Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 29 - 2009

 

Akti Miaouli / From the Marketplace

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* Investors seem to like shipping stocks, as the first move up in July for the Baltic Dry Index sent bulker owner shares surging in New York early in the week, with NYSE-listed Excel Maritime Carriers an early frontrunner, gaining over 20% to $7.40, leading a surge that saw five other dry-bulk players gain more than 10%. Peter Georgiopoulos Nasdaq-listed dry bulk operations Genco plus Eagle Bulk Shipping, FreeSeas and Paragon Shipping all saw their shares improve by more than 10%. Products tanker owner Omega Navigation rose around 14%.
* Greece has received some Euro 90m funding to help it guard the European Union (EU)'s external borders against illegal immigration. Marine, Aegean and Island Policy minister, Anastasis Papaligouras hinted there is more to come when he told journalists, July 16, that some Euro 440m has been budgetted to beat the migrant problem. Papaligouras was speaking the day after Greek Prime minister, Costas Karamanlis and his Italian counterpart, Silvio Belusconi, heads of two frontier states, said they intend to push the EU on the migrant issue, especially seeking repatriation agreements. With Greece, a key member of the EU border monitoring agency Frontex, Karamanlis called for the agency to be boosted as thousands of illegal immigrants weekly risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean and Aegean from Africa and the Middle East. Papaligouras said that at the beginning of the month 15 puma-type helicopters had been ordered to bolster the country's air and rescue patrols.
* Greek master Panagiotis Lekkas and Filipino chief officer Charles Posas of the Polembros Shipping's 71,200dwt bulker Theotokos pleaded guilty to two felony charges each of violating anti-pollution laws. The Filipino also became the first person to be charged in the US with violation of an anti-invasive species law. The Dominica-flagged ship was held in the US port in October 2008 after inspectors found a two-foot crack in the rudder stern and oil residue in a ballast tank. The court heard that, during a voyage from the Suez Canal to China, both suspected the offpeak ballast tank was leaking. When the ship was discharging cargo in China both noticed the 24-inch crack but failed to notify the Coast Guard. Fuel began to leak between tanks and Lekkas ordered the discharge of oily water but this was not recorded. In New Orleans, Lekkas again failed to notify the US Coast Guard (USCG) of the crack which only came to light after a Coast Guard inspection which also uncovered the oil leak.
* The Ceres LNG Services Ltd -owned 78,957dwt, Methane Lydon Volney, built 2006, last week became the first ship to dock at Milford Haven's new terminal, the Dragon LNG Terminal. Dragon's LNG terminal consists of a jetty, storage tanks and regasification facilities combined with gas export capabilities for 365 days a year continuous operation. The terminal has the capacity to receive and unload up to 217,000cumtr capacity carriers in approx 24 hours. Combined with the new LNG storage tanks this will give a maximum gas send out rate to the NTS of 1.2m standard cumtr/h.
* Nikos Koutsodontis, gd of marina manager K&G Med Marinas, has denounced reports the National Economy & Finance ministry plans a new set of taxes on yachts. Koutsodonis says the taxes constitute a serious blow to Greece's nautical tourism, the state and private companies involved in marina's management. K&G manage four marinas, and account for 30% of Greek berth capacity. He says such measures will very rapidly lead to yachts leaving Greek marinas to the marinas for competitor countries, Turkey, Croatia and Italy. He says reports point to an annual tax of Euro 3,000 for a 12mtr motor yacht being added when her annual stay in Zea Marina is Euro 5,260; Kalamata marina Euro 2,660; Kos Euro 2,070 and Ag. Nikolas Euro 2,245. He notes that similar acts in 1999 and 2005 failed and were withdrawn following European Commission action, and a storm of protest from various nautical clubs, associations and the nautical tourism industry. He notes that present taxes on non-EU flag yachts results in very few choosing Greece for a long stay. He also points out that rival regions have in fact been cancelling taxes on visiting yachts which has boosted other onshore activities. Koutsodontis says the government has to compensate the temporary economic profits deriving from taxes against the loss of the enormous economic contribution to the tourist economy provided by foreign yachts.
Source: www.newsfront.gr


