Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 28 - 2009
---Freer access to bank financing in Asia has allowed Chinese ship operators to expand their fleets faster and threaten Greece's ranking as the world's largest shipowning nation. While a lack of finance is preventing some Greek shipowners from meeting their commitments to build new ships, Chinese owners have been "assisted during such difficult times by the still buoyant Chinese economy and the influx of new Far East financing banks," according to Athens-based Petrofin Research.
However, Petrofin says that despite cancellations and delays, the Greek orderbook remains large. On the other hand, Petrofin says the same lack of finance hinders the acquisition of new tonnage by willing buyers.
Petrofin warns: "The longer the crisis the more likely it shall be that Greek shipping may not be able to maintain its number 1 position ahead of China. This, however, shall not mean Greek shipping will cease to expand and modernise and to remain the biggest shipping nation by far in Europe."
Petrofin notes that, "thus far, forced sales have been extremely limited for Greek owners with most looking for opportunities to acquire relatively inexpensive but young tonnage. Should the shipping crisis persist for a long time though, no doubt some consolidation in the number of owners and amongst primarily the smaller owners with overage fleets is expected."
Petrofin Research records that at the beginning of 2009 the Greek-owned fleet of all ship types and sizes stood at a record of 4,763 ships, up 4.8% on 12 months previous with almost a similar increase between 2008 and 2007. At the beginning of the year, ships of over 10,000dwt had an average age of 17.6 years and were on average 49,819dwt per unit compared to and average 48,926dwt a unit a year earlier. Ships over 10,000dwt represent just over 98% of the Greek fleet in dwt terms, says Petrofin.
Petrofin's 2009 Greek fleet analysis reflects robust growth based on decisions taken in 2008 "in the middle of a very buoyant shipping market". The research notes, development of Greek shipping continued unabated for vessels of all sizes and types, as well as ages, including newbuildings with an emphasis towards younger and bigger vessels.
"Consequently, the Greek fleet continued to increase its size and so did the number of companies involved in Greek shipping. The very robust shipping market across all vessel types over the last four years has resulted in a reversal of the downward trend in the number of ship operating companies which had taken place until 2006. In good times, the opportunity to invest and share in the golden Greek shipping story proved too hard to refuse," says Petrofin.
It is tankers that continue to record the best age improvement, followed by bulkers. Containers have shown no improvement. In dwt terms, it is bulkers that show the greater increase, followed by tankers and then container ships.
Concluding, Petrofin says: "Although the current shipping crisis will undoubtedly impact future results, it is not expected the trend towards bigger and more modern vessels shall slowdown. Despite newbuilding cancellations and delays, the newbuilding projections remain historically high. In addition, the higher rate of scrapping will assist to maintain the youth of the Greek fleet."
-- Filed: 2009-07-09
Greek Fleets of more than 20 ships
Greek Fleets of more than 20 ships / Ships / DWT
Economou/Cardiff/Dryships 76 8,565,131
Tsakos / Ten Limited 72 7,344,230
Peter Georgiopoulos 62 6,104,259
Vafias 58 1,689,000
Restis 54 4,109,197
Constantakopoulos 54 2,970,818
Frangou / Navios 53 5,100,000
Kollakis / Chartworld 51 1,936,711
Excell / Maryville 49 3,936,079
Maran Takers / Maran Gas 45 10,082,018
Diamantidis 45 4,765,000
OSG 43 2,212,044
C. Martinos / Thenamaris 41 4,039,584
Coustas 40 2,021,709
Marinakis / Capital 39 1,817,515
P. Haji-Ioannou 36 4,046,347
Andreas Martinos / Minerva 35 3,860,630
Vardinoyiannis 35 1,766,699
Youroukos / Technomar 35 1,760,064
Callimanopoulos 33 1,020,722
A. & S. Polemis 28 3,903,321
G. prokopiou / Dynacom 27 4,261,233
Ath. Martinos / Eastern Mediterranean 27 3,141,661
P. Livanos 26 3,346,199
Eletson 26 1,727,681
Delfi 26 1,066,209
Hellespont 25 1,415,760
Angelicoussis / Anagel 24 3,951,761
Eagle Bulk Shipping 24 1,295,753
Goldenport 23 1,049,137
Lykiardopoulos / Neda 22 3,352,717
Coumantaros / Atlantic Bulk 22 1,093,478
Cyprus Maritime 21 1,341,979
Kannelakis 20 2,525,346
C. Angelopoulos 20 2,157,975
Source: Naftiliaki, Summer 2009. www.newsfront.gr
24 Greek Companies among the 100 Top Shipping Companies for 2008
Marine Money International has publishing its Rankings of the best performing shipping companies for the year ending 2008.
