Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 14 - 2009

 

Greek vessel stops pirates

---A gang of seven Somalian pirates were in detention yesterday after the crew of a Hellenic Navy frigate thwarted their attempt to hijack a German oil tanker south of Yemen, the Merchant Marine Ministry said.
Several Greek-owned cargo ships have been attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia this year.
Source: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_100018_31/03/2009_105945


Akti Miaouli / Marketplace & People
---
* TOP Ships has taken delivery of two more MRs 50,000dwt prod/chem tankers from South Korean yard SPP Plant & Shipbuilding. The Ionian Wave and Tyrrhenian Wave were the third and fourth in a series of six tankers being built all of which are due to be delivered within the first and second quarter of the year. Both the latest ships have entered into respective bareboat t/cs for a minimum of seven years at a daily rate of $14,300, with three successive one-year options at a higher daily rate. TOP Ships now has a fleet of 11 double-hull handymax tankers, with a total carrying capacity of around 500,000dwt, of which 74% are sisterships. Seven are on t/c contracts for an average period of one year and all t/cs include profit sharing agreements above their base rates. Four handymax tankers are fixed on a bareboat charter basis with an average term of eight and a half years. The final two newbuildings, have fixed rate bareboat employment agreements for 10 years.
* If one group of stocks shows just how important it is to have a well-placed broker working for you, it's the shipping sector. Indeed, with the price of shipping stocks now within the reach of the smaller punter, those listed in the US are attracting more attention from Piraeus' non-shipowning community. Indeed, this week as rumours shot around the Akti Miaouli that Gabriel Panayiotides was set to make an announcement about developments at Excel Maritime Carriers, Newsfront had several surprise callers seeking information "before New York opens".
Well, on April 2 some shipping stocks on New York stock markets took off with Excel and Top Ships leading the way. Excel made its long-awaited announcement April 1 while Top Ships released its results April 2. The Evangelos J Pistiolis-led bulker and tanker owner, Top Ships, saw its shares surge 25.5% to $1.22 after the company reported a fourth-quarter profit of $8.43m. The results turned around a loss of $37.4m a year earlier. Excel's shares rose 17.9% to $5.59 a day after the company revealed that it received waivers on loan covenants and received a $45m cash infusion from chairman Panayiotides, a state of affairs which led Justin Yagerman, an analyst with Wachovia, to comment: "We believe [Excel's] successful waiver negotiations and principal repayment deferral are positive signs for the viability of the group, as it demonstrates that banks are still willing to work with ship owners and do not have an appetite for seizing vessel."
* Athens-based Roxana Shipping and Netherlands-based Seaarland Shipping Management have established a new pool for LR1 tankers. The Global Tanker Pool will be operated from Seaarland's Asian arm, Seaarland Management Services Singapore, and has commenced operations with six modern LR1 tankers. Karl Arthur Braein, previously head of chartering in Asia-Pacific for ConocoPhillips will manage the pool.
Constantinos Krontiras, director of Roxana, says: "This new pool is the way to join forces with other like-minded owners to provide our charterers with better service and give ourselves a less volatile earnings stream. Global Tanker Pool is our first active pool participation and we appreciate the importance of consolidation in the industry. The concept of revenue consisting of spot market exposure as well as fixed and floating rate coverage, which the pool intends to offer going forward, covers our portfolio management needs very well."
Antonio Zacchello, md of Seaarland says: "We have committed five new, owned ships and one chartered ship shared with Roxana to the pool, and Roxana has committed four ships with delivery starting by the end of 2009. We aim to attract other long-term-minded owners/operators of LR1 tankers and build the pool to around 20 vessels. The present market conditions invite more consolidation in the shipping industry and this consolidation is something we will continue to be part of."
The pool will initially focus on the growing clean petroleum products trade as its core business. Seaarland has established itself as a operator of pool tonnage in a number of sectors and has a long-term commitment to pool operations and partnerships with high-quality owners. "Irrespective of the present serious global financial constraints, we have a fundamental belief that consolidation is the way forward," said Zacchello.
* The blackmail investigation, prompted by allegations made by Fotis Manousis, owner of ferry group Saos ANES that he was bribed by Aegean Island minister Aristotelis Pavlidis, has started and an examining judge Apostolos Zavitsianos is expected to send details of the case to parliament soon so that it can examine whether the former minister, who also did a stint as Marine minister should face charges. Tsabikos Triomatis, an alleged Rhodes-based associate of the politician, is said to claim he did not know who deposited Euro 7,500 in his bank account in January 2007. He said he received a call from a stranger telling him of the deposit, but a few days later he was asked to return the money. Manousis claims he paid the money into the account on the instruction of Panayiotis Zachariou, Pavlidis' aide, who is on trial for blackmail. Manousis claims he paid Pavlidis Euro 1m annually to secure state subsides for routes to remote islands.
* Greece is to be taken to the European court in a case which could decide the future of the Greek captain and first officer. Though the Athens government declares the Greek law that Greek-flag ships must have a Greek captain and chief mate "is not open for negotiation" the European Union disputes this, saying the bridge of European member flag ships must be open to European officers. The dispute centres on Greek-flag vessels trading in the domestic passenger services with Greece arguing the captain is in fact carrying out the duties of a civil servant and is working for a public authority. Greece argues the chief officer must also be Greek because he is the substitute for the master.
* Marine, Aegean and Island Policy minister, Anastasis Papaligouras, was keynote speaker at a Piraeus Marine Club working luncheon April 2. The minister outlined European strategy for European sea transportation and the challenges facing Greek shipping. On April 1, the minister met with the executive of the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) and discussed matters impacting Greek shipping.
* Marine, Aegean and Island Policy minister, Anastasis Papaligouras has called the European Union to extend the sea area being protected by naval units of the EU's Operation Atalanta. Speaking in Brussels at a meeting of the Council of Transport, Communications and Energy ministers, March 30 / 31, Papaligouras said he believes the EU can play an important role in the co-ordination of efforts to abolish piracy. He also said Greece fully supports a draft regulation on the rights of passengers when travelling by sea, noting Greece already has laws in place to this affect. Greece also backs "Strategic Goals and Recommendations for the EU's maritime transport policy until 2018", which aims at the promotion of European shipping and related industries, which are safe, secure and environmentally friendly, while remaining efficient, adaptable and globally competitive, and the action plan to establish "a European maritime space without barriers".
* Oil tanker vetting, 'green house gases', piracy and pro-active safety management were on the agenda when the Hellenic Mediterranean Panel of Intertanko met in Athens, April 2 at the Royal Olympic Hotel. Attended by some 70 representatives of independent tanker owners from Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Turkey, the meeting was chaired by Costis Kertsikoff, and attended by Intertanko md, Peter Swift who briefed the gathering on general developments concerning Intertanko, including issues on the agenda at Intertanko's Toyko Event, May 13-15, and gave a presentation on GHG. The issue of vetting was addressed by Oliver Pointon, SIRE compliance manager, OCIMF, pro-active safety management was addressed by Tim Crowch, md ASSM.
* The financial crisis could benefit operators of ships working in the short-sea trades as cargo parcels get smaller and European manufacturers replace products previously imported from Asia, according to Nicos Varvates, president of the Hellenic Short-Sea Shipowners Association. Addressing the group's recent agm, Varvates expressed a number of reasons why short-sea shipping could be optimistic, though he was critical of the Greek government's two-speed approach to shipping reform.
Source: www.newsfront.gr


