Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 30 - 2009


20 rescued from sinking ship

---JOHANNESBURG - TWENTY crew members were rescued on Thursday off a bulk carrier before it sank off South Africa's west coast en route from Brazil to India, a marine rescue authority said.
The captain of the Greek owned Ioannis NK reported at 6am that the carrier, with 22,500 metric tons of sugar onboard, was taking on water and listing, said Maritime Rescue and Co-ordination Centre spokesman Sarene Kloren.
'Two air force helicopters were dispatched and all 20 crewmembers were safely evacuated to Saldanha Bay' north of Cape Town, Ms Kloren said in a statement.
The carrier was drifting 98 nautical miles (181km) off Cape Columbine on the West Coast, near Saldanha Bay, and listing at a 45-degree angle before it sunk. -- AFP
Source: July 24, 2009

Cruiseship Passengers in Greece with swine flu symptoms
---Ruby Princess cruiseship, which arrived at the Piraeus port from Turkey, is in quarantine after 5 people tested H1N1 positive. The captain of the "Ruby Princess", on of the largest cruiseships in the world, informed the Piraeus central Port Authority shortly after midnight that five people on board were suffering from the new flu, asking for medical assistance and clearance for the other 3,389 passengers, 1,192 crew members and himself.
The Ruby Princess arrived in Piraeus from the Turkish port of Kusadasi, while in the afternoon it is scheduled to set sail for Venice, the next stop on its itinerary.
Source: 24/07/09-15:06

Cruise protectionism costs Greece Euro 500m annually
---Protectionism in the Greek cruise industry is costing the country as much as Euro 500m annually according to a report tabled during the recent conference of the European Cruise Council. Despite the existing institutional framework Greece was the second mosty popular destination in Europe for cruising after Italy in 2008 with 4.3m visitors according to the report.
"Had it not been for the obstacle of the institutional freamework, our country would have been on top in Europe, some distance ahead of Italy, enjoying the huge financial benefits," said the Greek cruise industry report. The industry, the Hellenic Shipping Chamber (HCS), the Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies, the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA), the Tourism ministry have all called for an end to cabotage in the passenger shipping sector.
Greek legislation forbids ships not under a European Union flag from boarding or disembarking passengers at Greek ports, whether they be on the mainland or the islands. The ban excludes the major cruise companies that are active in Europe from homeporting in Greece robbing the country of revenue which goes to competitors in Turkey, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
With Greek tourism revenues infast retreat as the crisis hits the sector, the call to open up the cruise sector is getting louder. Indeed, the country's Tourism minister, Costas Markopoulos, is among the most vocal and recently said he planned to ask the government "to take all measures to end cabotage" in the passenger ship sector.
This threat brought an angry reaction from seafarers with the Panhellenic Seamens Federation (PNO) declaring it will do all in its power to ensure cabotage remains in the Greek passenger ship market, in both the cruise and ferry sectors. The seafarers federation believes liberalisation of the cruise sector will deal a heavy blow to Greek seafarers.
In a statement, the PNO said it maintains its steady position that "the Greek state must respect cabotage as defined by national and European legislation". It went on: "Cabotage is the last remaining fort for securing employment for Greek seafarers who work in the sensitive sector of passenger shipping and as such has become the first priority and of great importance for our federation. It must be underlined the role of the PNO is to protect the employment of our colleagues and any suggestion, as the one expressed by the minister, is for our federation and for Greek seafarers a casus belli [reason for war]."
Markopoulos maintains: "It is a mistake to believe the lifting of cabotage will take employment positions from the Greek seafarer. On the contrary, the demand from foreign [non-Greek flag] companies for Greek seafarers will be great."
He said it is of great importance for the Greek economy to have high-spending tourists come to Greece as they would if Piraeus was a homeport for luxury cruise liners which could embark and disembark passengers. Passengers joining and leaving ships in Piraeus would "spend six to seven times more than those just visiting as part of a cruise", said Markopoulos, adding "lifting of cabotage would see an increase of 10 to 12% in overnight stays in leading hotels."
Michael Lambros, president of the Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies, says: "I question the fact that ships with 3,400 passengers and more are prevented from operating properly in our country because of the old fashioned idea of retaining cabotage."
In 2008, Italy accounted for 23% of the cruise market's passengers, Greece 19.6% and Spain 16.6%. In 2009, Louis Hellenic Cruises, is the sole Greek flag standard bearer with seven ships.
On the wider issue of passenger shipping in Greece, in view of the threat by the PNO, Marine, Aegean and Island Policy minister, Anastasis Papaligouras says: "We can not play with measures that endanger the connections between the islands, which could have wide consequences. At this time cabotage can not be lifted, though in theory I would adopt its lifting."
-- Filed: 2009-06-25

Increase for cruise tourism in Piraeus
The number of tourists who arrived in Piraeus by cruise ship this year to May increased by about 13 percent, according to official figures. Although cruise passengers aboard ships with a European Union flag dropped by 24 percent, those coming on a cruise liner with a non-EU flag increased by 27 percent, and this despite a ban on the latter to schedule cruises exclusively within Greece. In the first six months of the year, the number of cruise ships to dock at Piraeus dropped marginally from 318 last year to 316. The most poplar destinations, according to cruise programs, have been Santorini, Myconos, Rhodes, Corfu, Katakolo in the western Peloponnese and Patmos.

