Greek Shipping News Cuts
Week 40 - 2009
---With over 40 banks and ship finance providers and a similar number of shipping companies signed up so far, the 11th Annual Marine Money Greek Ship Finance forum next week on Thursday 8th October is certainly the place to be. Join over 300 shipping professionals to hear about today's key issues:
Is finance available?
Can the banks continue to support their clients?
Is High Yield back?
Can private equity fill the gap?
What deals are owners with strong balance sheets looking at?
For more information see http://www.marinemoney.com/forums/GR09/greece2009.html
Morgan Joseph Appoints Xen A. Galinas a Managing Director in Investment Banking Group
Author : Morgan Joseph & Co. Inc.
Mr. Galinas received a M.S. in Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, and a M.B.A. in Finance from New York University
Source: Posted : Wed, 30 Sep 2009 17:50:38 GMT, http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/morgan-joseph-appoints-xen-a,980551.shtml
Greek Cabotage: Key Players Take Positions
---Monday, 28 September 2009 - 15:07. The quest for funds in the shipping industry may lead to mergers, industry insiders say, while the two major players compete for shares in the best lines.
Still, Sea Star Capital has to place a second installment in November to Minoan Lines for the acquisition of Hellenic Seaways. The company and ANEK posted H1 losses of 13.1 mil. euro and 16 mil. euro.
On the other hand, Attica will soon have delivered a Superfast from Italy and has ordered two more ships at the Souther Korean Daewoo shipyards.
Attica wants to enhance in the future its presence in the profitable routes of Cyclades islands and Crete.
Safety success for HELMEPA
---HELMEPA, the Greek marine environment protection association, has revealed a high level of performance among its member vessels during inspections at Paris and Tokyo MoU ports for 2008.
The organisation stated that the detention rate of its member vessels last year was almost four times lower than the average rate of all vessels inspected by Paris MoU and about two times lower than the respective rate reported by the Tokyo MoU.
In particular, while on the whole detentions in the Paris MoU region amounted to 4.95% of inspected ships, the percentage for HELMEPA ships was 1.23% (four detentions out of 324 inspections). In the Tokyo MoU region, the general percentage of detentions was 6.9%; for HELMEPA vessels the detention ratio was 3.2% (five detentions out of 156 inspections).
Source: Safety At Sea - Magazine - News 01 Oct 2009
China's COSCO takes over container business at Greek port
(Xinhua). Updated: 2009-10-01 16:22
The Greek Piraeus Port Authority on Wednesday signed an agreement on transferring the operation of Piraeus container terminals to China's COSCO Pacific Ltd.
From Thursday on, Pier 2 and Pier 3 of Piraeus Container Terminals will be under COSCO management for 35 years, according to the agreement.
Chief representative of COSCO in Greece said the two sides would work together to build modern container terminals and provide reliable, flexible and high efficient services for shipping companies.
Piraeus is the biggest port in Greece and one of the most important ports in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Its handling capacity reached 1.37 million TEUs in 2007.
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis told Xinhua that COSCO's participation in the operation of Piraeus Port was important for both economies.
Piraeus Port could become an important hub for Chinese goods on the way to the EU markets and to the broader region of Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, she said.
Meanwhile, the agreement will bring Greece 4.3 billion euros ($6.3 billion) in revenue over the 35-year period and create about 1,000 new jobs, she said.
Piraeus strikers keep Cosco standing at the gates
---Cosco Pacific is on standby to take control of container terminals II and III in the port of Piraeus. Set to commence its $3.5bn, 35-year concession, the Chinese group was being hampered by striking workers who had brought container handling to a halt and caused severe problems for the port generally as they staged a series of 48-hour strikes in protest of Cosco's involvement in the port.
Although Cosco announced to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange its "satisfaction for the taking over of the commercial terminals" and was ready to enter the port October 1, port workers were determined to keep the port closed by staging consecutive 48-hour strikes and banning weekend work.
With the country to hold general elections October 4, president of the Port Workers Employees Union, George Georgiakopoulos has warned the in-coming Marine minister "will have to handle a hot potato". He said the unions' ultimate aim is to have the concession agreement annuled and retain the "public character of port services". October 7 the port workers' unions are to make a decision on whether to continue industrial action.
Though the action was a blow to Cosco, the government and the port's management, it was well telegraphed and anticipated. Indeed, freight forwarders, agents, lines and the business community generally said they could cope over the short period, having learned much from similar action throughout 2008. But should the strikes continue, it will become harder, in a period of economic recession.
Failure to deliver management of container terminals II and III to Cosco will result in the Piraeus port Authority (PPA) facing hefty fines. As the PPA retains operation of container terminal I, this strike action also puts additional pressure on the PPA, and even puts container handling in the future in jeopardy.