Greece Scraps Thessaloniki Privatization
---The Journal of Commerce Online - News Story
Box terminal tender cancelled following Hutchison withdrawal
Greece cancelled an international tender to privatize and expand container facilities at Thessaloniki, the country's second largest box hub.
The decision was expected after the top bidder, Hong Kong's Hutchison Port Holdings, withdrew its bid in December on the eve of signing a draft contract with the Thessaloniki Port Authority.
HPH and its Greek partner, pharmaceuticals company Alapis, had bid $4.2 billion for a 30-year operating concession and pledged to invest an additional $650 million to upgrade the port's container terminal.
HPH's decision was attributed to the downturn in the global container shipping market, which has seen volumes at European terminals fall by as much as 25 percent in the first three months of 2009.
The Thessaloniki Port Authority, which is 74 percent state-owned, has said it will modernize container facilities using its own funds.
Dock workers, who have banned overtime and weekend shifts since January 2008 to protest the planned privatization, called off their action in March after it became clear the government would cancel the tender.
The Greek government has agreed to a $1.1 billion deal with China's Cosco Pacific for a 30 year concession to operate container facilities at Piraeus, the country's top port, which will start in November.
Source: Bruce Barnard | Apr 2, 2009 5:43PM GMT. http://www.joc.com/node/410529