Chamber of Shipping rejects Kyoto Protocol concept
According to ICS, the consensus of opinion within the industry is that it may be possible for ships to reduce CO2 emitted per tonne kilometre by perhaps 15%-20% by 2020, through a combination of technological and operational developments aimed at reducing fuel consumption. In the longer term, advances in alternative fuel technologies may deliver further improvements. These estimates do not however take into account claims made to CO2 scrubbing technology developed by Singapore firm Ecospec.

Michael Bodouroglou: There is worse to come
Next year will be a tougher year than 2009 with any ship owner bankruptcies likely to happen towards the end of the recession rather than at the beginning if the supply problems kick in, according to Paragon Shipping boss Michael Bodouroglou.
This entry was posted on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 at 1:27 pm

New $700m fund to target bulkers
---A fund headed by Spyros Laimos is gearing up to acquire modern panamaxes.
A new private-equity fund launched by one of Piraeus's oldest shipping names is to target the acquisition of bulkers.
Financier Investment Group (FIG), which has capital of up to $700m to spend on ships, is headed by Spyros P Laimos. In total, it has $1bn under its belt. The main emphasis is on shipping but it is also involved in the real-estate, insurance and hospitality sectors. Laimos says FIG's shipping fund, named Financier Capital Partner I (FCP I), has raised $600m to $700m and is geared for panamax-bulker acquisitions built from 2004 onward.
Laimos, who spells his name differently in English to his Lemos relatives, has entered the shipping sector from the private-investment industry, where he specialised in exchange-traded funds for the past 15 years. Laimos says the investors that have committed capital to FCP I are clients for whom he has been managing funds for many years. The majority of his clients are European investors, with only a few Greek.
FCP I has been set up as a closed-end investment fund with a seven-year term for return of investment with an extra three-year option but Laimos is unwilling to reveal details such as the rate of return.
The fund has opted to build up a core fleet of at least five to seven bulkers of over 70,000 dwt because they are steady earners, he says. The company then plans to diversify into other bulker segments in due course.
A number of deals are on but bulker prices still remain high, says Laimos. He believes that prices and charter rates are set to fall over the next year. The company has positioned itself to be able to buy during this time and plans to split its fleet work between the spot and long-term charter markets to take advantage of the upside, which Laimos believes will come after the slump.
"If you lock yourself in a long-term time charter now, you will be laughing for the next year but you will cry the year after," he said.
The company has already taken UK brokerage Wigham-Richardson on board as its exclusive broker to handle acquisitions and chartering requirements. Laimos says FCP I will not discount buying out whole fleets but it was not set up as a vulture fund with the purpose of targeting distressed sales.
Laimos has brought in long-time friend Dionysis Slamaris to co-head FIG's new shipmanagement company, Laimos & Partners Shipping.
Slamaris has pursued a management career in the insurance industry until now. Both say they decided early in the planning stages of FIG that commercial and technical management of the fleet will be done in-house. The new management company has already established a core team and is in the middle of buying a building in downtown Piraeus to house the operation. Slamaris says technical management will also be done through partnerships with various other Greek owners, who will add their years of know-how into the new set-up.
Laimos comes from a long family line of shipowners from the Island of Oinousses. His father, Panagos Laimos, headed UK-based shipping company Laimos Brothers in the 1970s.
By Yiota Gousas Athens
Published: 23:00 GMT, 23 Jul 2009 | last updated: 13:47 GMT, 23 Jul 2009

Tsakos encouraged by charter
After market close yesterday, the NYSE-listed tanker owner said that it had secured the Aframax product tanker Promitheas on a fixed-rate time charter for up to six months. The ship had previously traded on spot.
Source: Fairplay Daily News 23 Jul 2009