Year 2008 top 100 performing companies include 24 Greek Shipping Companies.
Company / 2008 Rank
Diana Shipping Inc. 6
Navios Maritime Partners 13
Aegean Marine Petroleum Network 32
Overseas Shipholding Group 33
Capital Product Partners 34
Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN) 40
Goldenport Holdings 42
Star Bulk 43
Hellenic Carriers 44
Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd. 49
Paragon Shipping 49
Globus Maritime 52
Danaos Corporation 56
General Maritime Corp 60
Omega Navigation 63
Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc. 73
StealthGas Inc. 78
Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. 85
Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd 97
DryShips Inc. 99
Aries Maritime Transport 100
Source: Marine Money Magazine, June/July 2009
Marine Money International: Performance Rankings - 100 Top Shipping Companies for 2008
Marine Money International Announces Financial Performance Rankings for the 100 Top Shipping Companies for 2008
The editors at Marine Money International, the leading trade publication reporting on the business of ship finance, are pleased to announce the Rankings of the best performing shipping companies for the year ending 2008. The results will appear in the June/July 2009 issue of Marine Money.
2008 was a year that saw unprecedented pressures across the shipping industry as a result of the collapsing credit markets, weaker commodity prices and declining trade. Analyzing last year's financial data, the results were split: on one hand it was a record year in terms of profitability for the companies, due largely to outstanding existing charter contracts, yet on the other hand the shareholders' returns declined into negative values for 97 of the 100 Ranked companies. Shareholders fled and market capitalizations declined precipitously from 2007's prosperous figures.
Marine Money International has been publishing its Rankings for the past 19 years, drawing attention to the results from the entire shipping industry. The shipping companies have been assessed based on the following measures: Asset Turnover, Profit Margin, Return on Equity, Return on Assets, Market Value of Equity and Book Value of Equity. The performance measures have been combined to calculate Overall Performance. The model also ranks companies separately in terms of financial strength.
George Weltman, Marine Money Publisher noted, "Although historically credit metrics have always played second fiddle to the overall performance rankings that may no longer be the case. These numbers are, in a way, more forward looking as they measure survivability looking at liquidity, leverage and cash flow coverage. Both results warrant close scrutiny as together they provide the measure of the performance of these companies."
This year's top ten performing companies include Frontline LTD, U-Ming Marine Transport, Mitsui OSK Lines, Grindrod Limited , Teekay Tankers , Diana Shipping Inc. , Kirby Corporation , Precious Shipping , Nordic American Tanker Shipping Ltd and Courage Marine Group.
Marine Money Chairman, Jim Lawrence congratulated the Ranking's Top Performers for the hard work they put in to achieve the results and to "the 1000s of men and women at these shipping companies around the world, who pulled together to achieve something special".
Marine Money is the premier provider of maritime finance transactional information and maritime transaction analysis. Relied upon by shipowners, financiers, investors, ship managers, brokers, lawyers and accountants for the past 20 years, Marine Money International through its publications, studies and conferences has worked to bridge the gap between shipowners and the international capital markets.
For further information contact: George Weltman firstname.lastname@example.org 203-300-0990 or Jim Lawrence email@example.com 203-550-2621
Performance Rankings - 100 Top Shipping Companies for 2008
2008 Rank / Company
32 Aegean Marine Petroleum Network
41 Alexander & Baldwin
61 Algoma Central Corporation
27 American Commercial Lines Inc.
28 AP Moller - Maersk Group
100 Aries Maritime Transport
85 Belships ASA
93 BW Gas
98 Camillo Eitzen & Co ASA
34 Capital Product Partners
65 Chemoil Energy Limited
94 China Shipping Container Line
18 China Shipping Development
81 Concordia Maritime
47 COSCO Holdings
10 Courage Marine Group
17 D/S Norden A/S
45 D/S Torm
15 d'Amico International Shipping
56 Danaos Corporation
59 DFDS A/S
11 DHT Maritime
6 Diana Shipping Inc.
99 DryShips Inc.
73 Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc.