---Kalliope Gourntis - 16.07.2009
The two Greek companies will seek to acquire up to 45% of Electroprivreda Crne Gore AD Niksic, management of DEI (www.dei.gr) told the Athens bourse in a statement.
The bid is in line with the energy operator's strategy of revenue growth through expansion in southeast European markets, the statement said.
Vertically-integrated EPCG (www.epcg.co.me) has installed capacity of 868MW at its thermal and hyrodelectric plants and more than 320,000 customers. Annual net generation is 2,045 GWh.
Source: http://www.balkans.com/open-news.php?uniquenumber=27250300


Aries Maritime Transport Limited Receives $145 Million Commitment Letter
---ATHENS, Greece, Jul 15, 2009 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX News Network) -- Aries Maritime Transport Limited (Nasdaq:RAMS) today announced that it has entered into a commitment letter with Investment Bank of Greece, a member of the Marfin Popular Bank Group, to fully underwrite $145.0 million aggregate principal amount of 7% Senior Unsecured Convertible Notes due 2014 (the "Notes") related to the Company's previously announced non-binding letter of intent for acquisition of control by Grandunion, Inc. Net proceeds from the Notes are expected to be used primarily to fund vessel acquisitions and partially repay existing indebtedness.
On June 24, 2009, Aries Maritime signed a non-binding letter of intent with Grandunion, Inc., a company controlled by Nicholas Fistes and Michael Zolotas, that contemplates, among other things, the acquisition of three Capesize drybulk carriers with an approximate net asset value of $36.0 million in exchange for 15,977,778 newly issued shares of the Company and a change of control of the Company's board of directors. The commitment letter is contingent, among other things, on entering into definitive agreements with Grandunion, Inc. and amendments to Aries' existing credit facility. There is no assurance that the Company will enter into these definitive agreements.
Jeff Parry, Chief Executive Officer of Aries Maritime, commented, "We are pleased to have entered into a commitment letter to fully underwrite the $145 million in principal amount of the Notes. This financing represents a critical step forward with respect to our strategic transaction with Grandunion. As we continue to make important progress towards entering definitive agreements, management remains focused on improving the operational performance and financial strength of our Company."
About Aries Maritime Transport Limited
Aries Maritime Transport Limited is an international shipping company that owns and operates products tankers and container vessels. The Company's products tanker fleet consists of five MR tankers and four Panamax tankers, all of which are double-hulled. The Company also owns a fleet of two container vessels with a capacity of 2,917 TEU per vessel. Five of the Company's 11 vessels are secured on period charters. Charters for two of the Company's products tanker vessels currently have profit-sharing components.
Aries Maritime Transport Limited
Ioannis Makris, Chief Financial Officer
(011) 30 210 8983787
Source: http://www.ariesmaritime.com/pop_news.php?news_id=106


Seanergy Maritime Holdings Corp. Announces Strategic Acquisition - Enters into Agreement to Acquire Bulk Energy Transport (Holdings) Limited
BET is a provider of worldwide ocean transportation services through the ownership of a fleet of five dry bulk carrier vessels. Its current fleet is comprised of four Capesize and one Panamax dry bulk carriers with a cargo-carrying capacity of 726,620 dwt and an average fleet age of approximately 16 years.
As a result of the acquisition, the size of the Company's fleet will increase to 11 dry bulk vessels with a carry capacity of approximately 1,043,296 dwt and an average fleet age of 13 years comprising of four Capesize, three Panamax, two Supramax and two Handysize dry bulk carriers.
For further information please visit our website at www.seanergymaritime.com
Seanergy Maritime Holdings Corp.
Dale Ploughman
Chief Executive Officer
Tel: +30 210 9638461
E-mail: ir@seanergymaritime.com
Source: http://www.seanergymaritime.com/press.html