Seanergy takes rate hit for handysize duo
---Nigel Lowry, Athens - Monday 20 July 2009
RESTIS-backed dry bulk owner Seanergy Maritime has had to accept sharply reduced rates for two handysize vessels in its first charter replacements since it became a fully operating company last year.
The Nasdaq-listed company had enjoyed a first year of healthy rates for its initial fleet of six bulkers which were all time chartered to South American Marine, a Restis affiliate.
The 38,623 dwt African Zebra had been earning $36,000 daily on a one-year deal and will now be earning $7,500 per day as a floor rate for 22-25 months.
The 24,110 dwt African Oryx has been chartered for the same period at $7,000 per day instead of its previous daily rate of $30,000.
Both have been taken by MUR Shipping, one of the leading international charterers of handysize tonnage.
Both agreements provide for a 50% adjusted profit share to be distributed equally between owners and charterers based on the Baltic supramax index.
Based on only the floor rates for the minimum period, the two ships are expected to generate at least $9.7m in gross revenues.
According to Seanergy chief executive Dale Ploughman, the level of earnings, although slashed, is sufficient for the vessels to remain profitable.
The company was continuing to seek employment opportunities for its remaining four vessels.
Just last week Seanergy reached agreement to acquire 50% of the fleet of four capesizes and one panamax under Bulk Energy Transport, launched two years ago as a joint venture between Baltimore based energy provider Constellation Energy and the Restis family.
It is understood, though, that no new share issue has been scheduled for the time being.

Oceanfreight Inc. Provides Fleet Update
---July 23, 2009 - Athens, Greece - OceanFreight Inc., (NASDAQ:OCNF) a global provider of seaborne transportation services for both drybulk and energy commodities, today announced the following chartering and sale and purchase developments:
o The Company has agreed to acquire a 2006 built 174,333 dwt Capesize bulk carrier for a purchase price of $61.25 million. The vessel is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter. Upon delivery to the Company, the vessel will commence employment on a time charter for a minimum period of 5 years and a maximum of 9 years at a gross rate of $26,250 per day.
o The Company has agreed to sell the 1990 built 149,495 dwt Capesize bulk carrier, M/V Juneau, to a third party for a gross price of $19.9 million. Delivery of the vessel is expected to take place on expiration of the current charter and no later than November 20, 2009.
o The previously announced sale of the 1996 Panamax M/V Lansing is now concluded, as the vessel was delivered to the new owners on July 1st 2009.
o The Company has entered into a time charter contract for the Panamax dry bulk carrier, M/V Topeka, that will commence on or before July 31, 2009, at a gross rate of $18,000 per day for a minimum period of 17 months and a maximum of 20 months. This fixture follows the default of the present charterer which is expected to commence insolvency proceedings. The Company plans to take full legal remedy against the charterer.
Anthony Kandylidis, Chief Executive Officer of the Company commented:
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 12 vessels, comprising of 8 drybulk vessels (1 Capesize, 7 Panamaxes) and 4 crude carrier tankers (1 Suezmax, 3 Aframaxes) with a combined deadweight tonnage of about 0.9 million tons.
OceanFreight Inc.'s common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Market where it trades under the symbol "OCNF".
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Euroseas Ltd. Announces Delivery of its 17th Vessel
---07/23/09 Maroussi, Athens, Greece - July 23, 2009 - Euroseas Ltd. (NASDAQ:ESEA), owner and operator of drybulk carriers and container vessels and provider of seaborne transportation for drybulk and containerized cargoes, announced today, that it has taken delivery of the M/V Four Coal to be renamed M/V Pantelis, a Panamax drybulk carrier of 74,020 dwt, built in 2000 in Japan. As previously disclosed, the vessel was acquired for approximately $27.5 million and comes with a time charter back to the seller until December 2009 at a gross daily rate of $25,200 per day. The vessel will be partly financed with a bank loan of approximately $13 million.
After the acquisition of M/V Pantelis, approximately 70% of Euroseas? total fleet days remaining in 2009 and approximately 40% in 2010 are fixed under time charters, FFA contracts, spot charters, or otherwise protected from market fluctuations.
About Euroseas Ltd.
Euroseas Ltd. was formed on May 5, 2005 under the laws of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to consolidate the ship owning interests of the Pittas family of Athens, Greece, which has been in the shipping business over the past 136 years. Euroseas trades on the NASDAQ Global Market under the ticker ESEA.
Euroseas operates in the dry cargo, drybulk and container shipping markets. Euroseas` operations are managed by Eurobulk Ltd., an ISO 9001:2000 certified affiliated ship management company, which is responsible for the day-to-day commercial and technical management and operations of the vessels. Euroseas employs its vessels on spot and period charters and through pool arrangements.
The Company has a fleet of 17 vessels, including 4 Panamax drybulk carriers, 1 Handymax drybulk carrier, 1 Handysize drybulk carrier, 3 Intermediate container ships, 5 Handysize container ships, 2 Feeder container ships and a multipurpose dry cargo vessel. Euroseas` 6 drybulk carriers have a total cargo capacity of 370,499 dwt, its 10 container ships have a cargo capacity of 17,787 teu and its 1 multipurpose vessel has a cargo capacity of 22,568 dwt or 950 teu.