95 Eitzen Chemical
97 Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd
80 Exmar NV
81 Finnlines Plc
71 First Ship Lease
1 Frontline LTD
49 Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd.
60 General Maritime Corp
52 Globus Maritime
83 Golar LNG Ltd.
24 Golden Ocean Group
42 Goldenport Holdings
4 Grindrod Limited
74 Gulf Navigation
44 Hellenic Carriers
79 Horizon Lines, Inc.
38 IM Skaugen ASA
39 International Shipholding
20 James Fisher & Sons, plc
51 Jinhui Shipping&Transportation
12 Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd.
7 Kirby Corporation
14 Knightsbridge Tankers Limited
35 K-SEA Transportation Partners LP
19 Malaysian Bulk Carriers
53 Mercator Lines Singapore
3 Mitsui OSK Lines
85 Navios Maritime Holdings Inc.
13 Navios Maritime Partners
89 Neptune Orient Lines
30 Nippon Yusen Kaisha
22 Noble Group
9 Nordic American Tanker Shipping Ltd
88 Nordic Tankers
47 Odfjell ASA
63 Omega Navigation
89 Orient Overseas International Limited
92 OSG America
33 Overseas Shipholding Group
30 Pacific Basin Shipping Limited
68 Pacific Shipping Trust
49 Paragon Shipping
7 Precious Shipping
87 PT Berlian Laju Tanker
96 Regional Container Lines PCL
75 Rickmers Maritime
69 Samudera Shipping Line Ltd
36 Seacor Holdings Inc.
77 Seaspan Corporation
26 Ship Finance International Limited
62 Sinotrans Shipping Ltd
43 Star Bulk
28 Star Reefers ASA
78 StealthGas Inc.
65 Stolt-Nielsen SA
37 STX Pan Ocean Co., Ltd.
24 TBS International Limited
64 Teekay LNG Partners L.P.
55 Teekay Offshore Partners LP
84 Teekay Shipping Corp.
5 Teekay Tankers
16 Thoresen Thai
65 Trailer Bridge Inc
40 Tsakos Energy Navigation (TEN)
76 Ultrapetrol Bahamas Limited
2 U-Ming Marine Transport
58 Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA
53 Yang Ming Marine Transport
Source: Marine Money International, PRESS RELEASE, Stamford , July 2009
This part 1 of Petrofin research, provide analyses of the Greek shipping industry in terms of
A. Greek shipping companies and their fleet SIZE
B. Greek shipping companies and their fleet AGE
The drive towards larger and more modern fleets continued in 2008. Although it is usually most pronounced for the bigger sized owners, the trend was also prominent among smaller owners.
The excellent shipping market until 2008 had prolonged the survival of approx 500 owners with overage vessels. However, the current crisis will no doubt witness a significant reduction in their number via scrapping and sales.
Interestingly enough, it is the Chinese that have been acquiring overage vessels recently, with Greeks opting for younger vessels. Thus, the Greeks continue to focus on modern vessels, as these have a longer life span and can better cope with shipping cycles.
For more details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This 2nd part of Petrofin research, the Greek Fleet Statistics, examine the makeup of the Greek fleet, in terms of vessel size, vessel type and vessel age.
The 2009 Greek fleet analysis reflects robust growth based on decisions that were taken in 2008 in the middle of a very buoyant shipping market. The development of Greek shipping continued unabated for vessels of all sizes and types, as well as ages, including newbuildings with an emphasis towards younger and bigger vessels.
Consequently, the Greek fleet continued to increase its size and so did the number of companies involved in Greek shipping. The very robust shipping market across all vessel types over the last 4 years has resulted in a reversal of the downward trend in the number of shipping companies which had taken place until 2006. In good times, the opportunity to invest and share in the golden Greek shipping story proved too hard to refuse.
It is tankers that continue to record the best age improvement, followed by bulkers. Containers have shown no improvement. In DWT terms, it is bulkers that show the greater increase, followed by tankers and containers last.