TEN announces secured charter earnings
Assuming profit-sharing charters generate only the minimum for the remaining operating days in 2009, TEN said that it expected to earn at least $130 mill in incremental gross revenues. For 2010, based on the same assumptions, the minimum gross revenue already secured is estimated at $180 mill.
The latest deal involves a three-year timecharter with profit sharing for the 2007-built double hull Suezmax 'Arctic'. The charter is structured with a minimum rate and a 50/50 profit share up to an agreed maximum rate. Prior to this charter the vessel operated in the spot market.
The 'Arctic' charter began early this month. The gross proceeds from the fixture, assuming only the minimum rate, are expected to exceed $25 mill over the corresponding period.
"It is encouraging to see major oil companies fixing modern vessels forward," said Nikolas Tsakos, president and ceo of TEN. "It's also a testament to the acceptability of our vessels by major end-users and in the freight market's improvement as the global economy is expected to start growing again in 2010.
"For TEN, these minimum rate time charters with profit sharing provide downside protection, as well as the flexibility to participate in market rallies while continuing to support the fleet's strong cash flow generating capacity," he concluded.
Source: http://www.tankeroperator.com/news/todisplaynews.asp?NewsID=1362


Sungdong bags Tsakos suezmax pair
---Seoul: South Korea's Sungdong Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering has received an order from Greek owner Tsakos for two 158,000-dwt Suezmax tankers. The ships are due for delivery in 2011 and represent the first fresh order in nine months for Sungdong. The price is not disclosed.
The newbuildings will measure 274.2 meters long and 48 meters wide. With the latest order, Sungdong's order backlog expanded to 84 ships with a total value of $6.3 billion. A source related to Sungdong told the local media, "The order received this time has a significant meaning amid suspended newbuilding orders. Further, negotiations with 4-5 owners in Europe and Asia are currently at final stages, and fresh orders will increase from here on as well." [17/07/09]
Source: http://www.seatradeasia-online.com/News/4376.html


Technomar sells another three units
---Technomar Shipping of Greece continues to whittle down its fleet by selling vessels for further trading and demolition.
According to the 2009 Greek Shipping Directory, around 10 vessels have exited the Technomar fleet so far.
Most recently, brokers reported the sale of the 22,000-dwt multipurpose (MPP) cargoships Rickmers Chennai and Rickmers Mumbai (both built 1979) to Middle East buyers at $2.7m each.
However, TradeWinds has confirmed that along with the similar-size and age Rickmers Dubai , all three were sold for under $3m each to Chinese interests earlier this year.
The Equasis online database lists the Rickmers Dubai (renamed King Feast ) and Rickmers Mumbai (renamed King Glory ) under the management of Chinese operator Nanjin King Ship Management.
The deal looks to have been sweet for Technomar, which is understood to have negotiated the sales at the back end of 2008 when the market was going through its worst convulsions. But it is believed the attraction of the ships was their heavylift capacity, which would facilitate transporting infrastructure materials.
All three were understood to be due for special survey right after delivery.
Technomar bought the vessels for $3.1m each in 2000 with a charter-back arrangement with Rickmers.
Since late last year, Technomar has sold at least eight units for demolition and is now listed on Equasis with a fleet of 19 containerships and one bulker.
By Gillian Whittaker Athens
Published: 23:00 GMT, 16 Jul 2009 | last updated: 14:14 GMT, 16 Jul 2009
Source: http://www.tradewinds.no


