market.
E. Nikolas Tavlarios, President, commented, "With the strategic acquisition of the Ace Hana, Aegean has once again strengthened its position to capitalize on the regulatory phase-out of single-hull vessels and meet the unfulfilled demand for the Company's integrated marine fuel services. Our latest vessel will be deployed to our Greek market and serve the busy port of Piraeus, where the phase-out of single-hull vessels is now complete. In addition to the Ace Hana, we have deployed two 2,747 dwt double-hull bunkering tankers, the Aegean Tiffany and the Aegean Breeze, from Singapore to Greece to take full advantage of the double-hull requirements and strengthen our growth prospects in this attractive market."
Mr. Tavlarios concluded, "Aegean owns and operates the largest double-hull bunkering delivery fleet in the world. As we continue to expand our leading competitive position, we expect to further enhance Aegean's global market share for the timely supply of quality marine fuel and significantly increase sales volumes."
Hellenic Carriers Limited Fleet Deployment Update
Press Release 12 January 2009
M/V HELLENIC BREEZE TIME CHARTER EXTENDED FOR TWO YEARS AT US$24,000 PER DAY
Additionally, Nestos has the option to terminate the charter from 1st June 2010 with prior notice of 50 days to the charterers.
The M/V Hellenic Breeze is a 69,601 dwt Panamax built in 1993 at Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Yard in Japan and was time chartered in May 2008 for a period of 11 to 13 months to Rizzo Bottiglirieri De Carlini Spa at a gross rate of US$71,000 per day.
The deployment of the Hellenic managed fleet is available at http://www.hellenic-carriers.com/files/hc_12_01_09.pdf
About Hellenic Carriers Limited
Hellenic Carriers Limited manages through Hellenic Shipmanagement Corp. a fleet of dry bulk vessels that transport iron ore, coal, grain, steel products, cement, alumina, and other dry bulk cargoes worldwide. Currently the fleet consists of six vessels, comprising four Panamaxes, one Supramax and one Handymax with an aggregate carrying capacity of 372,761 dwt.
Louis backs British plan to pump out Sea Diamond oil
---Nigel Lowry, Athens - Friday 16 January 2009
Previously, the company had played down hopes of removing residues of oil from the ship, which is lying off Santorini at a depth of about 130 m.
After the cruiseship hit a submerged reef close to the shore of the popular tourist island in April 2007, a clean up of several months was pronounced a success and some 300 tonnes of the 410 tonnes of oil onboard was estimated to have been removed.
The company said the initiative was intended to help maintain the environment and assist the people of Santorini, but should not be interpreted as accepting responsibility for the accident or its consequences.
A report on the accident by court appointed experts recently appeared to cast most of the blame on erroneous official charts of the area.
The trio of experts recommended rechecking the accuracy of navigational charts used for approaching other Greek bays and harbours, giving priority to islands with rocky seabeds or rated as particularly difficult or hazardous.
They also proposed better marking of hazards close to approaches to piers, buoys or roads with simple, easy to maintain means such as used in the Norwegian fjords.
Other recommendations of the report included traffic management systems for busier ports, limiting the number of ships allowed to call at one time, stand-by tugs, greater clarity of responsibilities in an emergency when more than one authority participates, and more emergency drills on shore and on board vessels.
Shipping company fined for polluting river Philadelphia Business Journal
---Tuesday, January 13, 2009, 2:05pm EST
Greek ship manager Pendulum Shipmanagement Inc. pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating U.S. pollution control laws and was fined $1.3 million by federal prosecutors in Philadelphia.
Federal and international law require that ships comply with certain pollution regulations to ensure the proper handling and disposal of such oil-contaminated materials. More specifically, owners, operators and crew of ships must process oily wastes through a piece of pollution-prevention equipment, called an Oily Water Separator, prior to discharge into the ocean.
Large vessels generate significant quantities of oily waste from various mechanical operations, including when oil leaks and drips from machinery and engines into the bottom of a vessel and mixes with water.
Such oily bilge waste may properly be disposed of by off-loading to a disposal facility in a port for a fee, or by discharging it overboard after it has been processed through the separator which acts like a large filter.
Federal law further requires that ships record accurately the disposal of oily waste and oil-contaminated ballast water in the record book that must be available for inspection when the ship enters a U.S. port.
In addition to the fine, U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller immediately sentenced the company to a $1,600 special assessment, three years of probation, and ordered it to implement an Environmental Compliance Plan.
At least two crew members were charged in the case and could face jail time and hefty fines.
The case was investigated by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division.
Gaza-Bound Vessel Threatened by Israeli Warships
---Carrying peace activists, doctors and medical supplies for the embattled Gaza Strip, Greek-flagged aid boat ARION was forced to turn back to Larnaca's port, Cyprus, after Israeli warships threatened to open fire.
According to the ARION captain, three Israeli warships approached the boat, which was 92 nautical miles away from Cape Greco, and flashed their lights on ARION, its visibility field. Using loudspeakers, the Israelis then threatened to open fire if the boat continued sailing towards Gaza.
Source: Express.gr 15/01/09-12:44
Karamanlis says not allow US arms to Israel via Greek ports
---Friday, 16 January 2009 16:55
Shipping charters showed the U.S. military was seeking a vessel to deliver 325 standard 20-foot containers of ammunition from Astakos to Israel as the offensive in Gaza is remaining.
Greece has not allowed the shipment of U.S. arms to Israel through its ports despite a request from the U.S. military in November, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Friday.
Reports that the U.S. Navy wanted to ship ammunition from the western Greek port of Astakos to stockpile in Israel caused an outcry this week from the opposition and media in Greece, where the Gaza conflict is deeply unpopular.