Although the current shipping crisis will undoubtedly impact future results, it is not expected that the trend towards bigger and more modern vessels shall slowdown. Despite newbuildings cancellations and delays, the newbuilding projections remain historically high. In addition, the higher scrapping will assist to maintain the youth of the Greek fleet.
Thus far, forced sales have been extremely limited for Greek owners with most looking for opportunities to acquire relatively inexpensive but young tonnage. Should the shipping crisis, though, persist for a long time, no doubt some consolidation in the number of owners and amongst primarily the smaller owners with overage fleets is expected.
On the other hand, despite the cancellations and delays, the Greek order book remains large and it is primarily the lack of finance that is holding back some owners from continuing to perform under existing newbuilding contracts. The same lack of finance hinders the acquisition of new tonnage by willing buyers.
Greek shipping will face increasing competition from Chinese owners who are assisted during such difficult times by the still buoyant Chinese economy and the influx of new Far East financing banks.
The longer the crisis the more likely it shall be that Greek shipping may not be able to maintain its number 1 position ahead of China. This, however, shall not mean that Greek shipping will cease to expand and modernise and to remain the biggest shipping nation by far in Europe.
For more details contact: email@example.com
By: Mary Irene Alexandrakis and Jim Lawrence
---Banks and financial institutions remain at the center of attention, when considering the state of ship finance. The pessimist might argue that this is the end of borrowing as we knew it, with the extinction of the experienced international ship finance banks right behind. On the other hand, the optimistic view suggests that this crisis provides opportunities for banks and financial entities to flourish and even a window of opportunity for traditional ship lenders to earn some good returns.
However, the orderbook today is one of the biggest in history, comparable only to the 1970s, with 61% of current bulker fleet and 35% of tanker fleet on order. Everyone is talking about slippage, delays and cancellations. Can we take any comfort from what the registration trend data tells us?
The consistency of the newbuilding registrations month to month yields little. A closer look at the registration abstracts tells us, the loan amounts are smaller, which we believe reflects lower advance rates and a shift away from 6 to 8 ship fleet financings to single ship deals. Clearly that is what everyone knows, ship finance is harder to conclude today, and it is apparent in the data.
While trying to quantify the orderbook is intriguing, this data may be just that, as conclusions based upon the samples are difficult to make. More useful may be to see which banks are actually financing ships in this turbulent and uncertain period. The Registry data includes both newbuildings and second hand vessels. Some bank names are expected, but the list makes interesting reading.
But there are also less well known financial institutions active, whichmay well have escaped the credit crisis. They are not as big as the former banks and perhaps not as well known in the ship finance business, but they are taking up some of the gap. For example, The Bank of Fukuoka, a regional Japanese retail bank, financed a 9,971 dwt containership in August 2008. Mashreqbank, a large private held commercial bank based in the UAE also secured a mortgage for two 29,503 dwt ton chemical carriers in October and December 2008.
Hua Nan commercial bank financed a 27,000 dwt multi-purpose vessel in March 2009.
Enjoy the list available in the Marine Money Freshly Minted Thursday, July9, 2009 Page 7 and 8
Suitors emerge in Aries contest
---Stamatis Molaris and Emanuele Lauro-led Scorpio have been in the wings as potential investors in US-listed Aries.
With the clock running on Greek owner GrandUnion's 60-day letter of intent to acquire voting control of Aries Maritime, it has emerged that a couple of interesting names have been sniffing around the New York-listed owner as well.
Before signing on with GrandUnion, Aries management was told of interest by the Scorpio group of Monaco and by shipping veteran Stamatis Molaris, the former executive of Excel Maritime and Stelmar Shipping, sources tell TradeWinds.
Aries chief executive Jeff Parry declined this week to answer any questions about the sales process, citing confidentiality provisions contained in the exclusivity pact with GrandUnion. The Greek suitor is led by Nicholas Fistes and Michael Zolotas.
GrandUnion is proposing to sell three early-1990s-built capesizes into the fleet in exchange for 16 million new shares, or about a 33% stake in the company. But GrandUnion would gain voting control of the board and put Fistes and Zolotas in the top executive positions.
It appears that the current principals, Gabriel Petridis and Mons Bolin, would retain a passive shareholding and hope that new leadership might be able to revive the share price. Together, they control 52% of the company.