Eagle Bulk: Supramax specialist
The Chinese yard agreed to cancel eight vessels (worth about $316M), and apply $47M of deposits towards progress payments on a group of vessels delivering in 2009. Eagle paid a nominal amount to convert the orders into options, exercisable at between $36.7M and $42.3M each. A banking group led by Royal Bank of Scotland waived loan-to-value covenants, while reducing the size of its credit facility by $250M, from $1.6Bn to $1.35Bn, with $802M drawn down at end-March 2009. Eagle gained liquidity since it reduced its projected future capital outlays by $363M.
Two vessels, Crested Eagle and Stellar Eagle, have already been delivered in 2009 from IHI and have gone on one-year charters at $10,500/day (with further options) and $12,000/day, respectively. Eagle is one of two listed dry bulk companies with credit insurance cover to protect against charterer defaults. To date, there have been none.
COMPANY PROFILE:
INCOME STATEMENT 1Q09 1Q08
Revenues (net of commissions) $55,977,666 $36,686,016
Net income $17,236,781 $14,345,810
Net income $0.37/share $0.31/share
Dividend declared and paid 0 $0.50/share
EBITDA $33,364,283 $25,032,102
BALANCE SHEET End 1Q09 End 1Q08
Total assets ($M) 1,400 1,360
Vessels (net of depreciation) ($M) 938 874
Advances for vessels under construction ($M) 381 411
Long-term debt ($M) 802 789
Shareholders equity ($M) 484 471
CURRENT FLEET:
In service: 25 vessels (1.3M dwt), mostly built 2000 and later
Under construction: 22 vessels (1.26M dwt)
Charter expiries (based on latest expiry)
2009: 9 vessels
2010: 12 vessels
2011: 2 vessels
Beyond: 2 vessels
Source: Fairplay International Shipping Weekly - Companies 16 Jul 2009


Latvijas Kugnieciba rejects accusations made by Atholl Greece
Atholl Greece Ltd released a statement yesterday, on Jully 12, that accuses LK of misleading company shareholders and unprofitable transactions that could result in insolvency.
As LETA was informed by LK PR and Advertising Service Department Director Marita Ozolina-Tumanovska, LK management is not surprised at the "public activities" of the Greek-registered legal entity Atholl Greece Ltd.
Calling Atholl Greece Ltd an enterprise of "unclear origin", Ozolina-Tumanovska points to the fact that yesterday's statement must be looked at in the light of LK's success in unraveling a ship charter fraud plot, that for many years brought a "group of persons" money in the amount USD 30-40 million.
LK is not at liberty to reveal any more details about the fraud plot while an international investigation continues, said Ozolina-Tumanovska, adding that full information will be released in coming months.
Ozolina-Tumanovska expressed dismay that Atholl Greece Ltd had not thought of turning to LK and discussing matters of interest constructively, but instead chose to make false assumptions and claims.
Source: Alla Petrova, BC, Riga, 13.07.2009. http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/transport/?doc=15730


Chief Engineer and Second Engineer Plead Guilty to Concealing Vessel Pollution
---WASHINGTON, July 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Panagiotis Stamatakis, the chief engineer on the Cyprus-flagged M/V Myron N, and the second engineer, Dimitrios Papadakis, both citizens of Greece, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Trenton, N.J., to using falsified records that concealed improper discharges of untreated bilge waste from the cargo ship, the Justice Department announced.
District Court Judge Peter G. Sheridan for the District of New Jersey scheduled sentencing for Sept. 8, 2009. Stamatakis and Papadakis each faces up to six years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
The government's investigation began in September 2008, when inspectors from the U.S. Coast Guard conducted an examination of the M/V Myron N, following the ship's arrival in Gravesend Anchorage, N.Y. and subsequently in the Port of Newark, N.J. The M/V Myron N is a 38,337 gross ton dry bulk carrier vessel operated and managed by Dalnave Navigation Inc., which is incorporated in the Republic of Liberia. The inspections uncovered evidence that crewmembers had improperly handled and disposed of the ship's untreated bilge waste, using a pipe to bypass its pollution control system. To conceal these activities, Stamatakis and Papadakis knowingly failed to record those discharges in the ship's official oil record book.
Engine room operations on board large oceangoing vessels such as the M/V Myron N generate large amounts of waste oil and oil-contaminated bilge waste. International and U.S. law prohibit the discharge of waste containing more than 15 parts per million of oil and without treatment by an oily water separator -- a required pollution prevention device. Law also requires all overboard discharges be recorded in an oil record book, a required log which is regularly inspected by the Coast Guard.
Stamatakis served as the chief engineer aboard the M/V Myron N between November 2007 and September 2008 and was responsible for all engine room operations. Papadakis served as an engineer on the M/V Myron N from November 2007 until September 2008. Between November 2007 and September 2008, under the supervision of Stamatakis, Papadakis ordered engine room crew members to discharge untreated bilge fluids from the ship's bilge holding tank directly into the ocean. When the M/V Myron N entered the Gravesend Bay Anchorage on Sept. 8, 2008, and subsequently the Port of Newark, the ship's log, which Stamatakis was responsible for maintaining, failed to disclose the overboard discharge of oil-contaminated bilge water.
"Lying to the Coast Guard, obstructing a federal investigation and bypassing mandatory pollution controls is unacceptable," said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "As long as individuals and companies continue to bypass this nation's environmental laws, the Justice Department will continue to bring charges and seek justice for those involved."
The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen P. O'Leary of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher P. Mooradian of the U.S. Coast Guard First District Legal Office, and Trial Attorney Gary N. Donner of the Justice Department's Environmental Crimes Section.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
Source: http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/07-16-2009/0005061588&EDATE=


