Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 20 - 2009


Pateras passes

---The Piraeus shipping community is mourning the death of Capt Diamantis N Pateras who passed away over the weekend at the age of 76.
Friends and associates in Piraeus say Diamantis was a very capable captain, smart in business, who worked from a very young age within the confined of a close-knit family.
The large shipping Pateras family originates from the Aegean island of Oinoussai which boasts a strong shipping tradition.
Tracing his family shipping history back into the late 1700s, Diamantis and his deceased brother Ioannis branched out on their own to establish Pateras Bros Ltd in 1957. This company owned and operated a total of 30 cargo ships.
Through the establishment of various independent shipping groups, many family members have, over the past one and a half centuries, played an active role in shipping.
Ioannis Pateras (1770-1840) was the head of the family. Amongst his five sons was Michael (1800-1870) who had three sons, Kostantis, Dimitris and Markos (1832-1912).
Markos, who served as a captain on sailing ships, had seven sons. Two, Ioannis (1858-1930) and Diamantis, became captains of the family's sailing ships. The latter lost his life when the family owned sailing vessel Rodon foundered in 1915.
Ioannis' sons, Vassilios, George and Nikolas were also involved in steamships through the acquisition of the Kostis in 1925 and the acquisition of the Dirphys which was torpedoed during World War II.
After the War, in 1947, the three brothers acquired a liberty-type cargo ship, also named Dirphys, which laid the foundations for the re-establishment of the family's presence in ocean going shipping.
Nikolas died in 1953 leaving his shipping fortune to his sons Ioannis and the now deceased Diamantis.
Diamantis is survived by his wife Anni (Anastasia), his children Nikolas, Maria and Anastasia and grandchildren. His funeral will take place at the cemetery of Vouliagmeni, south-east of Athens, on Tuesday at 14.00.
By Yiota Gousas in Athens
Published: 10:34 GMT, 11 May 2009 | last updated: 10:34 GMT, 11 May 2009

Greek ship owners commemorate Wenchuan earthquake victims
---ATHENS, May 11 (Xinhua) -- A group of Greek ship owners gathered late on Monday at the Chinese embassy in Greece to commemorate victims of the devastating earthquake on May 12 last year that occurred in China's southwestern Sichuan Province.
Luo Linquan, China's ambassador to Greece, expressed gratitude to Greece's businessmen in the shipping sector for their donations to China's quake-hit zones that amounted to more than 200,000 U.S. dollars.
"We can never forget ... China and Greece, the two ancient countries, are so closely connected to each other with love and humanitarianism, that have transcended national and ethnic boundaries," Luo said.
Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had expressed sincere condolences to the families of the victims and the disaster-hit people after the quake, Luo said.
Karamanlis had said: "At this difficult moment the Greek people stand side by side with the Chinese people," Luo recalled.
Both China and Greece are quake-prone countries, John Tzoannos, secretary-general of the Ministry of Mercantile Marine, said. He said that by helping each other, the two countries had cemented their time-honored friendship.
Tzoanno also spoke highly of the Chinese government's swift response and efficient organization of disaster relief after the massive quake.
The magnitude-8.0 quake, with the epicenter in Wenchuan, left more than 87,000 people dead or missing and more than 374,640 injured.
Source: 2009-05-12 16:07:16

Stranded ship sets sail after pay dispute resolved
---May 14, 2009. The International Transport Workers Federation (TWF) says a dispute which had left a bulk iron ore carrier stranded off the West Australian coast has been resolved.
The Grand Esmeralda has been anchored off Geraldton since the ship's 24 Filipino crew refused to sail to China, saying they were owed thousands of dollars in wages.
An Inspector for TWF, Adrian Evans, says the ship set sail yesterday after some of the money was transferred into the accounts of some crew.
He says the federation will be monitoring the company, Newfront Shipping, to ensure it fulfils its promise.
"The company's given written confirmation that if the money is not in their accounts, they pass Manilla Bay in the next eight days and that was enough indication at least, that all of the crew will have their money paid in full probably by tomorrow," he said.
Source:, Posted Thu May 14, 2009 1:09pm AEST