Greece, Brazil sign four cooperation accords
---Greece and Brazil on Friday signed four economic and political cooperation agreements, during foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis' meeting with her Brazilian counterpart Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim, the first-ever Brazilian foreign minister to visit Athens.
The two ministers expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of Thursday's G-20 Summit in London, anticipating that the peoples confidence would be restored in the credit system and the global economy.
Amorim said that the London decisions applied to the present, but also the future, and concerned support measures via the World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the need to boost the credit system as well as demand while, in the future, a better regulated international system was required.
He noted that the G-20 decisions were expected to impact the Doha round of talks on international trade as well, given that the "20" are also participants in various fora, and made particular reference to Brazil, India and China (BRIC).
"We signed a series of agreements which I hope will serve as a springboard for greater growth of our bilateral cooperation," Bakoyannis said in joint statements to the press after the meeting with Amorim.
More specifically, she said that the discussion on bilateral matters focused mainly on the prospects for mutual investments, expansion of cooperation in the sectors of tourism, energy, aviation engineering, shipping and trade in agricultural products.
Apart from the global financial crisis and the G-20 summit, the two foreign ministers further examined a series of other issues of international and regional interest, and Bakoyannis briefed Amorim on the Greek national issues.
"Brazil has a strong and important voice on the international scene," Bakoyannis said, noting that it was "one of the most active countries in the framework of the UN".
She also reiterated Greece's support for Brazil's aspiration for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council in the context of the UN's institutional reform.
Source: http://www.ana.gr/anaweb/user/showplain?maindoc=7470685&service=142


Niva Shipping Ltd announces new company creation in Dubai, UAE
---Athens, 31st March 2009. Niva Shipping Ltd, a fully integrated shipping company has signed a joint venture agreement with the Al Khafajy Group in Dubai, for the creation of Niva Al Khafajy Shipping LLC. The agreement was signed between the principals of Niva Shipping Messrs Vassilios and Dimitris Vintiadis and the principal of the Al Khafajy Group Mr Kazim Mohammad Al Khafajy.
The new company activities will include, but not limited to, shipowning, shipbroking in wet and dry sectors, shipmanagement, as well as entering the market as charterers. Niva Al Khafajy Shipping will work closely with Niva Shipping headquarters in Athens, Greece as well as Niva Shipping India in Mumbai.
Commenting on the new company, Mr Vintiadis, Chairman and CEO of Niva Shipping said:
For Further Information:
Niva Shipping Limited
Dimitris Vintiadis , Managing Director
Tel: +30 2104293540
d.vintiadis@nivashipping.com
www.nivashipping.com
Notes to Editors
Niva Shipping Ltd was established in 1978 with primary thrust of the company being Chartering, Sale and Purchase, Contracting, Managing, Consultancy and Financing. Over the past 30 years the company has expanded in a wide range of fields in the shipping industry. Shortly after the company was founded, began to acquire and successfully manage its own and client vessels of various types. Niva Shipping has currently three offices, with its headquarters being in Athens, Greece.
Al Khafajy Group in Dubai, UAE was established in 1973 and deals with major oil companies, trading and government local government projects. The company consists of the following division: Engineering, in projects and supplies related to power generation. Logistics, providing full freight and forwarding services. Generator, Supply of diesel generators such as Perkins UK, Cummins UK and Kohler USA up to 3300 KVA and Medical providing healthcare and medical solutions to hospitals, pharmaceuticals and homecare.
Source: Niva Shipping Limited, Press Release