Greece's Largest Oil Refiner, Hellenic Petroleum, Selects Triple Point Software for Oil Trading, Risk Management and Logistics
Hellenic Petroleum is the largest industrial company in Greece and operates three refineries, covering 76% of the country's total refining capacity. Founded in 1998, Hellenic employs over 5,000 people and is headquartered in Athens, Greece.
Hellenic was using spreadsheets and homegrown systems to manage trading and physical logistics. Commodity XL for Oil enables Hellenic to effectively manage trading, risk and logistics for crude procurement and refined products marketing on a real-time, integrated platform. Additionally, Commodity XL supplies the refiner with a clear picture of market position and exposure, enabling it to implement more precise hedging programs through futures and swaps trading.
An analyst note by CommodityPoint, titled 'Triple Point's European Success Story,' reports that Triple Point has captured considerable market share in Europe. Dr. Gary M. Vasey, general manager, CommodityPoint, remarked, "Triple Point's success is largely attributed to key acquisitions, a valuable alliance with SAP and the addition of veteran staff to support local clients and drive expansion." The report cites additional proof points of Triple Point's European success including its 103% growth in revenue and the signing of key clients including Nidera, Evonik, Agroethanol, Electrabel, RWE, Klesch & Company, Vertical, SOCAR, Tullow and Hellenic Petroleum.
"We are pleased that another leading European refiner has selected Triple Point oil trading and risk management software," noted Michael Schwartz, chief marketing officer, Triple Point. "Hellenic joins an impressive list of Triple Point refining clients including OMV, Preem Petroleum, Hess, CITGO, Valero Energy Corporation and SOCAR."
About Triple Point Technology
Source: http://www.metalsnews.com/news.aspx?NewsID=63025


Piracy attacks double
Nevertheless, the presence of navies in the Gulf of Aden from several countries have made it difficult for pirates to hijack vessels and has led them to seek new areas of operation such as the southern Red Sea and the east coast of Oman, where Somali pirates are believed to be responsible for a spate of recent attacks.
The report said that attacks off the eastern coast of Somalia had decreased in recent months after peaking in March and April, with no attacks reported in June. But the Piracy Reporting Centre attributed the decline to heavy weather associated with the monsoons that are expected to continue into August. The centre said vigilance should nevertheless remain high during this period.
Nigeria continues to be a high risk area, with 13 incidents reported in the second quarter to the IMB and at least 24 other attacks which have not been directly reported.
Attacks in Southeast Asia and the Far East increased 100%, from 10 in the first quarter to 21 in the second quarter, confirming a similar trend seen in 2008, with the difference being that the attacks in the first quarter were against vessels at anchor, while during the second quarter they were against vessels at sea.
Source: http://www.mgn.com/newsletter.cfm?#story10090