P&I world opens up at Athens marine risk forum
---In what many shipping people see as a unique event, the bosses of much of the P&I world got together in open forum in Athens last week and listened to their members, insurance brokers, underwriters and even swapped ideas between themselves. In all 28 speakers made presentations at the May 11-12 event. In all 11 clubs, seven brokers, six shipowners, three underwriters and an analyst led the discussions.
Shipowner George Gourdomichalis noted owners were members not clients of P&I clubs and as such should play bigger role in their insurance clubs to protect their own financial interests. He said "owners needed to be activists in looking after their own money". "Club managers are doing a fair job but can do much better if we give them the right direction," the G Bros chief told the TradeWinds Marine Risk Forum. He advocated shipowners to consider the claims handling, international network and other matters beyond the financial rating in choosing their underwriters.
It was also important insurers realised they worked for shipowners rather than against them and went out of their way to combat bogus and fraudulent claims.
Gourdomichalis described rating agencies as being "proven useless". He said: "The agencies were rating Lehman Bros paper AAA the day before it collapsed" and advised owners to "look at the people who write your business".
Underwriter turned broker Martin Hubbard, director of the marine division of Lloyds' brokers Tysers, believes shipowner support for the P&I clubs has dropped as a result of the cash calls of recent months. He says the clubs should be repentant about the financial pain they have inflicted on the shipping industry and an apology would be well received. He said the cash calls came at a very unfortunate time for the shipping industry and a lot of owners are now questioning what the clubs are doing. He fears club managers have yet to learn a lesson and warns continuing underwriting losses could mean more cash calls.
However, P&I broker Jerry Westmore is hopeful the run of club cash calls is over. Westmore of the Price Forbes broking group said the worst of the current insurance cycle is over and there will not be further cash calls for the next five years. He is hopeful P&I clubs have made good progress in fixing their underwriting and with claims over $7m, that are pooled between the clubs, right down the business climate for the mutuals is improving. Still warned shipowners are feeling the pinch in the current climate and becoming more demanding of the clubs, not least in terms of pricing.
The American Club's Joe Hughes is hoping to see a more subdued claims environment as levels of ship utilisation fall and vessels are laid up but warns that it will also have an impact on premium income. But with investment income no longer there to subsidise underwriting losses, it was important to get the premium levels right, said Hughes.
Darren Watson, of Greek broker Britannia, said in a TradeWind TV interview that although P&I club cash calls are unpopular with owners, he doubts Greek owners will be attracted to a national club. Though he believes there is a need, big enough market and sufficient expertise to justify a Greek P&I club, the efforts to establish one have proven difficult as many owners do not want a club run by Greeks.
Shipowners need the support of the wider community if the pirate threat to trade is to be combated, warns Tsakos Shipping & Trading gm, Charalambos Hajimichael, calling for wider support from the community if the pirate threat to trade is to be combated. Owners can't run navies or armies but it is important that adequate measures be taken to protect ships from the pirate menace, he told TradeWinds webTV. Hajimichael feels P&I clubs are generally offering shipowners what they need but should be more proactive in terms of claims prevention. He is less happy with the hull and machinery market where premiums remain high despite the more difficult economic climate.
George Tsavliris is pleased he has been proven wrong. The salvor expected the financial crash and the impact on shipping to result in maintenance being cut and vessels getting into more operational difficulties, but says at least so far he has been proved wrong as casualties do not seem to be increasing. A longtime critic of the penny pinching attitude of underwriters to salvage, Tsavliris sees signs of improvement and less focus on cheap short-term solutions.
-- Filed: 2009-05-14

ANEK Acquires Control of Hellenic Seaways For 125 Million Euro
Minoan Lines official announcement states:
The Board of Directors authorized some of its members for the completion and signature of the agreement which is expected to be concluded within the next few days and it will be, among others, subject to the approval by the Hellenic Competition Commission.
This deal is expected to change once again the balance of the Greek cabotage.
Cyprus based Sea Star Capital of Giannis Vardinogiannis, who is also the primary shareholder of ANEK, now fully controls HSW by owning almost 70% of its equity capital. Sea Star had also bought 34,7% of HSW from Greek shipowner Panos Laskaridis for 155 million euro (5,75 euro per share) in December 2007 and some months later Sea Star controlled 36,5% of HSW by buying shares from NEL at 4 euro per share.

Aegean Agreement to Sell Ro-Ro Tankers
---Thursday, May 14, 2009. Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (NYSE: ANW) announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its two 2,400 dwt specialty ro-ro tankers, the Maistros and the Ostria, to an unrelated third party. Upon completing the sale of both vessels, which are not related to Aegean's core business for the physical supply of marine fuel, the company expects to realize a net gain in the second quarter of 2009. The company intends to use the proceeds of the sale to pay down debt.
E. Nikolas Tavlarios, President, commented, "With this transaction, management has once again acted opportunistically for shareholders. The agreement to sell Aegean's two specialty ro-ro tankers at an attractive price further reduces our debt, enhances our financial flexibility and strengthens our focus on the company's core operations for the physical supply of marine fuel. With an expected profit from this sale, Aegean will further increase its sizeable liquidity position, a core differentiator for the company. Aegean remains focused on drawing upon its significant access to capital to further strengthen the company's industry leading position and drive future shareholder value."