Greek clan returns to bulk sector
---Low vessel values are luring the Kallianis family back into shipping.
The Kallianis family of Greece has made a comeback in shipping after a seven-year absence to take advantage of falling bulker prices.
Captain Dimitris Kallianis has formed a new company called Kallianis Bros, along with his two sons, George and Ioannis, with the aim of building up a fleet of handysize vessels.
George Kallianis says the company is targeting this size of ship because of the small newbuilding orderbook. However, he is not willing to reveal how much cash is available for the expansion.
The family exited shipping in 2002 with the sale of their last vessel, the 38,000-dwt bulker Georgios K (built 1976), for $1.25m.
The ship operated under a different company, Kallianis Compania Naviera, established by Dimitris Kallianis in 1969 and his brother, Vassilis. That operation was involved in broking activities in the 1980s and controlled between two and five bulkers at any given time.
George Kallianis says his uncle, Vassilis, is also set to relaunch that company into ownership.
The family, Kallianis says, did not make a complete exit from shipping but over the past seven years has held small stakes in vessels controlled by other Greeks. A naval architect, Kallianis has also worked for Tsakos Shipping and as a trainee broker at Optima.
He says the family has refrained from buying any ship outright since 2002, taking the view that as values spiralled to dizzying heights, the risk also increased.
"We are a low-risk family," Kallianis said.
The decision to re-enter full operations is based on expectations that ship assets will see a correction to values preceding 2002 levels. Kallianis says he expects values to decrease from current levels in the coming months.
Market observers say more shipping families that took a back seat during the boom are expected to come back into play in the coming year.
By Yiota Gousas Athens
Published: 23:00 GMT, 02 Apr 2009 | last updated: 07:55 GMT, 03 Apr 2009
Source: www.tradewinds.no


Charter termination angers StealthGas
---(Apr 2 2009). LPG carrier and tanker owner StealthGas has threatened legal action in reaction to the termination of a charter for one of its LPG vessels, according to press reports.
Source: http://www.tankeroperator.com/news/todisplaynews.asp?NewsID=1117


New LR1 product tanker pool
Source: www.mgn.com/news


Marmaras denies tanker cancellation at Hyundai yards
---Nigel Lowry and Mike Grinter - Wednesday 1 April 2009
Reports published in both Asia and Europe have suggested that its tanker wing Delta Tankers may be poised to ditch four of a remaining total of 11 suezmaxes on order with Hyundai Samho as well as three very large crude carriers (VLCCs) contracted with Hyundai Heavy Industries.
The latest round of orders were sealed only late last summer and are all for 2011 delivery.
But boss Diamantis Diamantides, who has already taken numerous new bulkers and tankers from Hyundai Samho in particular, said reports were false.
The earliest deliveries in the programme are three suezmaxes during this year with a further four due in 2010.
The group became a major customer of the Hyundai yards at the start of this century after switching from a longstanding second hand acquisition philosophy and ordering its first dry bulk newbuildings, quickly followed by 11 tankers contracted from Samho for Delta, which was established in 2006.
Mr Diamantides declined to discuss recent reports that Marmaras had requested cancellation from HHI of orders for two capesize bulkers of 180,000 dwt. The vessels, said to have been contracted at about $103m each, were scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2010.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that the Greek owner may have agreed a cancellation fee while down payments on the bulkers might have been switched to the tanker project.
While flatly refusing any comment on the alleged cancellation of the capes, Mr Diamantides scorned speculation featuring in some reports that HHI had not provided a refund guarantee for the capers.
Source: http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/viewArticle.htm?articleId=20017634969