Under the concession agreement, the PPA and Cosco will be in competition with each other and to face this prospect the PPA is planning to upgrade its cargo piers, with a Euro 160m investment set to be completed by May 2010 which will enable to terminal to accept the latest generation of container ships.
The unions no doubt hope for a change in government in Greece's October 4 general election, as all parties now in opposition have indicated they will at least renegotiate terms of the agreement with Cosco. However, whether they want to scupper the deal altogether is another issue.
Cosco is seeking to turn Piraeus into a hub for Chinese exports destined for Southern and Eastern Europe, and Beijing is said to be already unhappy with the way the Piraeus scenario is developing.
-- Filed: 2009-10-01
Athenian takes first of four
The vessel has an overall length of 333.1m, a breadth of 60m and a draught of 22.6m. Its prime mover is a MAN-B&W 6S90MC-C engine, which produces 29,340kW at 76rpm to give a service speed of 16.7kt. The single-screw tanker has 17 cargo oil tanks, including two slop tanks and 12 segregated water ballast tanks.
Athenian Victory is distinguished as being the largest Germanischer Lloyd-classed tanker to date. It sails under the Marshall Islands flag.
Source: Solutions and Newbuildings - Magazine - Taking Stock 01 Oct 2009
Danaos makes it 42
---Thursday, 01 October 2009. Greek-based, New York-listed Danaos Corporation has taken delivery of one more containership, the 6,500 TEU CMA CGM Moliere, expanding its operational fleet to a total of 42 containerships aggregating 172,433 TEU.
Oceanstar pounces on Tufton ship
---A Greek player is betting that a boxship buy will prove a good deal.
After clearing out a stable of elderly multipurpose (MPP) cargoships this year, Greek operator Oceanstar Management has made its first purchase, dipping its toes into the containership market.
George Ringos, head of sale and purchase (S&P) for Oceanstar, confirms it is the buyer of the 1,740-teu Ocean Progress I (built 2004) at $13.25m.
The Greek company will take delivery of the ship around 20 October on the west coast of Mexico. Ringos says it is now looking for employment for the vessel but is aware that in the current market it will suffer losses. Nonetheless, he believes it will prove to be a good deal.
The Ocean Progress I was one of a pair of boxships acquired by Tufton Oceanic just two months ago as part of its purchase of Allocean Charters (Singapore).
The London-based fund manager has also sold the 1,654-teu Ocean Prosper (built 1998) for $7.4m to another unidentified Greek owner.
The sales confirm Tufton's negative outlook on the market.
Andrew Hampson, the London-based managing director of Tufton, tells TradeWinds that it never intended to stay in the sector.
He adds that the sales were linked to cash-flow issues following the purchase of the Allocean fleet.
The price mirrors what most observers recognise - even if not all German banks want to admit it - as a sharp fall in boxship values.
The prices were not painful for Tufton, which bought the duo as distressed assets in July. They are also seen as consistent with offers made earlier in the year by Ofer companies. That deal did not go through because Ofer did not lift subjects on the vessels, say market sources.
The low price for the Ocean Progress I will not be lost on German buyers, who a month ago paid $21.5m for the 1,700-teu Ocean Mermaid and Ocean Emerald (both built 2008). That high level may partly be down to financing considerations as the purchase did not involve cash buyers but was mostly financed by bank debt. In contrast, the lower price for the Tufton vessels may reflect the fact that they are charter free with no financing attached.
Oceanstar's Ringos points out that a year ago a sistership of the Ocean Progress I was sold for $49m and he believes that in normal circumstances it would be valued at around $28m. Despite the unappetising outlook for the market, Ringos says Oceanstar may go for a couple more similar vessels.
The drop in values seems to be reflected in other sales.
Several brokers suggest that a number of feedermax vessels have been sold at a discount. Komrowski is said to have disposed of the 505-teu Agaman (built 1999) to Bernuth Lines of Florida for $4.96m, while the 518-teu K Spirit (built 1999) may have fetched $4m from Indonesian buyers. Two Japanese-owned geared ships, the 662-teu Cocopalm Isle and 662-teu Hibiscus Isle (both built 1994), have reportedly gone for $11m en bloc.
German bank DVB believes that values for feedermaxes have dropped drastically with levels for 10-year-old vessels crashing up to 75% year-on-year. The bank points to values wallowing since June after the sale of the 855-teu geared ship Resolution (built 1999) for $4m. It adds that a year ago, the smaller, one-year-older, 561-teu Pearl Island fetched a price of $14.3m.
Meanwhile, brokers say the 1,066-teu Cape Ann (built 1993) and Cape Arago (built 1992) have been sold for $6m en bloc. They were managed by Columbia on behalf of Hanse Bereederung and are thought to have been in layup for some time.