Aegean revenues and net income take a hit
---(May 15 2009). US-listed bunker supplier Aegean Marine Petroleum Network recorded net income of $4.4 mill, or $0.10 basic and diluted earnings per share, for the 1Q09.
This was a significant drop on the $7.5 mill, or $0.18 basic and diluted earnings per share, registered in 1Q08.
Total revenues for 1Q09, decreased by 31.3% to $365.4 mill compared to $532 mill for the same period in 2008. Marine petroleum products sales decreased by 31.9% to $361 mill compared to $530.4 mill for the year-earlier period.
Net revenue, which equals total revenue less cost of goods sold and cargo transportation expenses, increased 20.1% to $40 mil in the first quarter compared to $33.3 mill in 1Q08.
Results for the first quarter were primarily driven by a 12.7% increase in the gross spread on marine petroleum products to $35.6 mill compared to $31.6 mill for the same period in 2008.
The volume of marine fuel sold 1Q09 increased by 23.6% to 1,310,037 tonnes compared to 1,060,134 tonnes in 1Q08, as sales volumes improved in Greece and Singapore. 1Q09 results included sales volumes from Aegean's new markets in the UK (April 2008) and North America (July 2008).
Operating income for 1Q09 was $8.3 mill compared to $8.5 mill for 1Q08. Operating expenses, excluding the cost of fuel and cargo transportation costs increased to $31.7 mill compared to $24.8 mill for the same period in 2008. This increase was principally due to operating an expanded logistics infrastructure during the first quarter of 2009 compared to the first quarter of 2008.
President E Nikolas Tavlarios commented, "During the first quarter, sales volumes were affected by our previously announced focus on actively managing counterparty risk. Sales volumes were also affected by the redeployment of bunkering tankers and inclement weather conditions in certain ports.
"Management's precautionary and proactive measures have served to protect Aegean during the most challenging economic environment since the Great Depression and enabled the company to successfully avoid any customer defaults. Aegean's strong financial position, brand name, newbuild program, and proven business model for the physical supply of marine fuel remain as the fundamentals for our future growth. "
Tavlarios added, "During the quarter, we continued to take advantage of our strong capital position and expanded our global marine fuel platform. Specifically, we strengthened our presence in the Mediterranean by commencing operations in Patras, the second largest port in Greece.
"We also remain on track to launch operations in Tangiers, Morocco and Trinidad and Tobago during the current second quarter, increasing Aegean's reach to 14 markets worldwide. Complementing this notable growth, we took delivery of two double-hull bunkering tanker newbuildings and acquired three additional double-hull bunkering tankers during the first quarter and year-to-date.
"By entering new strategic markets and expanding our modern bunkering delivery fleet as we have consistently done in the past, we expect to increase our long-term earnings potential and strengthen Aegean's industry leadership," he concluded.

DryShips scores another waiver
---DRYSHIPS has obtained yet another loan covenant waiver today, as short-term debt pressures on the George Economou-led company alleviate.
During a recent conference call, Economou assured that the remaining covenant waivers would be obtained in the near future, and were only delayed due to the time necessary to reach agreement among multiple syndicate members.
In February, DryShips announced that it had reached a final agreement with Nordea Bank Finland, DnB NOR Bank, and HSH Nordbank on its $800M facility. DryShips also announced a separate agreement with Piraeus Bank on restructuring of loan facilities with $165M in debt outstanding.
Source: Fairplay Daily News 15 May 2009

Goldenport fixed contracts worth $176m for 2009, '10, '11
---Wed 13 May 2009. LONDON (SHARECAST) - Athens-based shipping firm Goldenport said estimated total revenue for 2009, 2010 and 2011 from contracts already fixed for the operational part of the fleet is $176m.
The calculation excludes the nine new-build vessels for which it expects delivery in the future.
During the first months of 2009, the group optimised the employment of its container fleet by shifting contracts fixed during 2008 on older vessels of its fleet to younger vessels that were re-opening for rechartering.
The older and fully depreciated vessels are likely to be sold for scrap, which will further strengthen its balance sheet.

Seagull expand training commitment with Eletson Corporation.
---13 May 2009. Eletson Corporation has been successfully using Seagull products since 2004 on all of their ships and in their offices in Greece, Philippines, and Georgia. They are now upgrading to the newest release of the Seagull Training System using both a comprehensive selection of computer based training modules to improve the knowledge of their seafarers and the renowned Competence Evaluation System (CES) to evaluate the background knowledge of new recruits and of those being considered for promotion.
Capt. Dimitrios KOKKINIS, DPA of Eletson Corporation stated that he has been pleased with Seagull training products and the service provided by Seagull, and sees this expansion as one of the components in having competent and high performing seafarers safely manning their modern fleet.
Eletson Corporation is one of the most prestigious Greek Shipping companies worldwide and has been industry recognized by receiving the Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards Tanker Company of the Year prize for 2008.
Eletson Corporation owns and operates one of the world's largest fleets of medium and long range product tankers with all vessels sailing under the Greek flag. The fleet presently consists of 25 double hull tankers and one LPG/NH3 carrier. However, the Company has on order eight more IMO III product tankers and three LPG/NH3 carriers. These vessels are scheduled for delivery from 2009 to 2010.