Excel Maritime Credit Amendment Buoys Shipping Sector >EXM
---
APRIL 2, 2009, 12:39 P.M. ET
By Jennifer Hoyt Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Shares of dry-bulk shippers jumped Thursday, following Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd.'s (EXM) announcement that it has amended two of its credit facilities and received a $45 million equity infusion.
Analysts said the stocks were also boosted by news that a key indicator of China's manufacturing activity returned to growth in March after five months of contraction, a sign the domestic downturn may have reached a bottom.
Shares of Excel Maritime, which had been weighed down in recent months due to concerns about the large amount of debt is had coming due in 2009 and 2010, were recently up 18% to $5.57. Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc. (EGLE) gained 7.4% to $4.65 and DryShips Inc. (DRYS) rose 12% to $5.65. Despite the gains, these stocks are all at least 80% below their year-ago levels.
After the close of trading Wednesday, Excel said it received waivers on its debt covenants for its Nordea Bank Syndicated Facility and its Credit Suisse Bilateral Facility, valid until 2011. Also, as part of the amended Nordea facility, Excel will defer principal debt repayments of $150.5 million, originally scheduled for 2009 and 2010, to a balloon payment in 2016.
The company also said it will issue 25.7 million class A shares and 5.5 million warrants to entities affiliated with the family of company Chairman Gabriel Panayotides. This offering will increase the company's shares outstanding by 69%, assuming the warrants are exercised.
A representative from Excel wasn't immediately available for comment.
The dry-bulk shipping sector has been battered in the last year as a drop in demand for the raw materials the industry hauls led to a crash in shipping rates. Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Scott Burk said the day rate for a shipping vessel was $180,000 a year ago, but is currently only at about $20,000.
The companies' weaker balance sheets have placed many shippers in danger of violating debt covenants, and, like Excel, several have amended these facilities in recent months, including Eagle Bulk Shipping and Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd. (GNK).
The fact that Excel was able to renegotiate its facility provides further evidence that lenders don't want to see shippers fail, analysts said.
"They have the power to put all these companies under and they haven't," Burk said, adding that the banks probably don't want all the ships they would acquire if these companies failed.
Analysts said the sector was also moving higher Thursday on news the China Purchasing Managers' Index reached 52.4 in March, up from 49.0 in February. That marks the first time the reading was above 50 since September, a level that indicates manufacturing activity is expanding. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.
Burk said that since China is the biggest driver of the dry-bulk industry, any positive news about the Chinese economy is good news for the shipping sector.
Despite the positive developments, analysts stressed that nothing fundamental about the sector has changed, and the shippers still face serious challenges.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Natasha Boyden noted that the Baltic Dry Index, which tracks spot market freight rates, has been down for 17 days in a row.
Looking specifically at Excel, Boyden noted that the share offering announced Wednesday is highly dilutive, and the company will also soon have a lot of ships coming off contracts and onto the lower-paying spot market.
"I don't think the fundamentals support this rally," Boyden said.
Jefferies & Co. analyst Douglas Mavrinac had a differing view, saying many of the assumptions about these companies that drove down the shares, like the risk of foreclosures by banks, have proven to be false.
He said the stocks have been "obscenely oversold to begin with, so they justify an outperformance relative to other names in the market."
-By Jennifer Hoyt, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-2474; jennifer.hoyt@dowjones.com
Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090402-712298.html