A Pentagon spokesman said on Tuesday the shipment to the stockpile had been cancelled at the request of the Greek government.
"Last November, when there was no conflict in the region, the American side raised an issue of transporting arms from the Astakos port," Karamanlis told parliament.
"The ship came close to Astakos port at the beginning of this month, but they did not have permission from the Merchant Marine Ministry, so the shipment did not take place."
Shipping charters obtained by Reuters showed the U.S. military was seeking a vessel to deliver 325 standard 20-foot containers of ammunition on two separate journeys from Astakos to the southern Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.
Greece's opposition Socialist party (PASOK), which holds a poll lead after rioting in Greek cities last month triggered by the police killing of a teenager, said on Tuesday that government allowed arms shipments for more than a year.
Responding to a parliamentary question from PASOK about alleged shipments dating back to September 2007, Karamanlis said: "I dismiss this totally. There haven't been any shipments ... This has not happened at Astakos, or any other Greek port."
He added: "Finally, I am emphasising the need for an end to what is happening in Gaza."
Israeli strikes killed more than 1100 Palestinians in three weeks of fighting in Gaza. Three of the victims are children. Talks were in progress on Friday on a possible truce.
On Wednesday, Amnesty International called for a complete arms embargo on all parties in the conflict and urged the Greek government not to allow its ports to be used to ferry munitions to Israel.
Liberty Ship Due to Arrive in Greece
---Posted on Monday, January 12 @ 11:50:11 EST by greek_news
Greece World War II vessel was donated for use as a floating museum
More than 2,000 Liberty Ships were constructed in US shipyards beginning in 1942 to support the war effort. They were the first ships to be built using production line methods that resulted in a four day construction process for each ship. Although the Liberties were designed as cargo ships that could be built quickly and cheaply to meet immediate wartime needs, they proved to be very resilient and long-lasting. About two-thirds of all cargo shipped from the U.S. during World War II was shipped on Liberty Ships and more than 200 were sunk by enemy action.
After the war ended, many Liberty Ships were purchased by Greece to build up a merchant fleet which had been decimated by World War II and to deliver food, medicine and supplies in the crucial Cold War years.
The Huddell was launched on December 7, 1943 and within a year was converted to lay gas pipeline across the English channel to supply fuel to the Allied forces after the D-Day landings. The Huddell subsequently worked as a cable layer in commercial service after the war.
Seacrest Shipping owner Spyros Polemis played a vital role in working with Raptakis and other legislators to initiate the Liberty Ship Project. After working to educate members of Congress about the project, project supporters won passage of a bill to facilitate the donation of the vessel. But it took months of work and meetings with American and Greek government officials to overcoming bureaucratic hurdles and raise money as part of a campaign to create a public/private partnership to give the Huddell new life.
In June of 2008, the final transfer of the vessel to Greece was finalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the US and Greece, by the United States Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton and Greek Minister of Merchantile Marine George Voulgarakis.
The vessel has been re-named Hellas Liberty and its new home will be in Faliron Harbor, near Piraeus, Greece. The hope is that the vessel will be placed alongside two famous Greek ships anchored there, the armed cruiser Georgios Averof, the flagship of the Royal Hellenic Navy during most of the first half of the 20th century and the destroyer Velos, a former American vessel given to Greece in 1959 which sailed for a time in the Greek Navy.
Waterson Hicks and Ince & Co set sights on more Piraeus work
---Two London law firms are beefing up their Piraeus presence in anticipation of disputes blossoming in current market conditions,
Solicitors Waterson Hicks recently opened a Piraeus office for the first time ever, despite long connections with the Greek market, and are inviting clients and friends to check out their new premises toward the end of this month.
Dominic Hurst has joined Waterson Hicks after some 15 years in the maritime-law and protection-and-indemnity (P&I) sectors. He has worked in Piraeus for the past five years and is handling the start-up. "The idea is to expand slowly but surely,"he said.
Partner John Hicks, who has had connections with the Greek market for some 30 years, will make even more frequent visits to Piraeus than previously, while admiralty manager Stuart Parkin will also be a regular caller at the Greek office. "This market has been incredibly loyal to us as a firm, we have many friends here and we thoroughly enjoy working within this lively community where there is never a dull day," Hicks said.
Meanwhile, Ince & Co, which has advised on English law matters in Piraeus since 1993, has boosted its operation with a team of Greek lawyers.
Litigators and advocates George Iatridis and Dimitris Kapsis and lawyers Dimitris Ghiomelakis and Donatos Apostolou have joined Ince's Piraeus operation.
Jonathan Elvey, managing partner of Ince's Piraeus office, says both Iatridis and Kapsis are well known within the Greek legal community.
"We have worked with both of them over the years. We have a high regard for their professionalism and integrity, as do those of our clients whom they have advised," he added.
By Gillian Whittaker Athens
Published: 00:00 GMT, 16 Jan 2009 | last updated: 15:07 GMT, 15 Jan 2009
City Law School moves LLM modules to Greece
The City Law School has revealed plans to hold its Maritime Law LLM modules in Greece; a world-leading centre for shipping.
The modules, offered by The City Law School, will be taught in English and delivered in weekend blocks to accommodate students who work full-time. They will start in March and September this year.
The modules will include: Carriage of Goods by Sea, Admiralty Law, Marine Insurance, International Sales Law and World Trade Law. They will be taught in the Laskaridou Library of Piraeus close to Athens.
Source: Rhian Owen 13-Jan-2009 http://www.thelawyer.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=136284&d=415&h=417&f=416