By Ian Lewis and Gillian Whittaker Genoa and Athens
Published: 23:00 GMT, 01 Oct 2009 | last updated: 10:54 GMT, 02 Oct 2009
Polembros Shipping LTD. Pleads Guilty to Crimes Related to Pollution from Cargo Ship Traveling to New Orleans
Thursday, October 1st, 2009
Company has agreed to pay $2.7 million criminal fine.
According to the plea agreement, Polembros will pay a $2.7 million criminal fine and a separate $100,000 community service payment to the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, a subunit of Smithsonian Institute. The money will be used to research and mitigate the effects of marine invasive species suspected to be transported in ballast waters of ocean-going vessels. Invasive species can threaten native species and damage the ecosystems of the United States.
As part of the plea agreement, Polembros will also serve three years probation. As a condition of the probation, all ships owned or managed by Polembros (currently 20 vessels) will be barred from entering U.S. ports and territorial waters for three years.
Polembros pleaded guilty to violating two counts of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, one count in connection with failing to maintain an accurate oil record book for the cargo ship M/V Theotokos and the other concerning the carrying of fuel oil in a tank forward of the collision barrier; violating the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act, by failing to maintain accurate ballast water records; violating the Ports of Waterways Safety Act, by failing to report hazardous condition of the crack on the rudder stem of the ship; and making false statements by concealing the fact that fuel oil was leaking into the forepeak ballast tank.
Polembros is set to be sentenced on Dec. 9, 2009.
Mixed reviews for Rotterdam Rules
---Sep 28, 2009. With sixteen countries having signed up to the new UN Convention and four to go in order for the Rotterdam Rules to carry any weight, a few dissenters have announced their refusal to sign. Sharon Gill looks at who's dissing what ...
The new Rotterdam Rules will not only apply to the international carriage of goods by sea but also to the land transport of goods preceding or following the maritime segment.
According to the International Road Transport Union (IRU), this provision constitutes a serious threat to the harmonised application of laws governing the road transport industry.
The primary bones of contention seem to be the carrier liability limits and conflict with existing conventions.
The transportation industry has, over the years, been governed by a series of conventions, including the Hague Rules, the Visby Protocol and the Hamburg Rules (maritime), the Warsaw Convention and its successor the Montreal Convention (air), the CMR Convention (road), the CMNI Convention (inland waterways) and the COTIF Convention (rail), among others.
The European Shippers' Council says that the Rotterdam Rules could put some shippers in a worse position than they were in prior to the introduction of the original Hague Rules.
According to the ESC, the Rotterdam Rules:
* conflict with other conventions
* present unequal obligations and liabilities between shippers and carriers
* make proving fault harder for the shipper
* make it increasingly difficult for shippers to successfully make a claim for damages
* make shipper obligations far more onerous
* may deter shippers from integrating short-sea shipping into their door-to-door logistics due to obligations and limits of liability being worse than under individual modal conventions
Isabelle Bon-Garcin, president of the IRU Commission on legal affairs, said: "Under the pretext of standardising maritime law, the Rotterdam Rules dismantle the unity of current laws regulating road transport from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and create an inequity between sea-land transport and land only transport."
* The new Convention disregards the application of national legislation to the land portion of a sea-road transport operation, even when it is based entirely (Austria, Belgium, Norway) or partially (France, Spain, etc.) on the CMR Convention.
* It disregards entirely or partially, depending on the situation, the application of the CMR Convention to international road transport operations that have a sea transport leg either at the beginning or the end of the operation. This means that an international road transport operation could be subject to the conditions of both the CMR and the Rotterdam Rules, with all of the resulting disadvantages and confusion.
* It deprives transport operators of the benefits that the national road transport legislation or the CMR offers, particularly in terms of compensation in case of loss or damage. The Rotterdam Rules provide for reducing the value -per-kg limit stipulated by the CMR and to set a value-per-unit (container, truck, trailer, etc.) when goods are not declared package by package, which is usually the case due to lack of technical means.
* It exposes the contracting parties of the CMR Convention to a dual violation of international law, as stipulated in Article 1.5 of the CMR Convention - which forbids the parties to make amendments to the law in any way through special agreements, and Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties - which forbids any unauthorised amendments to a multilateral convention (such as the CMR).
The IRU claims that the Rotterdam Rules will achieve nothing other than impose new rules on the road transport industry with no proof that they are even effective for the marine transport industry, and is urging governments - particularly those from countries who are contracting parties to the CMR Convention - to decline to sign the new Convention.
IRU's Canadian Member Association, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), has informed IRU of the Canadian government's formal decision not to sign the Rotterdam rules.
CTA vice president Ron Lennox said: "CTA has not been supportive of the Rotterdam Rules, primarily because it would set up two separate liability regimes for land transport in this country."
And Transport Canada issued a statement saying that, taking into account the diverse views among stakeholders and the need for further consultations on some of its provisions, particularly those related to domestic carriage of goods by water, Canada will not be signing the new Convention in Rotterdam.