Top Ships Reports Fourth Quarter And Fiscal Year 2008 Financial Results
For the three months ended December 31, 2008, the Company reported net income of $8,429,000, or $0.30 per share, compared with net loss of $37,439,000, or $2.67 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2007. The weighted average numbers of common shares used in the computations were 28,090,125 and 14,082,742 for the fourth quarter of 2008 and 2007 , respectively. For the three months ended December 31, 2008, operating income was $7,952,000, compared with operating loss of $25,982,000 for the fourth quarter of 2007. Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2008 were $36,962,000, compared to $51,789,000 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2007.
For the year ended December 31, 2008, the Company reported net income of $25,639,000, or $1.01 per share, compared with net loss of $49,076,000, or $4.09 per share, for the year ended December 31, 2007. The weighted average numbers of common shares used in the computations were 25,445,031 and 11,986,857 for the years ended December 31, 2008 and 20071, respectively. For the year ended December 31, 2008, operating income was $61,723,000, compared with operating loss of $29,118,000 for the year ended December 31, 2007. Revenues for the year ended December 31, 2008 were $257,380,000, compared to $252,259,000 recorded in the year ended December 31, 2007.
Evangelos J. Pistiolis, President and Chief Executive Officer of TOP Ships Inc., commented:
- We sold 7 owned suezmax tankers and 1 owned panamax dry bulk vessel for an aggregate sale price of $380.5 million. These sales enhanced our liquidity and created a cash cushion during a period where liquidity is key to the survival of any company.
- We arranged the sale of 6 chartered-in vessels, under bareboat charters, and terminated the respective charters.
- We took delivery of our dry bulk vessels, which are currently deployed on time charters at premium rates.
Developments during the fourth quarter of 2008 included:
- As of December 31, 2008, the Company was not in compliance with certain loan covenants. We are currently in advanced discussions with our lending banks to receive waivers of the covenants to 2010.
- We terminated an interest rate derivative product for $5.0 million. When we entered into this product in November 2007, we had received an upfront payment of $8.5 million.
- We completed the refinancing for our new-building product tankers, four of which have already been delivered to their bareboat charterers.
Recent Developments
Source: http://www.topships.org/documents.php?type=PRESS


Seanergy Maritime buys itself time
Seanergy Maritime fleet
Vessel name Class Dwt Built Delivery date ($/day ) Expiry
Bremen Max Panamax 73,503 1993 11 Sept 2008 $65,000 Sept 09
Hamburg Max Panamax 72,388 1994 25 Sept 2008 $65,000 Sept 09
Davakis G Supramax 54,051 2008 28 Aug 2008 $60,000 Sept 09
Delos Ranger Supramax 54,051 2008 28 Aug 2008 $60,000 Sept 09
African Zebra Handysize 38,632 1985 25 Sept 2008 $36,000 Sept 09
African Oryx Handysize 24,110 1997 28 Aug 2008 $30,000 Sept 09
Total: 6 vessels; 316,676 combined dwt; 11 yrs average age
Daily costs
Average TCE rate $49,362/day
Vessel operating expenses $4,636/day
Management fee $566/day
Total vessel operating expenses $5,202/day
(28 August 2008 -31 December 2008)
Source: Fairplay International Shipping Weekly - Companies 02 Apr 2009


Transas supplies Hellenic Navy with Bridge Simulator
---Tuesday, 31 March 2009. Transas Hellas in collaboration with TRANSAS Mediterranean SAS supplies the Naval Training Command of the Hellenic Navy with a Bridge Simulator.
The bridge simulator covers the training needs of the HN/NTC (Hellenic Navy / Naval Training Command), regarding the training and practice of Hellenic Navy War Ships team as well as the HN personnel. The simulator also meets the standards of the IMO regulations.
Located in the region of Skaramanga, Athens (Greece), the simulator will provide training of military personnel (warrant officers, petty officers and cadets in military service).
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 March 2009 )
Source: http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=52777


INFOCAD to Sell Metris Products in Middle East
---ATHENS, Greece, Apr 2, 2009 - INFOCAD S.A., a supplier of product development and quality assurance systems in the Middle East and North Africa, recently extended its Distributor Agreement with Metris, to supply advanced metrology solutions for the design and manufacturing communities in the region. INFOCAD is supplying advanced technologies for industrial inspection and measurement and customers are using the technology for diverse applications within the automotive and aerospace sectors, oilfield & maritime services, parts and components manufacture, engineering MRO companies, precision machine shops, amongst others. Metris is a company that designs, develops and markets a unique range of metrology hardware and software for 3D inspection and reverse engineering and is at the forefront in this field.
About INFOCAD
For more information, visit www.infocadgroup.com.
About Metris
Source: http://www.tenlinks.com/news/PR/INFOCAD/040209_metris.htm