The deal hinges on GrandUnion's ability to secure a commitment letter for a fully underwritten private issuance of $145m in unsecured convertible notes, which carry a 7% coupon and a term of five years.
Aries's current fleet consists of five medium-range (MR) and four panamax tankers, plus a pair of 2,917-teu boxships.
Although currently its market capitalisation is only about $20m, Aries has agreed to pay GrandUnion a $3m "break-up fee" should it opt for another offer while its exclusivity period with the Greek company is pending.
Aries has not disclosed whether there were other bidders for the company or even precisely what process it followed in seeking a buyer. But the principals are known to have long entertained offers for their stake, rejecting some 15 bids by one estimate.
It is also no secret that Parry has been beating the bushes for an investor since taking the helm last spring. TradeWinds understands that the latest process involved Aries's independent directors, an investment banker - said to be Anthony Argyropoulos of Cantor Fitzgerald - and New York securities law firm Seward & Kissel.
Scorpio group chairman Emanuele Lauro told TradeWinds earlier this year that the company was "in a strong financial position" to take advantage of growth opportunities. Scorpio had just hired former OMI executive Robert Bugbee as the first president of its revamped operation. The company is strong in panamax and handysize tankers.
Bugbee declines to comment on the reports linking Scorpio to Aries.
As for Molaris, he was last heard in April denying rumours that he was fronting a project in tandem with US private equity to buy five modern suezmax tankers. He had also been linked to a possible listing on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) for nine suezmax newbuildings ordered by Quest Maritime.
Molaris was said to be represented in the Aries matter by New York-based Poten Capital Services. A Poten representative declined to comment on the matter when contacted by TradeWinds.
By Joe Brady Stamford
Published: 23:00 GMT, 09 Jul 2009 | last updated: 08:58 GMT, 10 Jul 2009
Tough times for Top Ships
It was still in talks with the Royal Bank of Scotland at the end of March, with which the company has a $195.6M credit facility, of which $60.9M was outstanding on 31 December 2008, according to the F-20 filing.
Since 2007, Top Ships has axed 15 ships, a move prompted by the need to cut expenditure.
The company was founded by Evangelos Pistolis, its president and CEO, under the name of Ocean Holdings in 2000 and four years later it was listed on the Nasdaq in the US and renamed Top Tankers. In 2007, it expanded into dry bulk and assumed its current name.
Full company name: Top Ships Inc
Domicile: Marshall Islands
Headquarters: Athens, Greece
Share price: $2.03 on 31 June; 52-week low $0.67, high $10.70
Latest financial result: 1Q09 net loss 18.8M vs $1.37M profit year-on
Source: Fairplay International Shipping Weekly - Companies 09 Jul 2009
Spyros M. Polemis elected to the Stevens Institute of Technology Board of Trustees
--- Global business leader is prominent figure in international maritime commerce
As head of the ICS, Polemis works with shipping associations and governmental agencies, most notably the International Maritime Organization ( IMO ), the United Nations agency with responsibility for the safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment. Another associated government agency is the U.S. Coast Guard.
Polemis has been very active with many other shipping industry-related organizations over the years, serving in leadership capacities, as Chairman of INTERCARGO (International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners), Newcastle P&I and North of England P&I (both leading mutual insurance groups in the UK) and at the INTERTANKO Board (The International Association of Independent Tank Owners). He serves as Vice Chairman of the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee. He is also a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers in the U.S.
Born in Greece , and educated in Athens , London and the United States , Polemis is also Archon of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights.
For his many distinguished endeavors and world-wide achievements, the Stevens Alumni Association presented to Mr. Polemis the Stevens Honor Award in 2007.
About Stevens Institute of Technology
For the latest news about Stevens, please visit StevensNewsService.com.
2010 to be 'The Year of the Seafarer'
The Council also endorsed the proposal of the Secretary-General to recognise, through the award of certificates, the exceptional services rendered to shipping and mankind by the Commanding Officers, Officers, Petty Officers and Crews of the navy ships from a wide range of countries that have converged in the Western Indian Ocean area, since late 2008, in an unparalleled demonstration of international solidarity to prevent and repress piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.
Sea Diamond probe points finger at company and crew
--- Nigel Lowry, Athens - Wednesday 8 July 2009
The vessel subsequently gashed itself on a reef and later sank in deep water after being evacuated of passengers and crew. Two missing French passengers were never found.
The company has denied any responsibility for the accident but has funded clean-up measures.
Louis pointed out soon after the accident that the depth gauge was switched off but would not have prevented the incident as it measures depths directly under the ship.
No final decision has been announced by prosecutors but Louis appears braced for a trial.
More than 19,000 jobs lost in Greek tourism sector
---Athens - More than 19,000 jobs were lost in Greece's tourism sector after arrivals to the Mediterranean country dropped by nearly 10 per cent in the first six months of the year, tourism officials said Tuesday.
The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) said the country's 13 biggest airports saw a total of 3.9 million arrivals during this period, down 9.6 per cent from last year.
SETE said the decline means a loss of more than 560,000 tourists.
Despite discounts and special offers by hoteliers and positive initiatives taken by the Ministry of Tourism to promote Greece as a holiday destination, officials suggest it would be a major success if the season ends with a drop of just 10 per cent in arrivals.
The government has set aside 75 million euros to promote Greek as a tourist destination - nearly 50 per cent more than what it committed to last year.
Greece prides itself on its history as the cradle of democracy and has long used that fact along with beautiful beaches and sunshine as a major tourism drawcard.
Tourism is one of Greece's biggest earners, along with shipping. It makes up about 18 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.
In 2007, the sector brought 11 billion euros (14.5 billion dollars) and 17 million visitors into the country, making Greece the 12th most popular international destination in the world, according to the World Tourism Organisation. (dpa)
Source: http://www.topnews.in/more-19000-jobs-lost-greek-tourism-sector-2186701. Submitted by Mohit Joshi on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 15:46.
Oceanfreight Inc. Announces the Acquisition of Modern Capesize Vessel That Will Commence Five Year Time Charter
---July 9, 2009 - Athens, Greece - OceanFreight Inc., (NASDAQ:OCNF) a global provider of seaborne transportation services for both drybulk and energy commodities, announced it has agreed to acquire a 2006 built 173,949 dwt Capesize bulk carrier for a purchase price of $61.25 million. The vessel is scheduled for delivery before November 30, 2009. Upon delivery to the Company the vessel will commence employment on a time charter for a minimum period of 5 years and a maximum period of 8 years at a rate of $26,000 per day.
About OceanFreight Inc.
OceanFreight Inc., is an owner and operator of both drybulk and tanker vessels that operate worldwide. As of the day of this release, OceanFreight owns a fleet of 15 vessels comprising of 11 drybulk vessels (3 Capesize, 8 Panamaxes) and 4 crude carrier tankers (1 Suezmax, 3 Aframaxes) with a combined deadweight tonnage of about 1.4 million tons.
OceanFreight Inc.'s common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Market where it trades under the symbol "OCNF".
Visit our website at www.oceanfreightinc.com.
Safe Bulkers, Inc. held its 2009 Annual Meeting of Stockholders
About Safe Bulkers, Inc.
Top Ships announces redelivery of its last leased vessel and filing of its annual report on form 20-F
Mastermind of Panagopoulos kidnap will testify on Monday
---Testimonies of the first 10 suspects in Periklis Panagopoulos kidnap case concluded on Friday. There are charges against another six persons, of whom five including Panagiotis Blastos are serving prison sentences on other criminal activities and one still at large. They will start giving their statements on Monday. Panagiotis Blastos, believed to be mastermind in Panagopoulos kidnap, testimony is expected with high interest. All 10 suspects, including contractor George Trouboukis who played a leading role in the kidnap case, were remanded in custody after conclusion of testimony procedure.
In the meantime, after the director of Agias Prison, in Hania, the chief- guard of Alikarnassos prison was also relieved off his duties following decision of Justice Minister Nikos Dendias. Newspaper articles say that he had agreed to transfer Panagiotis Blastos from Trikala to Alikarnassos prison. Mr, Dendias has also asked Cretan Court Prosecutor to conduct an investigation to see whether the newspaper articles are grounded.
Source: www.Express.gr 10/07/09-19:53